Game Info:

Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania
Developed By: Cyberlore Studios
Published By: Paradox Interactive
Release Date: November 9th 2010
ESRB Rating: Teen for blood and alcohol references
Multiplayer Support: 4 players using GameSpy
Retail Price: $14.95

System requirements
• Majesty 2 (required for the expansion)
• Windows 2000/XP/Vista
• 2GHz dual core processor
• 1 GB RAM
• Videocard: 512 MB with PS 2.0, better than GeForce 6800 GTX
• 4 GB free hard disc space

Thank you Gamers Gate for giving us this game to review!

Battles of Ardania is the second expansion pack available for Majesty 2. It offers eight new single-player campaigns, with more than half of them on the hardest difficulty level. In Battles of Ardania, there\'s only one novice mission and a couple of advanced ones. The Kingmaker expansion had goblins wielding jack-o-lanterns as your enemies, whereas this expansion offers new foes: half-werewolf/half-snake creatures. It\'s time to defend Ardania once again!

Just like Majesty 2, you do not have absolute control over your units; they have a mind of their own. Some units prefer to fight, while others prefer to explore or protect things. To direct your units, you\'ll have to place flags over objectives and enemies. Some units may do the requested action free of charge, while others will require a monetary incentive.

When you start a mission, you have some money, your castle, a guard, as well as a tax collector and some peasants.
The peasants will pay taxes and build the buildings for you. You can build guard towers that will come with a guard to help defend against nearby monsters, skeletons, and big sewer rats. Most of your defenses however, will be from guilds.

Strong Points: Fun and unique game play; good graphics
Weak Points: Extremely hard game play; no active servers to join
Moral Warnings: Violence, multiple deities, magic use

The guilds include rogues, rangers, warriors, clerics, mages, dwarves, and elves. Each guild has to be upgraded a couple of times to offer better attacks and spells. With each guild, you can research a power to aid your heroes.
The mage\'s guild offers a few of spells that you can use to zap single or multiple enemies (for a price, of course!). I especially liked the dwarven ability to reinforce structures to speed up the building or repairing process.

To earn income, you can get a kickback on constructing a market, blacksmith, an inn, or a magic emporium. Before the blacksmith or market can sell anything, you have to research the items first. The inns allow your heroes to rest and you can form battle parties there. The guilds pay taxes, too, and they each house three heroes. You can build more guilds, but each successive building will cost more money and each building has a separate research tree.

After your castle has been upgraded a couple of times, you can construct various temples in designated areas (holy ground). The temples provide several priests and priestesses, as well as powerful abilities such as resurrection or the ability to send a plague. If you don\'t have the ability to resurrect, the first time a hero dies, a cemetery will be constructed through which they can be resurrected. A fee is charged, though, which increases depending on the hero\'s level.
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 82%
Game Play: 16/20
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8:10
Interface: 4/5
Stability: 5/5

Morality Score - 79%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10

There is a built-in store interface where you can purchase new missions, spells and abilities for your units. Some of these items are also free to download. The items you purchase are only available if your system is online. If you like modding, there\'s a map editor available. The single player missions are all the same and mostly consist of defending the castle for a given amount of time. There\'s also a challenging mission that pokes fun at Robin Hood.

Most of the missions have optional quests that can be completed and they usually reward you with extra gold. With all the bribing, gold is what\'s needed the most to succeed. The multiplayer interface is powered by GameSpy. You can have up to four players or two teams in a battle for domination. Unfortunately I did not see any servers to join.

Graphically, Battles of Ardania is very appealing. The maps are very detailed and the 3D characters and buildings look great. Visually, there are no unique features to a unit; however, heroes vary with their levels and upgrades they purchase.  The spells look pretty neat and the physics are spot on. Monsters look quite scary and their animations are fitting.
I was very impressed with the background music in this game; it\'s very pretty and reminded me of Lord Of The Rings. The voice acting is decent, and the adviser still sounds like Sean Connery. The campaign missions were nicely narrated, but the single player intros are text only. I\'m not sure why they didn\'t narrate those as well, and it seems strange. Another nitpick is that the elf voice is a little odd - it sounds like a child.

Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania has fantasy violence, but it\'s not really bloody or gory. You will be battling with demons, as well as eliminating portals to hell, so there are some dark themes. I was glad to see no real occult symbols used. Magic is used and cannot be avoided. There is mention of alcohol and some pub buildings. I also heard "d––n" once in a mission briefing. Lastly, elves and dwarves hate each other so there\'s mild fantasy racism.

Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania is a nice expansion, and at $15, it\'s hard not to recommend, especially if you like a challenge. As an aside, I never had enough gold, so I wound up using Cheat Engine to modify the memory addresses that contained my gold values (in single-player only). If you enjoyed Majesty 2, pick up the expansion: There aren\'t many problems, and it\'s overall a very solid offering. It\'s a shame that there is no one to play against online.

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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