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Paradox Interactive and 1C Company’s upcoming release, Majesty 2, spins the traditional RTS into a kingdom simulator.  The goal is to build recruiting structures and economic centers that will entice heroes to come to your aid.

You start off in a small section of the map and progressively move from landmark to landmark fighting off viscous demons and monsters to one day vanquish the evil that has taken over your lands.

Your aim is to build your empire in such a way that is prosperous and safe for your villagers.  Because you can’t control the warriors who you hire, you have to place bounties on everything from exploration to offensive attacking.  Depending on how much money you are willing to pay out for a job, determines the likeliness that one or many of your hired fighters will perform your bidding.

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For example, in one level I had to kill an ogre who was destroying unprotected villages.  I had to first build up an independent economy, and then I had to build up an army.  After all the preparation was finished, I set a 2000 Gold bounty on the ogre’s head.  Because I put such a huge bounty on him, all my hired warriors flocked to him in hopes of receiving a chunk of the reward.

Since the game is still in its beta stages, I’ve only had the opportunity to play about a third of the game.  From what I have played, players are eased into the game through a simple tutorial, and the missions become progressively harder.  I have to admit, I thought this game was pretty easy, but as I neared the end of the beta test, my feelings quickly changed.

In the demo, I’ve encountered a handful of balancing issues that are quite frustrating.  For example, one mission has me kill off a mother dragon.  There are a handful of nests scattered throughout the map, which generate little fledglings that are annoying but manageable.  After a set amount of time, multiple waves of massive amount of baby dragons flock to your epicenter and destroy everything.  I haven’t found a way past it, and I gave up on the mission out of frustration.

In another mission, I had to vanquish an evil wizard, but to do so, meant destroying his towers and infiltrating his base.  Since the towers circle around the base, the only way through it was to eat the damage the towers delivered and slowly chip away at each structure.  Since players cannot individually control units, the only way to destroy the towers was to place an extremely high bounty on each tower and hope that my heavy armored and hard attacking units work together.

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On the other hand, it seems as though players will be allowed to promote selected units that will raise stats and unlock new abilities.  The feature wasn’t open to the beta, but hopefully it’ll help balance the difficulty.

Finally, I haven’t had the opportunity to play Majesty 1 (developed and published by MicroProse and Cyberlore), but in comparison to Paradox Interactive and 1C Company’s last endeavor, Elven Legacy, the presentation is much better.  The landscapes look much smoother and highly detailed, creature and character animations are solid, and I personally like how they open the game up by telling a story through artistic drawings.  Not to mention, I never experienced any crashes.

Majesty 2 is set to release September 11, 2009.

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