The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Some stories are eternal. Legends like Homer’s epic poems, Aesop’s
fables, or Grimm’s fairy tales have infected our pop culture to such a
degree that you probably know the details of their stories even if
you’ve never read them. As the ages have marched on, however, countless
other tales have been carried away by the wind. Majin will likely float
away before long, and its redemptive story about a corrupted land will
eventually be forgotten, which is a shame, because parts of Majin are
This fable begins with an idyllic kingdom – a
land that flourished for centuries until a dark tar began to seep out
from the royal castle. Overnight the mighty civilization was swallowed
by the dark. Tainted warriors rose up out of the ground, consuming the
kingdom and its inhabitants. Only a few roving bands survived in the
bordering wastelands. One day, a young boy with the ability to talk to
animals decided to sneak back into the heart of darkness and unchain the
world’s only remaining hope: a gigantic protector called the Majin.
story of Majin is epic in concept alone, it’s unfortunate that some of
its storytelling elements aren’t as refined as we’ve come to expect from
modern narration. The main protagonist doesn’t have much personality,
merely reacting to events as he is carried forward. I never got a sense
for who he was or why I should care about him. You spend much of the
game talking with small forest animals such as mice and birds, but the
voice acting for these creatures is so juvenile that I was reminded of a
librarian reading Fun with Dick and Jane to a group of toddlers.
aside, most of the gameplay revolves around the relationship you form
with the gigantic Majin. When you first encounter this intelligent
beast, he is weak from a century of captivity, but like a loyal pet he
follows you around and obeys your commands. As you begin to rid the
curse from the land, the Majin grows stronger and learns new abilities
that aid you in both puzzle-solving and combat. Help the Majin regain
his wind ability and he’ll blow obstructions from your path or knock
enemies off their perch with a bellow. Restore the Majin’s electrical
powers and he’ll stun enemies with lightning blasts or power electrical
devices that help you reach new areas.
The environmental puzzles
are often clever enough that solving them feels like a rewarding
achievement, but I enjoyed the light puzzle elements that seeped into
combat the most. You can charge headfirst into battles and overpower
your foes with your combined might, but that isn’t always the best
approach. It’s worth scouting areas ahead of time and laying traps for
your foes. For example, you might be able to sneak to the top of a
parapet and take out a few archers from behind, then lure the remaining
foes into a canyon where your Majin is waiting to roll a boulder over
Majin reminds me of the companion adventures in games
like Ico. The notable difference here is that you are the weaker
entity. This is a dynamic you’ll appreciate all the more during the
brief sequences you have to separate from the Majin. While you might
take on a dozen enemies or so as a team, fighting more than two foes by
yourself is a trial. Sneaking becomes very important once you crawl into
environments that the Majin can’t access, and while the enemy pathing
is relatively basic and the AI immediately forgets about you once you
are out of eyesight, these sequences provide a nice change of pace from
the rest of the game.
Like an ancient manuscript from a bygone
era, some moments feel like they were designed two console generations
ago. The world is laid out on a giant grid, so the environment feels
fairly artificial and lacks a certain amount of believability. There is
also a fair amount of backtracking, and the game doesn’t always point
you in the right direction, which is more annoying when you accidentally
leave one area for a few seconds only to come back and find that the
enemies you just beat have magically returned. If these kind of ancient
gaming weaknesses don’t bother you, then Majin will deliver an
experience that you won’t soon forget – even if the rest of the world
Email the author Ben Reeves, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.