Where Majesty 2 starts to run into difficulties is in the way the scenarios are structured. First off, every scenario starts you back at ground zero. You have no buildings (except a useless castle) and no heroes. When you build the hero-generating buildings your new heroes start out at level 1. The monsters are not so limited, however, and as the difficulty level ramps up you will find yourself overwhelmed from the start. Play can degenerate into nothing but trying to hold off a computer-run Zerg Rush. In fact this is really the only thing the enemy does – it has no tactics but is very determined.
Second, the difficulty is very uneven. Each scenario has its own difficulty rating. There are 16 or so scenarios, with two “Easy”, one “Medium” and the rest “Advanced” and “Get out the Cheat Codes”. And there is no way to change the difficulty. The higher difficulties are brutal.
Third, and maybe this is just me, but does nobody know how to build a friggin' wall? I mean, the peasants can build guard towers and archery ranges and temples, but piling rocks on top of each other is utterly beyond these RTS Einsteins. This leads into a more serious point – there really aren't many tactics in this game. Terrain looks nice, but doesn't seem to have any effect on movement. Different hero classes are better against certain types of monsters, but the constant stream of incoming monsters means its pretty much everybody always fighting everything all the time.
And then when you have the monsters at bay more indestructible sewer openings show up in your town for the sole purpose of spewing forth rats. Stupid, pointless busywork.
The game works at having a sense of humor and your adviser is an over-the-top Sean Connery impersonator. Mission briefings are fun. YMMV as far as how well the game's writers succeed with all the jokes, but it is a welcome change from the usual GrimDark setting.
The graphics go along with the overall lighthearted tone of the game. The overall look is bright and cheerful, with an edge of cartoony thrown in. Heroes make situation-appropriate wisecracks. The overall feel is “enjoy this fun, cool game. Laugh some and have a good time”.
In addition to providing atmosphere the graphics provide lots of useful information. Damaged buildings look beat up. Heroes have easy-identified status icons that describe what they're doing (often running away). Monster lairs are menacing. Magical effects are clearly indicated. Graphics are both pleasant and informative.
The single-player campaign is worth playing on its own (if you can stand the difficulty) and there is room for expansion packs in the future. Multiplayer is available and looks promising. There is really only one side in Majesty 2 – the good guys – so there shouldn't be any play balance issues. Of course it might be a bit boring with everybody having the same units and all, but it will be balanced.
Innovative game mechanics and solid execution are held back by difficulty issues and a lack of tactical depth.
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