|Publisher: MacPlay Genre: Strategy & War|
|Min OS X: Any Version CPU: 601 @ 233 MHz RAM: 48 MB Hard Disk: 314 MB 4x CD-ROM Graphics: 800x600 @ 16-bit|
Since I first saw Majesty at Capitol Mac's Gaming Day early in October, I've been infatuated with the game. It's not your father's real time strategy game for certain. There's a great deal to appreciate: the graphics, the Connery-esque voiceovers, the complex gameplay. Majesty is much like Go, quick to learn, a lifetime to master. There's a great deal of complexity beneath its easily operable surface. The controls are very intuitive if you realize that you are not controlling individual units, only providing incentives for your citizens. It's hard to get out of the God-like trappings of other Real time Strategy games like Age of Empires or Warcraft, but once you realize that instead of a general providing orders, you are a sovereign providing guidance for a society at large, you will be right at home. The real benefit of Majesty is the outstanding Multiplayer option. It takes a game from being average to being sincerely worthy of purchase.
The single-player campaign for the most part is a cinch, not taking a great deal of time to complete, and there is no real major reason for trying to go back and replay the first player campaigns, except to improve your completion time. The real gem to Majesty is the multiplayer and freestyle game options. Playing against a human opponent is far more challenging and enjoyable than playing against a static AI, with limited growth potential. The adaptive response that a human can give will always beat an AI.
Majesty's separation from the "do-this, do-that" mentality provides a unique flavor. Instead of ordering your troops into the fray, you give them the option to do so. You can provide monetary incentives for troops to explore uncharted wilderness, or to go and vanquish an enclave of the enemy. While you still control which buildings are built by your henchmen, you don't always control their occupants. Your subjects have a great deal of free will, which they exercise frequently (often to your chagrin as sovereign).
Not Your Dad's RTS
Another piece of the Majesty puzzle is the tech tree that comes with it. You can have Dwarves, Warriors of Discord, Paladins, Rangers, Rogues, Elves, Cultists, Priestesses, Monks and Healers. And that's just a small sampling of what's available. While the trees for technology themselves are short, they provide ample coverage for most of the single player levels. Only during network play do they feel far too short. Majesty's diversity is its lifeblood, there are so many different paths to take.