Prior to the demo announcement yesterday, I had no idea what Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom was. After downloading and playing through the demo, it has become one of my most anticipated upcoming games. Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is an action/adventure game which takes place in a beautiful kingdom that has been overtaken by Darkness.
You play as Tepeu, a skilled thief who has snuck into the abandoned Kingdom and stumbles across a slumbering Ogre; the titular Majin of the game. They take off on an adventure to restore the Majin’s lost power to him and try to restore the Kingdom to it’s former self.
The demo begins with a short semi-animated intro telling a brief backstory of the game that I hope is much longer in the full game. It reminded me of the intro to the movie Hellboy II: The Golden Army. In fact the character and art design overall reminds me both of Guillermo Del Toro’s works on Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth, and even Mike Mignola’s designs for the Hellboy comics.
The demo starts off typically enough with an introduction to the controls, at which point the Majin tears the door off of the room you’re standing in and the two of you proceed down a ramp. You are immediately thrust into combat which is where things change from most action games you’re familiar with, as you are next to useless in a fight. This isn’t a bad thing however, because your giant pal is the exact opposite. Your main role in battle is assisting the Majin either by distracting enemies, directing his attacks and magic, and doing finishing combos on downed foes; one of which has the Majin toss you high in the air to come crashing down on your enemy!
After a few more combat sections which familiarize you with more of the controls comes the part most gamers dread hearing about; the Stealth segment. When done properly stealth in a game can be great, and thankfully Majin can count itself amongst that crowd. The “stealth” controls are very simple; press left trigger to crouch. If you successfully sneak up on an enemy you can press B to instantly kill them by piercing your spike through their back.
However this is also where one of the demo’s only faults comes into play. At one point during this section, I got caught and the enemy started to chase me. I hid around a wall a few feet away and he soon lost interest, acting as though he never saw me and returning to his patrol. Perhaps this will be improved in the main game, or maybe a reason for this attitude will be explained. Either way it’s not a very big issue.
The demo ends with a boss fight with a creature of equal size to the Majin who is accompanied by the standard enemies you’ve been fighting thus far, which makes for a very interesting and frantic battle as you try to keep the smaller fiends off of the Majin’s back while also avoiding the boss creature. After defeating the boss you’re treated to a small cinematic of your escape from the area you’re in. The game gives you a brief glimpse of things to come during this escape which made me very intrigued as to what lies ahead.
I found myself caring for the well being of this gentle giant in a way I haven’t done since Agro in Shadow of the Colossus. The Majin speaks as though he were a child, but with a stated grace and elegance that hints at a much deeper wisdom at play. Occasionally during a battle an enemy will climb on his back to attack him and he’ll cry out to you for help; the first time this happened I focused all of my energy on saving his life, and nothing was going to stop me!
The very end of the demo bookends with another semi-animated cinematic similar to the intro which begins with asking “What is the Darkness?”, and that is a question I very much want to know the answer to when Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is released on November 30th for the XBox 360 and Playstation 3.