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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Paradox Interactive
Developed By: 1C Company
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Christian H.

April 6, 2009 - What happens when you take a pinch of fantasy RPG, a dab of Populous, and wrap it in a warm crust of Sim City? You get Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim. Majesty was a unique breed of RTS released for the PC in early 2000. After one expansion and one canceled sequel, it looked like the Majesty brand was very short lived. Paradox Interactive bought the IP in 2007 and is now making Majesty 2 a reality. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that this preview is based on a very early build of the game. Much of the text is still in Russian, many models and textures are not yet implemented, and crashes and bugs abound.

Fans will be happy to hear that Majesty 2 is keeping very faithful to its predecessor. For those unfamiliar with Majesty (which I'm sure must be the vast majority of you; it's pretty obscure), here's the rundown: it's sort of an RTS. You're the king, and as the king, it's your job to build, expand, manage, and defend your kingdom. Basically, it's the base-building and unit production without the combat. Trust me, it's more fun than it sounds.

The units you produce are mostly autonomous. They go adventuring and exploring on their own volition. They'll slay monsters, earn gold and spend it on items that you research. Though not under your control, they can be influenced by placing bounties to explore certain areas, or defend or attack different structures. The units themselves also have their own unique personality quirks and no two act completely identically. Furthermore, units can meet at taverns and form their own parties.

Due to the limited nature of this particular build, I didn't have the opportunity to experiment with the higher-tier, more interesting units. However, even the basic units—the usual fantasy suspects of warrior, ranger, rogue, priest, and mage—were each unique and useful in their own ways. The AI could be frustrating at times. For example, newly-recruited level 1 rogues would often take off after bounties on monster lairs that were way out of their league, getting themselves killed. This made late-game rogue building irrelevant, because they would always rush off and die. Hopefully this is the kind of issue we'll see fixed in the final release.

Naturally, as faithful as Majesty 2 is to its source, it's making a few modern upgrades. First and foremost is the move from 2D to 3D, allowing the player to zoom in close and personal on the action. For those drawn to the paper doll effect, there are other visual upgrades. As your units buy new armor, their appearance in-game changes as well. While this is mostly a cosmetic change, it can be handy in quickly identifying your units. If you see decently-leveled unit wandering around in basic armor, it might be a good idea to place a bounty flag nearby so he can earn some cash to go upgrade.

Currently Majesty 2 is scheduled for a second quarter 2009 release, so we still have a little while to wait. Fans of the original will be happy to hear that it's shaping up nicely. It's just like the game you love, only prettier and slightly more complex. Even if you're unaware of the original Majesty, you should give Majesty 2 a serious look. If you're interested in a new take on the RTS/RPG genre or you just enjoy watching little people be affected by your sovereign powers, Majesty 2 can oblige.

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