If it's crap ... We'll tell you
If you've been around long enough to remember what gaming was like on the original PlayStation, you'll recall a time when many games were basic adventure brawlers. Think of the original Tomb Raider. Lara Croft would move boulders around, jump into gun fights, and spend time pulling levers to open doors and avoid obstacles. Many developers saw the sweeping success of that title, and followed up with title after title of their own that followed the same sort of mechanics, for better or worse. There were dozens of games that involved pushing square blocks onto floor levers that opened doors, and filling rooms with water so you could swim to a higher platform. The PlayStation One days saw a lot of this style of play.
After awhile, gamers appetite for such titles ebbed as they searched for new experiences on their platform of choice, and the adventure brawler title faded into obscurity. Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom brings back that old school gaming feel, for better or worse, and does so in a gorgeous package of high definition graphics and tight game play mechanics with a decent story line that is plagued with some shoddy voice acting and areas with uninspired puzzles mixed in with an abundance of clever ones.
Majin are giant golem like creatures that like to eat a lot, sleep alot, and also happen to be really powerful. Unfortunately, the one Majin still left to help the world from the powers of darkness is trapped inside a fortress and you have to go find him. You play the role of Tepeu, a thief who rescues (Unless you completely suck at video games and can't manage the first chapter of the game) the Majin. Together, you form a team to battle through the puzzles and darkness, much like every other adventure brawler. Except in this case, the power of darkness is REALLY the power of darkness, and the monsters are actually darkness incarnate. Imagine a creature made of tar, that's the darkness creature.
Eventually the competition gets more difficult as the creatures become tougher, and you have to deliver some food to the Majin to keep his health up. The animals, unfortunately, just become useless things like birds and sea otters that couldn't defeat a teddy bear army let alone the power of darkness. Majin also gets tougher and employs more powers as the game continues and the story unfolds. This is a game that takes awhile to get going, but can be satisfying if you're patient enough to wait through all the training like moments. The voice acting can really turn off a more picky gamer, especially in the opening chapter of the game. My best advice to you, is to stick with it, it pays off.
The bad part about this game, is that the Majin is required to kill everything in the game. You can help, but you can never really kill anything on your own. So you're basically just there for some moral support, to give the Majin commands, and to open doors and figure out puzzles for him. Combat is mainly you helping out, but staying out of the way at the same time. That isn't to say you just run away from the happenings in battle. You are involved, it's just that you never get the satisfaction of killing off an enemy on your own, it always requires the Majin to be there.
I've never been a fan of games that I watch things happen in. If there is to be combat, I want to be in the combat, not watching it unfold. For that, I could pop in a movie and watch Bruce Willis run around firing slugs into Wilford Brimley. But with Majin, I am little more than a helpful assistant and so the game loses some points from me on that. At times I felt a little bored with what was happening. Never a good sign with a full priced title.
Still, the game looks nice, and Bandai apparently realized that the game might not be worth a full $60, especially during this holiday time, and launched it at a very appealing $39.99 price point.
With a price like that, and the look of this game being so strikingly good, it's a great deal. Yes, it's not going to be something new and revolutionary in terms of game play. But neither was Black Ops and still 40 million people bought it. Instead, what you have here is a return to classic adventure brawl game play in a nice affordable package with hours and hours of game play and a satisfying story. It may seem a bit "kiddy" at times, but the T rating is there for a reason. (Though I doubt anyone would deny their 11 year old a play, as it's nothing that shocking going on here.)
At $39.99, it's worth a full price purchase. If you have doubts, pick it up as a rental, and play it for more than the first chapter to get a feel for the whole game. My guess is, you'll probably find it cheaper even in the wild, and so for this price, it's worth getting.