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January 18, 2011 • Gaming, Reviews

PC Game Review: Majesty 2: Kingmaker

Last week when I reviewed Majesty 2 I gave it a strong recommendation and pretty much fawned all over it. I was quite fond of the game when it was released in late 2009, but something happened since then. In order to play the Kingmaker expansion I had reinstalled Majesty 2 on my new laptop and needed to plow through the original again – and I found myself enjoying it more than ever! The mix of the joyfully light-hearted feel and intense challenge was very rewarding, and I couldn’t wait to see what Kingmaker had to offer.

The Hype:
What is the connection between the nightmares of Lord Blackviper and those mysterious eyes, burning in the night? Who are these little green men? The ones stabbing your tax collectors with their spears? Can the shamans of the God of Plague rival the very gods themselves? From whence does his avatars appear, and who is to blame?

The search for answers to these questions is unlikely to improve your sleep , but will surely give you many hours of new and exciting battles when the war with the goblins descends upon the peaceful lands of Ardania. And besides, how better could the nights of the Great King be spent?

In addition to defending against the goblin menace, you may also create your own battles! Become not only the king of Ardania, but its creator as well.

The Reality:

My original review summed up as follows:

Minor issues aside, Majesty 2 was a pleasant surprise and loads of fun to play. With loads to do and enough constraints to keep you constantly engaged across the 16 missions that make up the single player campaign, the game presents challenges that are different than what the usual RTS game offers. That uniqueness makes it a blast to play, and challenges you to be careful with hero development and objective setting. The game feels like it could easily adapt to an add-on of some sort, and I hope that the developers see enough success to bring fans more playable content. Either way, if you are a fan of city-builders and strategy games, you owe it to yourself to check out this game!

As this is an expansion released a mere six months after the initial game, most of what is new is content rather than gameplay or technology. Therefore I’ll make this a quick review that focuses on what has changed rather than re-telling the same story again. If you are interested in reading what I had to say about the technology and interface elements, head on back to the review for the original game.

Kingmaker is a high-level expansion that adds a campaign with eight new missions, a new enemy, more robust multiplayer and a map editor. The initial response one might have looking at that is … oh, that is a pretty thin amount of content for an expansion. But at $10, this expansion is only a bit more expensive than DLC for recent games, and delivers much more content than those. Let’s look at each in turn.

The obvious sore spot for those looking to an expansion to add content is the single new enemy unit. Kingmaker adds Goblins as the new enemy – and as Goblins tend to do, they attack in large numbers, and with surprising force. There are warriors, archers and mages – and all of them are deadly foes. There are no additions to your forces, nor are there any other changes or additions.

Multiplayer is enhanced a couple of ways. First, it feels as though significant work went into tweaking and tuning things to play better in multiplayer. Also, the new content is available in multiplayer as well. Finally, with the map editor you have the opportunity to challenge others on unfamiliar battlefields – and for me that was the most fun of all!

The map editor itself is pretty robust and easy to use – as you would expect for a game of this scope. There is a ton you can do with the different areas, terrain, enemies, scripting, and so on. Recently Paradox announced a map making challenge here (http://www.paradoxplaza.com/press/2010/4/majesty-2-kingmaker-map-making-competition-announced) – which is a great way to get some skilled modders involved and creating great content.

But the meat of Kingmaker is the large high-level campaign. The missions of ‘Return of Grum-Gog’ are large and challenging, and require you to have significantly advanced your levels before even contemplating. You once again see a wide variety of terrain types and environments (though they are the same basic types as the original game), and the missions are quite difficult and frenetic at times.

You will spend many hours working through the new mission content, and by then you’ll be ready for some multiplayer. Whether you create your own maps or use the in-game content, the multiplayer is improved. Otherwise the game is every bit as polished, stable, light-hearted and just plain fun as the original. If you enjoyed the original, this is an easy recommendation – and if you missed out on the original, grab the Gold pack that includes both the original game and this expansion, or buy them separately as both have been on sale frequently!

Review: Majesty 2: Kingmaker Expansion

Where to Buy: Amazon.com Digital Download

Price: $9.99

What I Like: Innovative genre-bending game style works well at high level; Maintains nice light-hearted feel; High level campaign is very challenging; New map editor lets you take control!; Multiplayer is much improved

What Needs Improvement: Single new enemy is just too little new content

Source: Personal Copy

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