Review: Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania

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It has been just over six months since I reviewed Majesty 2: Kingmaker and only a year since my review of the original Majesty 2, long enough to have played loads of games … but sure enough playing the new expansion Battles of Ardania feels like returning home to see an old friend.

And let me be clear that this is the context for this review: I loved the original game and first expansion, and my review is predicated on knowing and enjoying them. If you haven’t played at least the original Majesty 2 yet, definitely check out the digital download sites, as it has been deeply discounted more than a couple of times in recent months.

Battles of Ardania carries forth from Kingmaker in a fairly typical way for an expansion: the core engine is untouched, a new single player campaign at a high level is added, as are some new enemies and multiplayer modes.

The new campaign is called ‘Heirs of the Night’, and after a brief introduction you are tasked with protecting your borders from a fierce mage-werewolf. The campaign consists of eight missions, each with loads of exciting challenges and stuff to do. As before, you are simultaneously building up your core capabilities while also designing ways to get your forces to wade into the heat of battle with the deadliest enemies yet! Because, as before, you cannot simply tell your troops to attack, you need to give them an incentive (i.e. rewards of gold) to get them to engage. Also as before, the game tends to pinch you off from your building activities mid-mission with a large wave of furious battles that will really press you just to survive, and frankly you will likely die at least a couple of times per mission as a result.

In terms of multiplayer, while Kingmaker added and tweaked and provided an editor, with Battles of Ardania we already have a huge and robust multiplayer base, so the game adds four new maps. There is a 1 vs 1, a free for all, and most importantly two co-op maps. In co-op mode you work with a friend to accomplish campaign style goals. Considering the game wasn’t originally built for co-op, I was concerned that adding a new mode this late would show weaknesses in the design. Instead it further convinced me of the robustness of the RPG/RTS hybrid engine.

Battles of Ardania also adds new enemies such as the aforementioned werewolves, and also some new weapon sets. Again we are getting a huge campaign, loads of new content, great multiplayer additions – and all for barely more than the cost of most DLC! Majesty 2 is a great game that gets better with each new addition … and I can’t wait for next month’s final Monster Kingdom addition!

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Pros:
+ Innovative genre-bending game style works well at high level
+ Maintains nice light-hearted feel
+ New high level campaign is very challenging
+ New multiplayer modes and maps are a great addition
+ Co-op multiplayer is a great new way to play

Cons:
– New maps for existing modes would have been appreciated

Game Info:
Platform: PC
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: 1C Company
Release Date: 11/10/2010
Genre(s): Simulation/RTS/RPG
ESRB Rating: Teen
Players: 1-4
Source: Review code provided by publisher

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About the Author

I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!