What is cooler than sending a bunch of egotistical heroes to slay hordes of monsters? How about sending hordes of monsters to slay egotistical heroes? Welcome to Monster Kingdom…
It’s all a bit embarrassing really. Monster Kingdom is the third expansion for the enjoyable strategy game Majesty 2 from Paradox Interactive and it would appear that all of your hard work from the main game and the previous two expansions has been completely forgotten. You almost single-handedly saved the Kingdom from Goblins, Werewolves and all manner of other nastiness, by which I mean that you single-handedly paid heroes to sort them out for you, and before you know it, you are replaced on the throne and kicked out of your castle, escaping into the night with nothing but your jim-jams and your advisor. Being that you have been a fair and honest king, you would think that your people would rise up in your name. But no, they go about their business as always, paying their taxes and generally not caring, the ungrateful swines. So what is a king to do?
Well, take back their Kingdom by any means possible. If that means teaming up with the very monsters that you were previously protecting your Kingdom against, so be it. Therein lies the setting to this expansion, turning the tables on everything that has gone before by inhabiting your Kingdom with Goblins, Ratmen and even Vampire tax collectors.
The core element of the game has not really changed, which is no bad thing. The player still has to construct the appropriate buildings and tempt the heroes to go forth and do their duty with pots of cash. This is no bad thing, as the game has always worked very well and offered something slightly different to the standard RTS where the players just orders the troops to war. But Monster Kingdom switches this all up by giving the player new buildings and new hero types, keeping everything fresh and encouraging even veteran players to continue just to see what will be available next.
Although it doesn’t really make that much difference to the actual gameplay, it does make the game feel new and exciting. All of the same features are there, but now given a more “monstrous” twist, such as Cockroaches attacking your town rather than Rats, and the gates to Hell rather than the Graveyard. It is all a lot of fun.
Which is mirrored with the sound and visuals. The game looks as good as it ever did, which is no disappointment, and the voicework is excellent. The games humour is present in spades, from the excited squeal of Goblins to the dry wit of your advisor.
One of the major gripes with the previous expansions was the level of difficulty. Whilst I am sure that veteran players got their moneys worth, the high difficulty levels meant that new players were often left feeling frustrated. Monster Kingdom addresses this issue by making the missions a bit easier to handle and breaks the player into the game at a more even pace.
Although any expansion to a game as entertaining as Majesty 2 is welcome, Monster Kingdom has gone the extra mile and is by far the best of the three. Ardania certainly looks different from the other side of the fence, but it is this difference that makes the game look and feel fresh. Monster Kingdom is the best expansion and is highly recommended to fans and newcomers alike.
Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom is available on GamersGate