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Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim

Score: 83%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: 1C Company
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim offers a different take on the RTS genre. You're still building an empire, running up tech trees and fighting enemies, but everything is hands-off.

While high-end PC owners would probably rather see high-end visuals, Majesty 2 hits a nice sweet spot. Characters are nicely detailed, particularly when using the game's generous zoom feature. The same goes for animation and visual effects, though the amount of flash during battles can become a little overwhelming. It's not enough to slow your machine down, but when you consider how little you are doing during battle, it feels like overkill.

Both the music and sound effects support the upbeat feel, though the voicework does hinder things just a bit. Your advisor's accent is a bit overdone and his "jokes" aren't very funny. There are one or two chuckle-worthy lines, but for the most part, it just feels like the writers were trying too hard. On the plus side, you don't have to hear much of the voicework outside your advisor's comments.


For the last thousand years, the people of Ardania have had it easy. Past kings have done such a great job at cleaning up evil, they've enjoyed a lasting peace. However, what's good for the people isn't good for the current king. In an effort to conquer some sort of evil, the king's mages summon a demon lord, only the demon proves too powerful and kills the king. As the last remaining heir, its your job to clean up your predecessor's mess.

As king, your life is deemed too important to head out into the wilds and fight monsters. Instead, you are given indirect control over your kingdom and charged with attracting heroes to carry out your dirty work. Of course, most of your bigger heroes are divas, so you'll need to construct buildings and offers quest rewards worthy of their attention.

Everything in Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim revolves around your kingdom's economy. In RTS tradition, you start with a palace and some start-up cash. From there, you need to build trading posts and other revenue-generating structures until you can afford a guild and begin recruiting heroes. Here's where Majesty 2 steps off the beaten path. Rather than building enemy-crushing armies, you need to convince heroes to defend your kingdom by offering bounties. For instance, if a group of zombies is threatening your people, you can offer a reward for clearing out their crypt.

One interesting twist to construction is building costs. Once you build one type of building, the next one of the same type costs a little more. What seems like a major hindrance opens up some strategic depth. You can't mass produce buildings and inflate your economy or defenses, forcing you to think about how to grow your town and economy efficiently.

As interesting as the system is, it doesn't offer much variety in mission types. Sure, you'll tackle all manner of mythical beasts and demons and find yourself faced with unique circumstances, but at the same time, you're really just going through the motions every mission. Though far from a "magic bullet," once you figure out the basics (which doesn't take long), you can settle into a basic pattern for each mission and breeze through the game with little resistance.


Watching your town grow offers a different sort of challenge. You have control over the placement of larger buildings like guilds and temples, but the rest of your town will grow on its own. This usually leads to farms popping up next to enemy dens, making them easy prey. You can usually set up defenses or send heroes to clear out nearby dens, though you can only control the problem, not eliminate it. Even when dens are cleared, enemies will wander onto the map and make a beeline for your settlement. Sewage grates and graveyards will also show up around town, providing lots of rats and zombies to terrorize your town.

City planning also involves a bit of NPC parenting. Some of your units do not get along and will usually ignore your requests for help so they can fight each other. Aside from setting up a working economy, this is probably one of the game's more complicated strategies. You'll want as many hero types as you can in town, but sometimes it is more effective to pick and choose from types that get along.

Game Mechanics:

Coaxing heroes into quests is fairly simple. There are various flags indicating different actions like attack, explore, and defend. Again, when faced with the aforementioned crypt full of zombies, you simply need to place an attack flag on the crypt and name your price. If the initial offer doesn't garner attention, you can up your offer in increments of 100 or 500 gold. Heroes are generally quick on the uptake, so you'll know early on if you need to raise your price.

The lack of control may not appeal to everyone. The ability to lord over A.I.-controlled citizens is cool and empowering. There's also a lack of micromanagement. The only resource is gold and it isn't too difficult to get a healthy economy running. At the same time, there are times where you just want to jump in and beat down a Minotaur or rampaging ogre. Thankfully, Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim does offer some chances for direct involvement. When faced with bigger threats, like dragons, you can organize four hero parties at the inn. You can also get involved by researching new spells and skills for heroes.

Even still, it would be nice to have some sort of command over units in battle. Watching battles play out isn't much fun and though competent, the A.I. will still make dumb, costly mistakes.

Majesty 2 is flawed, but the unique approach does make it worth playing for RTS fans unless you absolutely have to have control over everything.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 2000 / XP / Vista; 2Ghz Dual Core Processor; 1024MB RAM; NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 512MB VRAM

Test System:

Windows Vista; 1.6 GHz Dual-Core processor; 2 Gig RAM; DVD drive; 120 GB HDD; GeForce Go7600

Sony PlayStation Portable MotorStorm: Arctic Edge Sony PlayStation 3 DiRT 2

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