Overlord II Review
- Posted July 9th, 2009 at 18:33 EDT by Steven Williamson
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Wickedly funny and diabolically evil, Overlord II may not be a true evolution of the fantasy series, but it still offers a refreshingly entertaining gaming experience.
- The humorous script and funny behavior of the minions
- Destroying everything in sight
- Seeing our wealth grow and customizing our fortress
- The confusing map design
- Having to gradually unlock the minion classes
- The eye-aching visuals
You wouldn’t want to come face-to-face with a minion. These horrible Gremlin-like critters have appalling manners, dreadful attitudes and a serious problem controlling their violent tempers. They’ll quite happily stab you in the back, ransack your house, urinate on your head and then run off cackling in delight at their evil deeds. Thankfully in Overlord II, you don’t need to fear these nasty creatures because you’re their boss. In the role of their incredibly evil master you can order these horrible little critters around to carry out all sorts of wicked deeds on your behalf. As an Overlord you have just one objective in life: to rise to power, accumulate wealth beyond your wildest dreams and destroy anything that stands in your way.
It will come as no surprise that the gameplay in Overlord II, the sequel to Codemaster’s fantasy adventure, is identical to its predecessor, though a few new features and enhancements make it more than just a glorified expansion pack. Steeped in black humor, and with tongue firmly planted in cheek, this action/strategy hybrid once again puts you in control of an Overlord, the son of the previous Overlord no less. With the Glorious Empire currently in control and on the hunt to destroy anyone who shows any sign of possessing magical powers, the Overlord sets his organized legions of minions to scupper their plans and take over the Netherworld.
Though the unique blend of action and strategy gameplay has been seen before in the last game in the series, Overlord: Raising Hell, it still feels freshly entertaining in Overlord II. Uniquely, the camera sits behind the Overlord throughout the game and you can control him with the left analogue stick, while using the right stick to command your Minions, switching between different classes to send them off to attack a range of fantasy creatures in sweeping formations, or to collect life-force or Netherworld objects to swell your wealth.
The strategic layer to the gameplay in Overlord II comes in the form of controlling four minion types, or classes: brown fighters, green assassins, red archers and blue healers. Each group has its own unique abilities and can therefore be used tactically to take advantage of their strengths. Commanding your minion hordes to kill, maim and destroy everything in your path can be extremely satisfying. These critters animate superbly well, entertainingly so, as they pull huge Yeti's apart and ransack buildings with fury. The quirky voice-work and actions of the minions can also be very funny. Seeing them smash up a bar, drink the ale and then urinate over everything in sight is just one of the humorous highlights. Despite the behavior of the minions sometimes crossing the line between humor and bad taste (clubbing baby seals to death anyone?) there’s a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments in a well-written script, penned by the acclaimed fantasy writer, Rhianna Pratchett. Though the storyline focuses on the rise of the Overlord, it's the minions that are truly the stars of the show.
The minions are simple to control and react to your commands very well, allowing you to easily sweep the creatures and send them scuttling off to the exact spot that you wanted them to go, or switch classes swiftly. Impressively, the Minions usually do exactly what you require of them, so the path-finding issues that cropped up in the previous game have thankfully been eliminated. There is, however, a question mark over how well the skills of the various classes have been used throughout the game. Generally, it doesn't take much working out to decide which class to choose for a particular task because you're guided through the game a little too much rather than be left to your own devices. Furthermore, the fact that you gradually unlock the different minion types as you progress means that you never get to really take full advantage of their skills and micro-manage as much as we would have liked. Disappointingly, you don't unlock the final minion type until towards the end of the game. Overall, we were slightly disappointed that Overlord II features a number of ideas re-used from the previous game and that the potential of the minions hasn't truly been taken ... (continued on next page) ----
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