Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania PC
Published by Paradox Interactive
Developed by 1C:Ino-Co
Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania is the second expansion for Majesty 2 and it's one that doesn’t really move the game forward in terms of quality of depth. It’s definitely an expansion that depends far more on trial and error and therefore some will definitely find it a more frustrating experience than either the original game or the Kingmaker expansion. Whilst the content of this expansion is generally good, the frustrating nature of the missions on offer will be off putting to most.
If by chance you haven't played Majesty 2 or the original game it may be wise to take a look at our review of Majesty 2 (click here to read our review) to find out why it's quite an unusual RTS experience. Suffice to say that you don't have direct control over your units, they essentially have free will and you have to bribe them with rewards in order to get them to do what you want, and whilst this may initially seem frustrating, it doesn't take long to get used to and it certainly makes the Majesty series one of the more unique in the genre.
Battles of Ardania includes a new campaign consisting of eight missions. There is one mission aimed at the Novice difficulty level, three at the Advanced level and four at the Expert level. Aside from the new campaign, there a few multiplayer maps (a couple of which support co-op play) and a couple of new monsters and not much more to this expansion. This wouldn't be so bad if the campaign was more enjoyable. The campaign feels more like a collection of random scenarios rather than a collection of interconnecting missions that harmoniously fit together.
There's not much of a storyline to the campaign, it starts as a hunt for a werewolf and ends in war, and to top it all off there's something awry with the difficulty level that makes for a very frustrating experience. Enemies are thrown at you at an alarming rate giving you barely any time to think about your strategy. The biggest problem however is that you’ll find that the missions are a case of trial and error. Once you’ve found the right way of playing a mission the difficulty level seems bearable. The problem is that you’ll need to play a mission several times before you hit on the correct approach and this seems a little odd. This forces you to replay missions several times with the first few attempts being on a trial and error basis. I'm all for challenging games but when it gets to the point that the difficulty level begins to make the experience feel unfair I begin to lose interest and that's what happens in Battles of Ardania all too often.
In terms of the game's presentation there should be little surprise at the fact that nothing has changed as we are dealing with an expansion. Visually there are essentially no changes at all which isn't too much of a problem as Majesty 2 is still a decent looking RTS game. The opening cut scene that introduces the campaign isn’t subtitled as was the case in the original game. All important dialogue during a mission is subtitled however. Comments made by your units aren’t subtitled. Mission objectives are given in text and can be recalled at any time. Whilst there are a few disappointments for deaf gamers then it's still a fairly accessible game.
Those hoping for significant changes to the gameplay with Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania will be disappointed because, new campaign aside, there's very little here that you won't have experienced before. If you've played Majesty 2 and its first expansion, Majesty 2: Kingmaker and essentially want more of the same, albeit with a more punishing difficulty level, then Battles of Ardania should prove to be a worthwhile purchase but you will need a lot of patience and be prepared to replay missions numerous times in order to succeed. Those who find the original game or Kingmaker challenging enough however might want to think twice before making a purchase.