ByÂ Brett CockingÂ
Its not very often, the chance comes along to play the side of evil, to see the world from their point of view. In overlord you get this chance by taking control of a very Sauron-esque overlord who, instead of searching for little people with furry feet and a ring, takes control of his minions and uses them in an attempt to rebuild his tower while committing some dastardly deeds along the way. While it looks as though the developers really enjoyed the Lord of the Rings trilogy and may have got some of their design characters from middle earth the storyline manages to set it apart from everything else.
When the story begins you are resurrected by a bunch of your minions and off the bat you are introduced to the humorous dialogs that continue for the entire game. You are also eased into the controls by a series of tutorials which will have you reeking havoc in no time. One of the gripes I had immediately was the fact that you couldn’t manually control the camera and at times are left running in circles to try and get the camera to the view you want. From the first moment you enter the world, many things become apparent to you, from the to the mischievous nature of your minions. The mini map is also a nice addition as you aren’t left running around like a headless chicken. You quickly come to realise that in order to succeed you have to take the role of supervisor and make your minions do all the work while you stand around looking as scary as possible.
The spells you can cast come in handy but they are not really necessary until later on in the game. While the game starts off fairly simple with some puzzles which are hardly apparent and enemies who are easily dispatched with, the strategy soon kicks in when you start to gain control of different colour minions who each have special abilities, reds with the ability to put out fires, greens with a very handy stealth ability and blues who can revive each other and swim. The different classes really come into their own in the latter part of the game when you can stand on the high ground and use your minions abilities to quickly and easily dispatch with enemies. This helps as you aren’t blessed with a huge amount of life. Problems do arise though when your more valued minions die, replenishing brown minions is easy as life orbs are easily gained from quickly killing a couple sheep while the reds, blues and greens require you to kill fire, water and swamp creatures, this leads to you trying to figure out better strategies and better ways to keep your more valued minions alive.
Occasionally the game can get very frustrating and tedious, especially when you are attempting certain tricky areas and your minions manage to get themselves killed while they are goofing off, being able to control you minions with just the right analog stick is great for keeping your minions in order however it isn’t always the most sensitive and you occasionally manage to walk your minions into the gas or fire, killing them. There also seems to be a lack of autosave points which means, should you die, you have to replay a bit too much and this can lead to monotony. Throughout the game I had this nagging feeling that the quests I was completing weren’t in fact that evil, most of the time was spent helping villagers. Ransacking houses and killing few sheep is not exactly something to make you break out into evil laughter. There are a few occasions where you have a choice on whether to kill an innocent or to save him however they are so few and far between that your inner evil will remain untapped for the majority of the game and your evil laugh will be unutilised. The levels are full of bright vibrant colours, this coupled with the great sound effects and voice acting makes the game very pleasing on the senses. There is nothing like feeling the vibration in your chest as you shoot a fireball at a field of grass and hearing the enemies screaming
Singleplayer is very comprehensive and really enjoyable, plus the additional levels the xbox version didn’t have make for a rather lengthy and enjoyable play through. The game also has two multiplayer modes. Co-op, which lets you team up with a friend and take on some enemies while versus has you play against another overlord and see who can kill the most enemies are get the most gold. While both provide something different from the singleplayer, they feel like an afterthought and unless you play with a friend, finding people to play can be a rather tricky affair.
All in all, overlord is a really enjoyable game and doesn’t require too much concentration, it will have you laughing the whole way through. The levels are really well put together and the sound and voices are really good, this is enough to overshadow the times of frustration and occasional tediousness of some of the quests. The minions antics are also able to keep the game light hearted and help you forget the real lack of evil doings.Â
Gameplay: 7/10 (humourous but not evil enough)
Presentation: 8/10 (Bright Vibrant colours)
Sound: 8/10 (sound effects and voice top notch)
Value: 6/10 (one play through is all you can really do)
Overall: 7/10 (Still real good fun)
Better Than:Â 360 version
Worse than: Having your own minions
Last Updated: July 10, 2008