Posted in Art, Gaming

FFXIV: Heavensward Dragons ~ I Dub This the Anti-Zemi :) 

antizemi

Official expansion site, featuring trailers, screenshots, and the latest information.

Source: FINAL FANTASY XIV: Heavensward

Posted in Gaming, Steam Challenge

Steam Challenge: Majesty 2 Collection

-Welcome to this series where I resolve to play my Steam games backlog! Here are my discoveries!-

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Game: Majesty 2 Collection 
Time Played: 5 hours

Last week, I wrote about my affection for the original Majesty game, released back in 2000. Dahakha asked what my opinion of Majesty 2 was, and I admitted that I had never actually played the sequel, which was released in 2009. So, I decided to rectify that and write a bit of a comparison between the two games.

Majesty 2 took several of the original game’s most important concepts and updated them with more modern sim-like features. There’s a much broader story in the campaign mode (also much quirkier and more funny), where once again you play a king who only has influence over what buildings you build, what upgrades you make, and entice your hired heroes to do things based on bounties and gold rewards. Aside from some of the same classes, a little of the same gameplay, and a few of the same voice overs, that’s really all that the two games share.

Updated Everything

Graphics

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Improved Graphics

Of course, graphics were updated to a more 3D look, including the ability to zoom in and out on the map. This allows you to watch your heroes in more detail if you like, seeing all their little battles and struggles much more closely than Majesty 1 provided. The graphics are nothing astounding by modern gaming comparisons. But next to the original Majesty, it’s quite an upgrade.

Hero System

You still place specific hero guilds (warrior, ranger, cleric, etc) like in the original, but some of them seem to be consolidated from the Majesty 1 temple system (such as the cleric). Instead of hiring 5 of each hero per guild, you are now limited to 3. However, Majesty 2 isn’t so much about just hiring a constant stream of new heroes to replace those that die, so 3 is all you really need.

Rezzing a Hero
Rezzing a Hero

One nice new feature is the ability to resurrect fallen heroes from the graveyard. So, instead of hiring someone new when your level 12 warrior bites the dust, you can just pony up the gold to rez him, with all his skills and experience in tact! This is much, much nicer than Majesty 1, where you might be able to rez a fallen hero if you just happen to see his death and have the gold and a rez skill. Otherwise, it’s permadeath for the fallen.

This makes it more logical to invest in heroes, which remain in your kingdom and can be revived when they fall. Of course, the higher level the hero is, and the more “exotic” the class/race is, the more it costs to rez a hero.

One thing I noticed was that not all classes are available from the outset. The story slowly introduces new classes as you work through the scenarios. Mages, for example, didn’t appear until the fourth map. This may be a good or bad thing, depending on your viewpoint.

At the end of the scenario, you can also choose to make one of your heros a “Lord.” This allows you to summon that hero in other maps if you build a specific building – I haven’t actually tried this yet, but it sounds cool!

On top of all this, is a new grouping system. This is something you research at the Inn, where you can then summon your heroes and hand-pick them in a group of 4. This group will work together to taken on enemies that would leave solo heroes scattering and dead. Some objectives seem to only be won through the use of grouping.

A Party of Heroes Take Down a Castle
A Party of Heroes Take Down a Castle

Flag System

A Defense Flag to Protect the Tower
A Defense Flag to Protect the Tower

In Majesty 1, one type of flag covered it all. If you wanted a hero to explore, you placed a flag with a bounty on a location. If you wanted a hero to attack something, you placed a flag with a bounty on a creature or structure.

In Majesty 2, this system has been expanded, giving you flags for each purpose. Exploration flag. Attack flag. Defend flag.

Certain classes are drawn to specific flags more than others, too. For example, rangers like to explore, so you’re more likely to see a ranger enticed by an exploration flag.

The game does require you to make use of all flags to complete the various objectives, too. The one I found most frustrating was the defend flags. These only last for a specific amount of time, so you have to renew the flag and hope that your heroes haven’t wandered off when there’s no more reward for defending an item. Heroes also get distracted by other flag types more often than  defend flags. So either you have to ensure there aren’t any attack and explore flags around, or you have to make the defend bounty much higher to catch attention.

Time Control

In Majesty 1, there were no time controls. The game ran at one speed only – fast. Only hitting the ESC button could pause it, which didn’t give you much in the way of planning for strategy.

Majesty 2 took a cue from games like Sim City and provided time controls, including a normal, fast, and faster speed, as well as a pause. In response to this, the normal game speed is much, much slower than the original Majesty’s pace. I consider this a good thing, though, since you have the option to speed it up when you need to.

Maps and Story

2015-05-30_00017I only played the campaign story, which was a bit more challenging than Majesty 1. The writing was a lot more quirky, relying on a bit of humor in most of the scenarios far more than you saw in the original game. The objectives were more varied, and sometimes frustrating and tricky.

Some maps I had to restart a few times before I knew what I needed to do to successfully complete the scenario. For example, there’s one scenario that introduces mages and has a dark mage as the main enemy. The dark mage will send a massive illusion to wreak havoc on your whole kingdom, tearing it down each time the illusion appears. The game suggests that “there must be a way to protect the kingdom!”… but it doesn’t actually point you to the answer on how to do this. It only takes 3 or 4 hits from that illusion for a game over, so it’s pretty important to figure it out!

After a second restart, I realized that the Mages Guild was a new addition to the buildings I could create. So I plopped one down. Only then, did the game tell me I needed a Mage Guild upgraded to level 2 to stop the attacks of the illusions. This takes most of your gold early on in your scenario, so you have to really plan it wisely!

It felt as if the maps in Majesty 2 were a bit smaller than Majesty 1. Not sure if that’s just because I was playing lower level campaigns, or what. I don’t think the maps were bad, but they certainly did have a smaller feel.

The one thing I was sad about was that once you finish a scenario, the game ends it. In Majesty 1, you could choose to continue to play that map even after completing the objectives.

Other Features

There’s a new random soundtrack for Majesty 2, replacing the joyful, but often repeated tracks of Majesty 1. I really liked the Majesty 1 songs, but the new, more orchestrated music is really nice, too.

Of course, the game once supported multiplayer, and this doesn’t exist anymore. So, this is going to be a single player endeavor. I couldn’t tell if there was a random map mode like there was in Majesty 1. But there did seem to be a way to replay existing scenarios with a “random” element to them.

Overall, I feel Majesty 2 is a worth successor to the original game. Because it offers more robust features and more modern graphics, folks who have never played Majesty may appreciate Majesty 2 more than Majesty 1. I really enjoy both games for what they are, and certainly recommend them as a casual fun kingdom sim.

Recommended:

yes

 

Posted in Gaming

GOG Summer Sale Loot

Couldn’t help it. I love the old builder games and played “Children of the Nile” for a long time. Never got into any of these others, so when they were on sale for less than $2 each, and Sim City 2000 was free, I took the plunge. Never played 7th Guest, either, so decided to get that for under $2, too.

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