Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom Review (PS3)

Once upon a time, there was a rogue who was raised by animals after a prosperous kingdom perished. Guided by the voice of his animal companions, he arrived at an ancient ruin looking for treasures. Little did he know that this fateful encounter is just the beginning of an exciting journey ahead.

Tepeu: Together we can end war

The premise of Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is quite straight forward. Game Republic has crafted a magical world with lots of finely crafted and stylised cut scenes littered throughout the game. You play as a rogue, who has no name until you meet up with Majin and he decides to name you Tepeu. Where this name came from is then later explained in the game as you try to uncover why a once prosperous and advanced kingdom fell apart.

The game plays out in an action adventure format with a bit of platforming and lots of puzzle solving. You control Tepeu, and Majin is controlled by AI. Both of you have to work together to get out of dangerous situations and solve puzzles. To make it easier for you to solve puzzles, Majin will occasionally make seemingly random comments as hints. You can issue commands to him to help you out in the process. Majin is pretty responsive to your commands but occasionally he will move around to undesirable locations, annoying you. Not because the AI was badly developed but because after you issue a command to act on certain things, unless he knows he has to stay in that position, he will automatically follow you once the action is finished. This sometimes proves to be a recipe for disaster especially if you don’t want to attract the attention of some deadly enemies while attempting to solve puzzles. Story driven puzzles are usually well hinted with “subtle” clues, but non-story puzzles, for example detours to special chests and such, are not as easily spotted. They will require you to take initiatives to explore the landscape for them.

Majin: I breathe sparkly breath!

Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom employed a number of different battle strategies to mix up the battle system and keep things fresh. Instead of your standard hack and slash, you can choose to use the environment or even sneak up to your enemies to perform an instant kill on them. This makes fighting enemies a lot more interesting, as for example if you see there is a room full of enemies, you may want to stealth around and instant kill them one by one instead of fighting the whole horde in one go. Your Majin companion comes in handy in battles too. He can just apply brute force and knock enemies down or work with you to unleash powerful combination attacks. The Majin also develops other abilities with the story that helps you to deal with specific kinds of enemies in different locations. This good mix of elements keeps the battle system engaging up till the end as new enemy types keep on appearing even in the last area.

The game also introduced a few RPG’ish elements to keep you busy. There are lots of things to collect in the game. As mentioned earlier, some, and especially essential items, are very obvious but others are not. So figuring out how to get to a particular chest becomes a challenge from time to time. Certain chests you will need to back track to them after you’ve acquired certain abilities for Majin while others just require you to read the environment carefully to formulate a strategy. In a Zelda-esque manner, you can only collect certain things at certain times of the day too, which makes backtracking become unavoidable. The day night cycles in that way become a nuisance if you don’t want to backtrack but still want everything, especially if you are aiming for full completion. Although the game provides a few transportation rooms to reduce time needed for backtracking, there were indeed times that I just left the game idle to the point when the day cycle changed so that I could get hold of that particular item I want.

Majin: ho ho ho ho ho ho

Tepeu and Majin both develop during the game. Tepeu levels up a la RPG style. You defeat enemies and open certain chests to get experience points to level up. You increase your strength and stamina and also earn occasional new titles. As for Majin, he develops his basic stats through the story by consuming different kinds of fruits that you can find along or out of your way. You have to feed him certain fruits to make him grow stronger in certain directions. I do enjoy the fact that when you found a new piece of fruit, the Majin will beam with excitement waiting for you to feed him. Together, Tepeu and Majin will develop their trust through friendship levels. Friendship levels are developed through the use of combination and finish attacks. Each successful attack will yield you red shards for friendship development. The stronger the trust the more powerful your combination attacks become and also Majin will be able to get you to higher places, heal you much faster, replenish his magic much quicker etc. If you are a perfectionist who wants to unlock every single ability on offer, this seemingly short game can become a time grinder for you.

The landscape in Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is huge. In 1080i full HD, you are treated with a variety of finely crafted landscapes and dungeons. Each area offers a different feel, be it a river valley, a crystal mine or an abandoned town ran over by nature. Graphics were lushed and detailed most of the time. However there were occasions that the game exhibited frame rate issues, for example when you are battling waves of enemies. Camera angles are surprisingly well handled in the game. There will be odd moments that you wonder where you are such as when you are battling hordes of enemies in narrow corridors with the Majin. However, with the huge Majin following you everywhere, it is not easy to deal with the camera angles. Nonetheless, the game was built in a way that whenever there is a possibility that Majin could block you view, he will immediately turn transparent leaving only two small yellow lights – his eyes – floating behind you to let you find your way.

Majin: Wow me like the kingdom

The major let down of the game is no doubt the voice overs. By this I don’t mean Tepeu or Majin (although there were occasions I wish the Majin would shut up too, but on the whole he’s pretty cute), but the animal companions. Voice overs for these animals sound so budget that you feel like they just grabbed a few persons off a random bus stop and put them into the studio. Expressions were exaggerated; pitch of voice can break glasses; and the complete lack of emotion just makes me want them to be destroyed by the enemies. The thing is they usually provide useful hints or warnings, so you can’t really miss them. But then when you need to put up with these bad voice overs for around 20 hours of gameplay, this is really a test of patience.

Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is not without flaws, but it is a rare game that managed to put together an interesting story with skilfully stylised graphic style and a great score. Gameplay is balanced and the difficulty is just right for people to enjoy with sufficient challenge, with minimal frustration. Camera angle handling is one of the best in the recent years among peers of its genre. My only advice to Game Republic and Bandai Namco is to spend a bit more time in acquiring good voice actors for the game. If you haven’t tried this game, it’s a recommended purchase.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

About the Author

Level up freak. Level 99 is a norm not a goal. Love my JRPGs and RPGs in general. Also love my platformers and puzzle games. Was addicted to Zoo Keeper, Magnetica, Animal Crossing, Disgaea DS, Dragon Quest IX and White Knight Chronicles. Prefer to spend my time away from gaming as an actor although do have a full time job that keeps my mortgage going. But generally love anything creative. And if anyone tells you gaming is a waste of time, tell them you have great eye, hand and brain coordinations that they will never have!