PS3 Preview – Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom
At an event in New York City showcasing Namco-Bandai’s upcoming games a few weeks ago, I was expecting to see big budget, heavily promoted games like Splatterhouse and Enslaved. As soon as I entered the room, however, another title caught my eye: Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, developed by Game Republic, who previously made the PS3 exclusive Folklore. The game appeared to be a fantasy take on what a wasteland could look like, and watching a young boy work together with an ogre-like Majin was actually pretty compelling.
Though Majin is a single-player game, the focus of the gameplay is on working cooperatively. A young human male, the protagonist, teams up with the aforementioned Majin to explore the fallen empire a century after the collapse of civilization. A combination of combat, puzzle solving, and platforming meld together in this action adventure game, with each of the characters having his own unique skill set. The main character is light on his feet, and can squeeze into places his ogre friend cannot, but he’s certainly not strong enough to lift boulders or gates, or take down epically large foes. That’s where Majin comes in, and each cannot get by without the other’s help.
What was really memorable about my short time with Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom wasn’t actually the gameplay, but the personality that both characters, especially Majin, showed. There were humorous moments as Majin scratched his rear end, looking on as he waited for his next instructions. His dialogue was endearing, even though he couldn’t complete coherent sentences, and watching him communicate with the main character was enjoyable. Many games in the genre have used similar gameplay mechanics, so Majin needs something more to stand out, and the giant lovable ogre might just be it.
With a release date of winter 2010, Majin could use a little polishing, but seemed pretty far along. Like Folklore, I think Majin has the possibility to become an under-the-radar hit, but it could surprise everyone and become an even bigger deal for Game Republic. It has plenty of charm and interesting gameplay, so the potential for a memorable winter title is definitely there. The only question that remains is whether or not Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom will get lost in the holiday shuffle, or manage to stand out amongst all of the triple-A releases that the end of the year is known for.