Majesty 2 – The Fantasy Kingdom Sim
Majesty 2 – The Fantasy Kingdom Sim is the successor to Majesty which was developed by Cyberlore Studios. As with its predecessor, ruling a Kingdom is all but easy. Next to demanding farmers you get to deal with magical creatures like giant rats, dragons and beings from the underworld. It’s up to you and your heroes to set things straight in your area.
Long long ago in a distant land there was a beautiful kingdom called Ardania. In this land each king would defeat a monster or person that was a threat and then became part of history as a true hero. Sadly enough, the last king didn’t have an opponent to beat and scared he would be forgotten in the history of his land he called upon a demon from the underworld. This one turned out to be stronger than expected and in no time the entire royal family and their land were destroyed. Luckily there was still some heir present in a remote place and it’s now up to the player to recapture his land.
A big difference of the Majesty games compared to other strategy titles is that you don’t get to control your followers. All you can do is steer them a bit with flags on which you can put a reward. If one is good enough a hero can consider helping you, if not you’ll have to pay him with gold. In the game itself three flags are present and these are exploration, offensive and defense.
The first flag is used mostly to allow you to explore the area around your castle. The advantage of this is that you can see threats coming from far which makes it easier to prepare yourself. The second type is an offensive flag that can be used to mark certain buildings or monsters that you would like to see gone. The defensive flag is logically used to protect your own buildings and followers. The countless enemies that roam Ardania go from simple bears to the undead and Cyclops giants.
All those flags of course need heroes and these can be recruited through certain buildings. In total thirteen different types of classes can be controlled including three types of archers. These can later on evolve into six other types of heroes and as such you can for instance have a warrior evolve into a paladin or blade master. The ranger and cleric also have their own side branches.
Next to the first nine classes there are also rogues, magicians, Dwarves and Elves. The first are easiest to influence as they go head on onto anything that could give them a small bit of profit. Magicians are a group heroes who are quite fragile due to their age, but they’re also one of the hero classes that can cause most damage. The Dwarves and Elves don’t really get along great and therefore will never fight next to each other against an enemy but rather work against each other. Still, they both have some necessary buildings as additional advantage.
All the recruitment buildings of these heroes can be upgraded with the necessary money. The advantage of doing this is that you get access to several extras like defensive and offensive spells. This way you can help fighting heroes by curing them so they won’t run away after getting a small scratch. Another advantage is that by improving the buildings they are better equipped against enemies. Rogues will for instance suddenly put poison on their swords while getting a blessing from the different temples of other hero classes.
For the creation of a kingdom, hiring heroes and giving rewards of course there has to be plenty of money. This is gotten by putting taxes on the buildings in your empire. Every so often a tax collector will go around to collect the gold but sadly enough there are also plenty of monsters running wild that also are motivated by cash. The defensive flag will show itself useful in defending inhabitants.
The money that comes into the buildings also comes from the heroes themselves. You can for instance create an armory where your heroes can upgrade their weapons or a market where they can buy potions. This way a part of the money you spend on your heroes by recruitment and rewards will come back.
Still not all buildings will arrive in a settlement because the player wants them. Sewers will appear after a while as the town grows bigger and rat-like creatures will pop up to terrorise the inhabitants. The same can happen with a graveyard when enough heroes have died. Instead of only roadents skeletons and zombies will appear to give the local heroes some extra work.
Because you don’t have direct control over your characters, they need a minimum of intelligence and luckily the devs spent plenty of time on this. Heroes will support each other to hunt certain monsters or run away in panic if they notice they don’t stand a chance. Still not everyone will work with everyone. Female priests of Krypta worship the undead and aren’t the best friends with Paladins who go to extreme length to fight the undead.
The intelligence of your heroes also plays in the multiplayer part of the game. Through lan as well as internet you can play a game with up to four players. The modes range from 2vs2 to complete free-for-all where it’s everyone for himself. The fun part here is that with a big enough reward, you can even turn hostile heroes against their owner.
The eye of course also likes some candy and graphically the game is beautiful but that’s about all there is to say. You notice the game was developed by a less renowned studio. The textures are less detailed and plenty of buildings are a bit simplistic in design. If this title would have been launched 2 or 3 years ago it would have been in line with its time but sadly enough it isn’t now.
Contrary to the graphics, the sound has plenty of positive things to mention. The voices of the characters throughout the game make for a nice and fun atmosphere. Your Royal Advisor for instance can’t stop making typical British jokes and his accent clearly reminds of Sean Connery. The voices of the heroes themselves only add to the atmosphere and you’ll immediately know when he feels like hunting a monster or running for his life.
Majesty 2 is a game that isn’t for everyone as you don’t have complete control over everything and this can scare away people. Still fans of the first part will certainly be able to enjoy this successor. There are no big changes but that’s not always necessary to release a quality sequel.