The kingdom of Ardania had enjoyed peace and
prosperity for many years. The citizens lived without
fear. Evil necromancers and ruthless liches seemed
to be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, that was not
good enough for the old king. He wanted a chance to
prove his mettle on the battlefield. He wanted the
bards to sing of his heroic deeds. Thus, he ordered
the court magicians to summon a powerful demon.
Slaying such a mighty opponent would surely make
him a champion in the eyes of the people. The king
arrogantly welcomed the demon as it appeared in a
cloud of ash and fire. He was certain that he would be
victorious, but he had greatly underestimated the
creature's power. The battle lasted for five days. The
demon ultimately defeated the king and took over the
Now, beautiful Ardania is in a state of turmoil. Citizens
flee in terror as giant ogres and fiery dragons roam
the land. An army of overgrown rats has started an
invasion to the west. An evil wizard has staked his
claim on the eastern lands, his tower defiantly
reaching into the skies. Vampires and dark wizards
are growing stronger. Yet even as Ardania withers
under the demon's reign, there is a small glimmer of
hope. The last descendant of Ardania's great kings
still lives. With the proper training, a new king could
be able to stand against the demon. With mighty
heroes on his side, a new king could have a chance
to restore Ardania's former glory.
In Majesty 2, players assume the role of the young
king and attempt to regain control of Ardania from the
demon. As the monarch, players do not have direct
control of the kingdom and its armies. It is not
possible to select a group of heroes and tell them to
attack a specific monster or a building. Instead,
Majesty 2 uses an indirect control system. Players
are given several types of reward flags that can be
set on the map, creatures, or buildings. For instance,
'attack' flags can be used to target enemy buildings.
Upon placing the flag, players can set a gold reward
that will be given to the heroes who participate in the
destruction of the building. If the reward is high
enough, one or more heroes will be interested. They
will attack the targeted building and claim the reward
when the structure is successfully demolished.
Similar flags are used to encourage heroes to explore
the map, protect a character, or defend a building.
The indirect control system is what sets the Majesty
series apart from other real-time strategy games.
Players cannot sacrifice troops solely for the sake of
exploring the map or testing the opponent's defenses.
The heroes act independently. They choose which
rewards to pursue. They try to run away from fights
when they realize they are not strong enough to
defeat the enemies. They also make their own
decisions about how to spend the gold they earn.
Visiting the various buildings you construct for them,
the heroes can learn new skills, purchase potions, or
upgrade their equipment. They also gain experience
and become more powerful as they continue to fight
for your kingdom.
The player takes a step back from the immediate
action and oversees the development of the kingdom.
At the beginning of a typical mission, players are
given a small sum of gold and a palace. There will
also be a number of houses in the vicinity. Tax
collectors will periodically leave the palace and visit
the houses, providing income. Players then have to
make decisions about which buildings to construct.
Economic buildings include the marketplace and the
blacksmith. The marketplace provides potions and
protective charms for your heroes. The blacksmith is
used to research and sell upgraded armor and
weapons. Players can also construct trade posts at
special spots on the map. These trade posts
periodically dispatch caravans, bringing more income
to your kingdom.
Constructing guilds allow players to hire heroes and
research new skills. Each guild has a specific type of
hero associated with it. Rangers are highly effective
with their bows. They also eagerly respond to
'explore' flags, helping you reveal hidden portions of
the map. Warriors specialize in melee combat and
most readily respond to 'attack' flags. Clerics can heal
your other heroes. They are also good at fighting
undead monsters. Players can also hire elven archers
and dwarven warriors. Accomplishing the mission
objectives typically requires using a mixture of
different types of heroes.
In later missions, players also have access to
specialized heroes through temples. The temples can
only be constructed at 'holy' sites spread throughout
the map. The temples are dedicated to the various
gods worshiped in Ardania. For instance, the Temple
of Krypta honors the goddess of death. The 'Sisters
of Krypta' you can hire from these temples fight by
summoning undead creatures to their aid. On the
other hand, the Temple of Dauros provides paladins
that are extremely durable and adept at melee
combat. Since there are a limited number of special
sites available on each map, players have to consider
which temples will provide the heroes that would be
most effective at completing the mission objectives.
