Review: Majesty 2: Kingmaker

M2Kingmaker v1 2D lowres.jpg Last fall when I reviewed Majesty 2 I gave it a “Buy It” recommendation and pretty much fawned all over it. I was quite fond of the game back then, but something happened since then. In order to play the Kingmaker expansion I had to reinstall Majesty 2 on my new laptop and plow through the original all over again – and I found myself enjoying it more than ever! The mix of the joyfully lighthearted feel and intense challenge was very rewarding, and I couldn’t wait to see what Kingmaker had to offer.

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 my 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 $15, this expansion is only a bit more expensive than most 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 in 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, which is a great way to get some skilled modders involved and creating great new 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 much improved. Otherwise the game is every bit as polished, stable, lighthearted and just plain fun as the original. If you enjoyed the original, this is an easy recommendation – and if you missed out on it before, grab the Gold pack that includes both the original game and this expansion!

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Pros:
+ Innovative genre-bending game style works well at high level
+ Maintains nice lighthearted feel
+ High level campaign is very challenging
+ New map editor lets you take control!
+ Multiplayer is much improved

Cons:
– Single new enemy is just too little new content
– Some other new content would have been appreciated

Game Info:
Platform: PC
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: 1C:Ino-Co
Release Date: 3/26/10
Genre(s): Simulation/RTS/RPG
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Players: 1-4
Source: Review code provided by publisher

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!