Majestic Nights

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Majestic Nights Game Poster Image
Ambitious adventure flawed by poor gameplay, weak story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Ruthlessness, violent schemes, and deception are the main themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. Playable characters are more than happy to perform underhanded assignments and shoot anyone who gets in their way. 

Ease of Play

Simple gameplay, clunky controls. Camera angles complicate movement and weapon aiming.

Violence

A stealthy approach can be used, but it's easier to just shoot everyone. Lots of cartoonish enemies spray blood when shot or knifed; frequent blood splatters on walls and floors. Players encounter dead bodies on missions.

Sex
Language

Infrequent use of "damn." Infrequent and light sexually suggestive dialogue.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent mention and depiction of people drinking, using drugs, and being high, though it's shown from far away and is very cartoonish. Dialogue exchanges with a known drug dealer. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Majestic Nights is a cartoonish-looking but grim downloadable adventure game about the Cold War during the 1980s. Characters are ruthless and deceptive, planning their actions to serve their own goals and killing anyone who gets in their way. The game's visual style limits the violence from being too realistically gory, although players can shoot and stab their way through many enemies, spraying cartoonish blood everywhere. The word "damn" is used infrequently, and there's only mildly suggestive dialogue through the game. However, there's lots of drinking and drug use as well as depictions of people affected by narcotics; the impact is limited somewhat thanks to the visual style of the game. Players also have conversations with drug dealers.

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What's it about?

MAJESTIC NIGHTS is a Cold War adventure game that's broken into multiple chapters, allowing you to play numerous characters. In the prologue, you play John Cardholder, a spy involved in some of the biggest government cover-ups in history, from Area 51 to the Kennedy assassination. You start by investigating a missing film director who might have evidence related to the moon landing. During your search, you find yourself the target of a shadowy rival organization that doesn't want you to succeed. In Chapter 1, you play Cal, a female private detective who, as luck would have it, is hired to find John Cardholder, who's suddenly disappeared.

Is it any good?

Majestic Nights tries so hard but stumbles at nearly every turn, due mainly to poor presentation. The conversation about conspiracy is frequently confusing, and since you can barely tell who's talking during dialogue sequences, it's harder to understand what's going on. Even worse, the story itself is a bit of a muddle. The umpteen soldiers and guys running around in black suits make clear there's something afoot with various shady groups, but it's tough to discern their motivations. Plus, the prologue and Chapter 1 seem unrelated. Perhaps this would be less of a problem if the full game was available, but, as further chapters are still in development, it's impossible to know. 

This would be acceptable if the gameplay was great, but Majestic Nights fails there as well. The game wants you to use stealth, but clunky controls quickly put an end to that strategy; It's hard to move quickly and silently, meaning you're easily seen. But it's not hard to outrun your pursuers or eliminate them since they tend to line up nicely in doorways, enabling you to pick them off one by one. It's a shame that the story and gameplay don't support the game's graphics, because the visuals are very nice. Everything is rendered in bright colors totally appropriate to the neon-hued '80s, and the character portraits are done quite well. And, although the music doesn't often sound all that '80s, it is consistently atmospheric. Overall, Majestic Nights is a good concept with nice graphics that's undermined by poor execution that's probably not enough to justify buying further chapters when they become available.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in Majestic Nights. Is the violence in the game OK because of the cartoonish visual style, or is it still disturbing because of the blood and weapons used?

  • Talk about the Cold War. What was the Cold War, and how did it end?

  •  

  • Discuss being a spy. What do spies do, and why do governments use them? 

  • Think about how the world has changed since the 1980s. How has music changed? Fashion? Technology?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $4.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid (The prologue chapter acts as a free demo. Chapter 1 costs $4.99, and the remaining chapters will be available later, priced individually or together via a Season Pass for $19.99.)
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Epiphany Games
  • Release date: October 30, 2014
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Topics: Adventures
  • ESRB rating: NR

Themes & Topics

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