Majestic Nights – Preview
Follow Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller, Episodic
Developer: Epiphany Games
Publisher: Epiphany Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, iOS, Android tablets
Tested on: PC
Release date: Q4 2014

Majestic Nights – Preview

Good: Original but difficult and sensitive subject to tackle
Bad: Slow and choppy animations, mini-games consist of one type so far
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Majestic Nights is brought to us by the Australian based developers of Epiphany Games, whom you might know from their previous titles Frozen Heart and Runic Rumble. Unlike their better known titles, Majestic Nights is not an RTS or RPG video game. Instead, Majestic Nights is an episodic action adventure game with a notch of the thriller genre embedded, set in an alternate version of the 80s where all the known conspiracy theories from the past and the present are very much real.

MajesticNights_Logo

First things first, this preview is based on Chapter Zero: Sunset After Dark which acts as both a prologue and a short chapter for the first season of Majestic Nights. Additionally, I’m going to mention that the prologue is rather short and can be completed in under thirty minutes. Furthermore, the prologue will be made free whereas the rest of the remaining six chapters will be paid.

In Chapter Zero you have control over John Cardholder, a (former) intelligence operative who’s set to unravel the mystery of the disappearance of a famous film director who claimed he had proof that the moon landing was indeed a hoax carefully crafted by the government. You will travel across town, looking for clues to the whereabouts of this film director but your every move is shadowed by Agents that are looking to bring you down. The storyline is certainly there and surprisingly enough, one of the biggest conspiracy theories is being successfully tackled in the prologue. Even if you have no prior knowledge to any of these theories, the storyline is quite easy to follow – although certain scenes may leave you slightly confused.

In the next six episodes of the first season, you will be alternating between Cardholder and Cal, a female Private Investigator, every episode. Each episode will work together as a complete story, however every episode can also act as a standalone short-game with several conspiracy theories being tackled.

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The gameplay of Majestic Nights is as you would expect from an episodical game – various cut scenes are implemented where you have no control over the character while when the real action begins, you are given back control of the protagonist. The gameplay is a combination of sitting back and relaxing combined with interrogation, stealth, shootouts and small mini games. The interrogation mode is the main mode to converse with people. The game does offer multiple answers and questions but I sense that these in no way will alter the story thus it doesn’t really matter how you steer the conversation.

The stealth-mode is where the protagonist can hide in the shadows to bypass the many Agents that are after you. Additionally a crouching and cover-system is implemented which do come in handy during shootouts if the character decides to not try and shoot through a wall. Aside from that, you can ready your weapon by right clicking while shooting is done with the left click – due to this, there seems to be a pause between the actual aim and shoot during these shootouts. When you are spotted by enemies, this pause only grows larger by the game going into a slow-motion mode which tends to grow at least some frustration since aiming and shooting is already slow as it is.

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The only mini-game I have been able to encounter so far is cracking safes but all the safes I’ve been needing to crack had the combination-code written onto them which takes away the fun of cracking safes or finding clues about the code. This is said to be changed, or at least the passcodes will not always be the same all the time but if they continue the trend of having it written on the safe, it will continue to stay dull.

At first glance, the visual design of Majestic Nights seems to be a cheap knock-off from The Wolf Among Us. However, once you look at the color palette of the game, you’ll soon come to realize that it was not inspired by The Wolf Among Us but that it was inspired by games such as Hotline Miami – very cartoonish styled graphics yet with several bright colors mixed in instead of the usual saturated color palette.

The movement and other animations of the protagonist and others seem quite stiff and this may as well be one of the things that’ll make you detest the game. In addition to that, moving around can only be done via the WASD-keys but a mouse-click movement system has been requested and should be implemented as an optional mode which would make the gameplay slightly more fun – for me at least.

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Conclusion

The many conspiracy theories that can be tackled during an alternative version of the 80s seems like a good concept and in the prologue they seem to successfully tackle one of the greatest theories. The animations feels slow and choppy and the visual design is certainly not its strongest suit either but I feel that the greatest asset of Majestic Night is truly the many plots in its storyline. As the prologue can be completed in under thirty minutes, I’m curious to see the length of the actual episodes.

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Drydwen
Drydwen


Hi! I'm Jess and I’m a writer, dreamer and gamer at heart since the early ages. I primarily game on PC but occasionally also on PS4 and Xbox One. I have a tiny obsession for World of Warcraft and caterpillars but you may also claim I have a devoted passion for the gaming industry in general. If you want to hit me up, find me on twitter!

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