If there is one complaint I have about the RTS genre, it s that is be a bit too…involved. I mean, there is no lazy way to play StarCraft or Command and Conquer. You’ve got to actually devote energy and involvement into the game, otherwise you’ll fall apart.
It really seems that 1C and their internal team, 1C: Ino-Co, seems to agree with me, especially since their upcoming release Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim is a game all about taking a hands-off approach to taking over a fantasy land. Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this game is a “lazy” form of an RTS, but it is certainly a whole different take on the game.
Actually, an RTS is kind of a bad genre signifier. I mean, a more appropriate genre, as anyone who played the original Majesty from 2000 would agree, is that this is more of a tycoon type game. This game is all about working the comings and goings in a medieval fantasy world to ultimately rock out with the most cash in the end.
Hit the jump for my impressions
Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim (PC)
Developer: 1C: Ino-Co
Publisher: 1C Company
To be released: Fall 2009
Ok, so how does Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim actually work? Well, it’s a whole lot like the original Majesty, but considering hardly anybody even knows of that game, much less how it played, I’m going to have to give you a run down. The basic goal is to fulfill mission objectives and make money. However, you can’t just crank out heroes and fighters and send them out to battle . No no no! Sure, you can train the guys (and gals), but they won’t actually do too much once trained and on the battlefield. These lazy social parasites will just stand around, doing little, until they know they can get a mission that ends in cold hard gold. Sure, rangers, for example, will still explore, but they will be that much more willing once there's cash on the line.
So with that, you’ve got to set bounties and rewards on freaking everything. Go set 500 gold on an exploration goal, and some of your rogues will go out and explore an area. Afraid your tavern will be attacked by skeletons, bears, and rats (oh my)? Put a defensive bounty on the tavern, and your archers will protect the tavern for the cash. And then, of course, there is your bread and butter, actual hits placed on enemies. Every single baddie you come across can have a bounty placed on their head, and they gain all sorts of sudden value due to your aggressive reward system
And that reward system is looks to be pretty important, as, if you don’t put a high enough bounty, your fighters will flat out ignore it. You’re just going to have a bad time. Finding the right balance is important, as paying out too much is wasteful, and not paying enough means nobody is going to fight. Even getting them to go out and explore is important, as the heroes will find gold loot sitting out on the field, or gain extra from kills.
Once they have all that extra gold, they need to spend it, so building taverns and market places means that you get all that money back, and then some, which means you can build even more stuff. Place that blacksmith over there, upgrade your weapons and spells! It’s all good once the cash starts coming in.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this game feels like a bizarre mash-up of a tower defense game (building and protecting towns, as well as sending out warriors), My Life as a King (Building buildings and setting rewards for completion of missions) and a tycoon game like Roller Coaster Tycoon (the three-quarter view, the menus, and goal of making money). If the original Majesty says anything about this, it looks like this system works pretty well, and that hopefully Majesty 2 can upgrade in all the right places.
Graphically, from what I saw, Majesty 2 looks like a fairly normal, maybe generic fantasy game. However, Majesty 2 is obviously aimed toward a more casual market, and the game seems to aim graphically for that as well. I mean, most people cannot run a high level game, and Majesty 2 isn’t trying to be a high level game.
Ultimately, I will say that as far as games went at Another Night in Moscow, I would say that Majesty 2 was the most interesting game of the night. It’s a really interesting take on a fairly standard videogame trope. If 1C Company can make sure that the game is fine-tuned and smartly designed, they could have a great game here.