I never played the original Majesty or its expansion pack, The Northern Expansion, because when it came out I was between PC's. So when I went into Majesty 2, I expected yet another RTS game in a fantasy world, but Majesty 2 turned out to be a unique experience that I wouldn't mind playing more of in the near future.
Majesty 2 is very reminiscent of games like Evil Genius & the Dungeon Keeper series, where you have control over building things, but you don't get a direct control over your units. In order to get your heroes (the basic units in the game) to do anything you have to offer a reward. So if you want your heroes to kill a particular monster you have to be willing to pay for it. Even exploring the map can be costly as heroes will not venture too deeply into the shroud without a cash incentive. The interesting thing is you get to choose how much the reward is for the tasks, the more you pay the more heroes will be interested and more higher level heroes will be enticed to have a go, but if you don't put enough money in only low level heroes will be interested, if your lucky.
Like in a RPG, each of your heroes gains experience, which is used to level up, and gold, for buying new equipment at your markets. As heroes level up they will become more powerful and gain more heath but they will want more money for even the simplest of tasks for you. This means its often best to have a mixture of higher, and lower level heroes so that the lower levelled ones can do the tasks that you don't want to spend a lot of money on but you have the higher level heroes for taking out monsters.
Each hero has their own unique name, and if you do happen to grow too attached to a hero, fear not if they die, because you can bring them back to life for a price based on their class, and level and during the single player campaign if there's a hero you want to keep at the end of the mission you are aloud to make one hero a lord, this will allow you to re-hire them in other missions of the campaign, but they wont come cheap.
There's a wide range of hero classes to choose from including clerics, rouges and elves, and each once and every one had their own abilities, jobs on the battlefield, and even their own AI. When your building up your heroes you really have to be thinking about what you already have on the battlefield and what works well together.
There are a total of 16 missions in the campaign. Most of the time you will have the option to do the missions in the order you want. This sometimes causes problems and feels like it was a late addition to the game, as it means that its possible to do a mission where you have access to a new type of hero only for next mission to introduce the class as part of the missions story.
Each mission normally has at least one main objective as well as few optional ones but most of your time will be spent on building up your heroes and protecting your buildings with the last 5 minutes spent putting a extremely large bounty on whatever beastie your there to slay and watching as your army of heroes take it down, normally with very few casualties. Each mission takes about 30 minutes but depending on your you tactics and how much you want to build your heroes up.
Throughout each of the lands you'll visit, there are caves, graveyards and nests that spawn monsters that want nothing better than to knock all your buildings down. Killing the monsters and destroying their nests is the best way to both level up your heroes and defend your kingdom. Destroying all the spawn points though will not stop the tide of monsters from attacking as monsters will often wander into the level from the sides of the map and as if things weren't dangerous enough, your graveyard within your town will spawn skeletons and sewer entrances around the town will spawn hordes of rats. Both the main graveyard and the sewer entrances cannot be destroyed meaning that you have to keep an eye on them or it could mean the end of your reign as king.
At times Majesty 2 can feel overly brutal towards the player and at one point I even thought that one Level I was playing was buggy because I kept trying and trying and couldn't get anywhere. Eventually I tried a different tactic when building up my town and put a lot of thought into what hero classes to use and got through the level much easier. There's no difficulty options so your left to just keep trying if you get stuck which will put some people off.
Majesty 2's graphics may not be jaw dropping but the certainly don't look bad, and the watching your heroes fight up close looks fairly impressive especially when you take advantage of the games built in ability to slow down the game.
Majesty 2 is not for every one. Some will love the idea of being a King (or Queen), and setting up quests for their heroes to follow, while building up their town and making sure there's new equipment for their heroes to buy at the local market. But others will loath the lack of direct control over their heroes, the difficulty and the fact that there is only 16 missions.