Review | Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom
Format: PS3/Xbox 360 | Genre: Action Adventure | Publisher: Namco Bandai | Developer: Game Republic | Release date: 26/11/2010 | Price: £39.99
Steve K Peacock delves into the world of MAJIN AND THE FORSAKEN KINGDOM.
RARELY HAS a game so clearly about the evils of pollution managed to be enjoyable to me. I have a very low threshold for preachy games, and when the topic is an ecological disaster it seems as though it’s going to be something you can’t really avoid. Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, however, avoids this trap of sounding holier-than-thou and presents a charming, slightly different take on the whole thing, wrapping it up with a neat little quasi-Zelda bow.
The kingdom of Qu’markaj has fallen to the armies of Darkness, creatures seemingly constructed from some sort of oily substance. They are immortal, any normally fatal blow is either shrugged off or, in extreme cases, does little more than temporarily incapacitate them. As a result, the remaining humans have scattered into the woods, the last line of defence against the Darkness, a line that is starting to give way.
In an attempt to fight back, the nameless protagonist breaks into the castle at the very heart of the Darkness’ territory, hoping to release a mythical guardian trapped within. This guardian is the titular Majin, a sort of furry nature-troll thing, that is the only thing that can actually kill the Darkness.
Heroic daring doings
The story itself is not particularly innovative or original, but the way in which you are exposed to it is interesting enough for you not to care. This is not a game where you are the hero, utilizing a powerful henchman to give you the space you need to get on with the business of heroing. If anything, Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom casts you as the annoyingly useless henchman.
The Majin is a big, lumbering brute. His attacks are slow but powerful, each hit launching the poor recipient across the room like a rocket. Thing is, these enemies are quick and come in packs. Alone, the Majin can’t hope to win. You, on the other hand, are quick and agile, a bouncing ball of annoyance to any enemy. Being the hero is so ingrained in the mind of a gamer that it takes a while for the annoyance of being so weak – your attacks are so pitiful that it can take upwards of five minutes to kill a single enemy, who will then get up anyway unless you have the Majin on hand – but once you realise what your role is it all clicks.
You are the annoying fairy summon that zips about, zapping enemies with a peashooter, letting the hero get the deathblow. This leads to situations where you have to re-evaluate your normal battle plan to account for your new sidekick role. You can’t rely on the Majin to keep the minions off you while you head straight for the hulking brute, you won’t even make a dent in it. No, you need to keep the minions off him. It’s an interesting take on co-op that manages to avoid the frustrating “chosen one” protagonist cliché at the same time.
Part of me wants to say that Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom plays remarkably like Zelda, the unique combat aside. It would, perhaps, be more right to say that it plays like one giant Zelda dungeon, wandering around the sizeable map with the intention of opening treasure chests and acquiring powers for the Majin. Occasionally you’ll fight a boss and, in typical Zelda fashion, the trick to fighting them is entirely dependent on the power you acquired just before fighting them. The difficult part is working out what you’re meant to do with the powers in these situations – not everything can be defeated by a Majin fist to the face.
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