Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom Expansion Review
Everyone’s favourite royal highness (that would be you) and advisor are back with new challenges to the throne of Ardania to be overcome. If you’ve ever wanted to play the game from another perspective, in this expansion you get your chance. Unlike other editions of the game you have the chance to create and complete goals with your all-new monster minions. After the conclave turns on you, taking your artifacts and driving you from your lands, your crafty advisor sets up an alliance with the goblins and you set about reclaiming your throne, making alliances and winning back your artifacts.
Majesty is different from many other civilization building games through it’s use of indirect control. Your heroes, or monsters in this expansion don’t just follow what you say, they are more or less likely to do certain things based on their class and you can coax them along with coin and flags for that action (explore, attack, defend or fear). The indirect control is one of the best parts of the series and something I would like to see more of in other games. You can build your kingdom from the ground up on each challenge, generally starting with a set amount of gold, a castle and some minions to do your bidding!
Gnomes: These little dudes were pretty badass in the original Majesty and I was disappointed that they were gone for Majesty 2 so it was great to get them back. Gnomes replace your peasants and guards, building super fast and all of them will fight. A single gnome (not even a guard) can take out smaller enemies that get in their way, something that really helps in the early game.
Vampires: Apparently vampires are tax collectors now, who knew? These are the sparkly kind of vampires that are completely useless in combat.
Goblin Archers: I found goblin archers frustrating to use. They are as cheap as your usual rangers but seem to die a lot faster and are less responsive to explore flags. That being said if they make it to a decent level they’re good to have around though they still tend to die too often for my tastes even with upgraded gear and potions.
Goblin Spearman: The equivalent to warriors in the original, the spearman have similar issues to the archers. Though you can hire 4 of them per guild they aren’t particular hardy and tend to die fast. You need them early but you’ll find yourself resurrecting them a lot! Once I got used to their expendability I warmed to the goblins but there was still frustration there.
Ratmen: Ratmen replace your rogues and are quick to level up and cheap to get making them very handy in the early game in particular. They have the same catch cries as the rogues but with some ‘cheesy’ additions more in line with their characters. As Ratmen level up they summon faithful rats to your cause who follow your heroes around and generally pester the enemy without doing much damage.
Liches: I absolutely loved the addition of liches, they’ve always been fun to assault to it’s great to get to use them. Unlike your mages, liches are strong from the very beginning and don’t die easily. They are completely worth the coin in he early game. I found it really effective to upgrade the guild immediately and research summon elementals. Aside from the fact that I enjoy the throng of monsters around my castle, at level 10 they were excellent added defence.
Minotaurs: Available when you upgrade your castle the Minotaurs along with Koatls and Noble Werewolves, are replacements for Dwarves and Elves. Just a little bit like tanks, these monsters are all about attack. They can be very useful but you will need them to level up fast on they’ll be outclassed. It would have been better to include a black minotaur hero or something along those lines to make these guys a bit more useful and interesting.
Koatls: Koatls become available after you have Minotaurs. They are mystic hunters that Minotaurs summon. A little like a cross between Archers of Helia and Beastmasters from the Temple to Fervus. You only get two per temple though they are quite handy ranged units.
Noble Werewolves: The best unit of the expansion by a long shot, Noble Werewolves are a must as soon as you can afford them. You only get one Werewolf per guild but they’re an absolute beast. Noble Werewolves regenerate health so they can take down towers by themselves, even from a low level. These guys are almost a one man army, and you will want them on your side!
Champions of Grum-Gog: You can also win the favour of Grum-Gog the Goblin god and build temples allowing you to hire his champions in your guilds. The only one that was actually useful was the Shamans to heal, like Priestesses of Agrela and necessary since you don’t have clerics! The other Champions are decent but by the time you hire them they too are outclassed by the rest of your higher level army. My advice would be get as many shamans as possible and maybe a Rat-Paladin if you need more muscle.
The Moster Kingdom Expansion gives you an extra set of campaigns as well as stand-alone missions, and I enjoyed testing out the new heroes and the best ways to use them. The expansion has the same humour and wit that we’ve become familiar with as well as the Advisor’s often shrill tones. As someone who tends to procrastinate on completing the objectives in order to build up a ridiculous army of heroes and expand my reach as far as possible there were still things missing for me. This expansion still lacks the ability to map-build and the building and guild limits can be annoying, more freedom would really add to the experience for the gamer. That being said I did find campaign missions I could make do with to spend as much time as I wished to expand my kingdom but it would be better to have the chance to shape the map you’re looking for yourself. I really enjoyed the challenge of attacking your usual heroes, finding that those I didn’t necessarily value enough when they were on my side were actually quite hardy. In the ‘Elves and Dragons’ campaign this really became apparent when taking on the might of the elves.
For a fan of strategy games, kingdom builders and fantasy, the Majesty 2 Monster Kingdom Expansion is a good purchase. The game is not without it’s problems and the odd glitch but the temptation of new heroes really makes it all worthwhile.
Review by Zahra Gaitskell