Majesty 2 also gives players access to a number of
spells. These spells are available to research at
guilds and temples. Casting them can improve your
heroes' effectiveness in combat, repair your buildings,
or inflict damage on enemy creatures. While the
spells require a significant amount of gold to cast,
they can be occasionally effective at turning the tide
of a battle and help you achieve victory.
The process of constructing buildings, conducting
research, and hiring heroes will be instantly familiar to
gamers who played the original Majesty. The core
gameplay mechanics are very similar to the first
installment in the series. However, Majesty 2 does
depart from its predecessor in several ways. For
instance, the requirement for placing temples at
special locations is new to Majesty 2. The flag system
is also slightly modified. Defense flags that request
heroes to protect certain characters and fear flags
that ask heroes to avoid certain portions of the map
are new features in Majesty 2. But the most
significant difference is the updated graphics engine.
The 2D isometric view from the first game has been
discarded. Instead, Majesty 2 uses a 3D engine that
allows greater control of the camera.
The campaign mode of Majesty 2 offers 16 missions.
The first mission is a tutorial that familiarizes players
with the controls and the process of constructing
buildings and hiring heroes. As you complete the
earlier missions, more difficult ones become
available. Objectives typically revolve around
destroying one or more enemy buildings or defeating
a strong opponent. The difficulty level increases
significantly as you proceed through the campaign.
During the first few missions, monster attacks are
fairly rare. You are free to develop your kingdom and
direct your heroes as they gain levels and get ready
to complete the mission objectives. Toward the end of
the campaign however, you will need to heavily rely
on defensive structures and struggle to survive
enemy attacks. Despite the increase in difficulty, there
are viable strategies for every mission. With a bit of
perseverance, players should be able to complete all
As you proceed through the campaign, Majesty 2
maintains a lighthearted atmosphere. Your advisor
always offers a couple of jokes during mission
briefings. The game also makes several amusing
references to well-known fictional characters. For
example, in one mission, you will be asked to escort a
famous vampire hunter called One Heavensing.
While the game is not necessarily hilarious, the
attempts at humor does give Majesty 2 a certain
charm. When the load screen is flashing messages
like 'Your advisor is dressing up', or 'Cleaning the
palace', it is clear that the game does not take itself
Unfortunately, despite its unique indirect control
system and innate charm, Majesty 2 can get a bit
repetitive. The developers have clearly tried to keep
things interesting by mixing up mission objectives and
gradually allowing players to build the more advanced
structures. However, several missions into the
campaign, you will have essentially seen all the
diversity Majesty 2 has to offer. The core gameplay in
each mission never truly steers away from
constructing buildings to get the economy rolling,
hiring heroes, and building guard towers to defend
your palace. In addition to the campaign, the game
offers several single missions and a multi-player
mode. However, upon completing the 16 missions
and watching the ending movie, you may not have a
strong incentive to explore the additional content.
The campaign missions also feel somewhat randomly
thrown together. There is no overarching plot or
gradually revealed storyline that connects the majority
of the missions. It seems the young king just needs to
attend to an odd selection of problems before he is
deemed ready to go up against the demon. A couple
more cut scenes or more detailed briefings explaining
how some of the missions relate to the greater goal of
taking Ardania back from the demon would have been
Fortunately, the issues with Majesty 2 do not
significantly detract from the overall gameplay. With
its indirect control system and focus on constructing
buildings, the Majesty series continues to distinguish
itself from other real-time strategy games. There is a
certain appeal to taking a step back from battles and
seeing the kingdom function from a higher level.
Given some of its repetitive and somewhat formulaic
missions, Majesty 2 is not a perfect game.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for a challenging and
charming strategy game that does things a little
differently, Majesty 2 certainly delivers.