In September of last year I made a video review of Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim which you can watch here. Now I don’t want to go over the game mechanics again so if you’re unfamiliar with them then please refer to that video because this review is very much a supplement to it. In my video review I praised Majesty 2 as both a fantastic experience in its own right and a worthy and superior sequel to the original game which was always an overlooked gem in my mind. My only complaint was that it offered very little in the way of replayability and it was the random map generator that kept fans of the original game coming back for more after a decade. Well a little over five months later and we have an expansion pack for Majesty 2. Can it give the game much needed replayability or will it be done and forgotten just as quickly?
Paradox and 1C Company, two of my all time favourite companies, came together to deliver the original Majesty 2 and are also responsible for this expansion. Let me tell you what the deal is straight away. Majesty 2: Kingmaker offers you a new campaign consisting of eight missions and a map editor with which you can design your own. That is all it offers. A lot of people will already know whether they want to buy the game just from the content it delivers but for the rest of you, let me give you a more detailed analysis of this expansion pack.
The first thing I should get out of the way is that if you have some kind of strange goblin fetish then Majesty 2: Kingmaker is a must for you. As is staying as far away from me as possible. But yes I can’t remember the last time I saw so many goblins in a single game but they are after all your main nemesis in this new campaign which consists of five “Advanced” difficulty missions and three “Expert” ones. The interesting thing about Majesty 2 overall is that because of the nature of its gameplay you can play a scenario once and dismiss it as “impossible” only to return later and overcome it quite easily. This is because success or failure is pretty much decided by the placement of your buildings and how quickly you construct them. With a few adjustments to your city planning you can surpass any mission without too much effort. Oh and don’t be a smartass, you obviously need heroes as well.
In terms of gameplay nothing has changed in Kingmaker but since Majesty 2 was just so damn fun to play I don’t see that as a bad thing necessarily. Majesty 2 actually reminds me of a casual game in the sense that it’s a relatively simple and repetitive affair but so very, very addictive. That also has not changed here but I would argue that the missions are better designed. In the original Majesty 2 campaign the difficulty of most missions came from the fact that there was some boss character with a ludicrous number of hitpoints but in Kingmaker that is only the case in the final mission which is understandable. The new campaign can easily be finished in well under eight hours and I had little trouble at all having to restart a mission only twice during my playtime although again difficulty will change drastically depending on your style of play. There are already topics on the forums complaining about the game being too hard.
What disappointed me about Majesty 2: Kingmaker is what I frankly regard as a lack of new content. There are no new units at all with the exception of the Ice Mages who only appear on a single map anyway. The rest of the missions could have been made in the original Majesty 2 but as the title suggests the main focus of this expansion is the fact that you can now craft your own scenarios. I find that a little bit odd since the inclusion of a map editor while essential for the growth of the modding community is hardly going to be a selling point for the majority of people who have neither the time nor the inclination to invest in it. Nonetheless designing a map editor that is both detailed and easy to use is no easy feat and 1C Company have certainly succeeded in doing that.
It might just be my review copy of the game but when Majesty 2: Kingmaker is minimised the tab on the taskbar reads “Majesty 2 Expansion 1” which obviously implies that more are to come and I certainly hope that is the case but they really need to focus on giving the player more gameplay options next time. I’m thinking of maps so gigantic that you’d need to pay heroes a fortune to explore them. I’m thinking of ways that players can customise their kingdom, perhaps I want my realm to be the beating heart of evil within the land with ghostly tax collectors and skeletal guardsmen to keep the downtrodden peasantry terrified in their crumbling shacks. I’m thinking of new hero types and divisions of hero types like mages who belong to opposing circles of magic. I’m thinking of heroes with their own ambitions and goals which will be yet another influence in whether they respond to certain flags or not. I’m thinking of relationships between heroes which perhaps can break down to the extent they will hate each other and refuse to work together. I’m thinking of that girl I fancied in college lying naked in front of me. I’m thinking… I need to get some sleep soon.
What I’m saying is that diversity is what Majesty 2 needs most of all now. It’s true that you can experiment by recruiting different combinations of hero but the fact is that more often than not this results in failure rather than an interesting new way to achieve victory. In the original Majesty you were given certain choices like building either dwarves, gnomes or elves and not only was this an interesting choice to make but it had real consequences for your kingdom. That is the kind of thing that Majesty 2 needs, far more variety in the units available and real reasons and implications in choosing to create those units.
If you watched my video review of Majesty 2 then you’ll know that I’m a massive fan and supporter of the series and I truly want it to succeed and expand. But as a reviewer who tries not to be influenced by such things, I cannot honestly say that Majesty 2: Kingmaker is a must buy for owners of the original. It is precisely “more of the same” so whether it is worth your cash or not depends entirely on how much you enjoyed the main title. Personally I loved every second of Kingmaker and would have happily forked out for it had I not been sent it for review. All I will say to 1C Company and Paradox is “more please”. In the meantime, no doubt the lads over at ParadoxPlaza have got plenty of Majesty 2 projects brewing.
Final Score – 4/5: As cliched as this statement is, if you enjoyed the original game then you’ll enjoy this.