Review Xbox 360: Overlord 2

You fancy yourself as an evil overlord? Babes and minions sound like your sort of style? Then look no further, the dark overlord returns in the sequel to this dark and humorous tale of world domination.

Overlord is a third person adventure game with light puzzle and strategy element’s and also a lot of humour, the aim of the game is to retake the netherworld and continue your evil deeds to dominate the world above. When you begin the game you won’t start as the overlord but a small powerful minion this is the start tutorial, the tutorial is laid out much better than the first title and getting to grips with the basic commands and controls was easy and enjoyable, it also doesn’t throw too many features your way early on in the game as you control minions and remembering the other minion features and controls can be a little tricky to begin with.

The tutorial will give you a taste of most of the features above ground like harvesting cute creatures to raise your minions from the netherworld, it also gives you a feel for the puzzles you will face. You will be given a couple of small quests to complete and after this more background story will be given to you, it’s not majorly important as the game itself is self explanatory but story scenes are completed to an acceptable standard. There is some extra story detail in the sequel which helps add to the overlord universe and the extra look into the creatures that inhabit this world also helps create a better start to this formula of game.

After this you will gain control of the big man himself and I noticed some nice progression with the overlord, he looks extra evil with a slight limp and slant to the way he walks, also his animations are alot smoother and detailed which is good to see work going into this to give you a much more of a improved dark and powerful feel to the overlord. After a small quest you will unlock the netherworld once again, here you can do things like forge weapons, check out your babes and upgrade your tower however it does seem a little hard to navigate at times until you get used to where everything is but expect to take the wrong lift every now and again. A new feature to the netherworld is the Hive interfaces/barracks, here you can check your minions’ stats and see how they progress in level and title as they get stronger as you use them. The netherworld has been given a major face lift and it all pretty much works the same but the underground seems more like a full evil world than just a single tower like in the first title which is a great improvement.

After all this you are into normal game play, you can start to wander round above and below ground yourself to find secrets and upgrades, also collecting gold to upgrade your tower to keep your wenches happy. Here I will go into some of the game play aspects, for example your four different types of minion and other things you will come into contact with during game play.

Minion Types

Browns: The Fighters

Your brown minions are your all round fighters and are able to take more damage than any other minion. They deal a moderate amount of damage but are frontline fighters, good at holding up enemies and blocking them into a corner. Brown also can equip random items found around on the surface and can ride mounts, they’ll utilize anything, from the nearly useless items such as funny hats and ear warmers to more powerful and serious weaponry. These are my favourite minions for the simple fact they are the most fun to control and utilize.

Reds: The Archers

Reds are linked with the plane of fire and can throw balls of fire from a distance. They are immune to fire damage and can quench flames to proceed further or unlock areas to explore. Keep reds out of melee obviously as they’re supposed to be used from a distance and are poor in hand to hand combat.

Greens: The Assassins

Green minions love poison and are immune to it. As assassins they can cloak when placed on a guard marker, opening up strategy oppotunites. They prefer to strike from behind, unnoticed, as green minions aren’t incredibly tough, but their stealthy strikes can do a lot more damage than your brown minion. They are the best at attacking larger and stronger enemies but they need to attach themselves onto the back of your target for their attacks to be 100% effective.

Blues: The Healers

The more fish like minion are the most mysterious, they aren’t fighters but can turn the tide of battle using their unique skills. Not like the other minions blues can swim and can swiftly move through hordes of enemies unharmed, last but not least blues can resurrect fallen minions making blues a rather valuable minion asset.

There are a few more direct commands for minions other than just sweeping them around with the Right analogue stick, as controlling up to four different types could be tricky. Holding the Right Bumper button will bring up your minion select panel, your minion select panel makes your evil life a lot easier and after bringing this menu up you can select any one type of minion, this menu helps no end when setting up attack strategies. To select all of your minions again press the RB button once, press twice to call only your mounted minions then a third press for only non mounted minions to be selected, these commands may seem a little complicated at first but after an hour of play they become second nature.

As your overlord grows in power more minions can be used at once, making large numbers of each minion eventually available to you which can provide some good game play. To spawn minions you must have the right life force to support them, to collect life force you must kill living creatures, this is a very enjoyable but cruel feature from the first title and I’m pleased to say there are more cute creatures to mame and kill. You must however have the right colour life force to spawn the corresponding minion, killing different creatures in other parts of the world will give you the other coloured life force you need to spread the minion love. Obviously your minions are very important to overlord life and are brought to life with little funny but rude animations, they like to get drunk if you let them and they also provide entertainment as you travel around the game with their cheeky barbaric banter. When you do reach maximum level of minions and have them all with you combat can become very confusing and hard to keep organised, this is a problem from the first title and the fact this game has a lot of random objects and trees cramped into small areas doesn’t help, this can become a disadvantage when fighting enemies as weaker minions can get killed easily if you can’t see them too well.

Your minions aren’t the only things that can cause heaps of destruction, you the mighty overlord can dish out the pain as well. It’s good to see the overlord is more powerful, you control the flea riddled minions and it’s only right that you rule with a lot more power than the little beasties. Your attacks are stronger, you can attack with the A button with your weapon of choice and you can pull of a spinning attack with A + X to wipe out enemies in a 180 degree around you so you can pretty much look after yourself if needs be, you also have magic at your disposal and you can find more spells by getting your minions to carry the upgrade to a teleporter. Your overlord has a whole underground world at his finger tips, you can create stronger weapons but not just with cash like in the last title, this time you must collect other items to create equip able items which adds depth into game play as you will need to keep your eyes open for these extra items. As you progress you will look meaner and stronger and so will your minions, this is always a good thing to actually see that you’re improving and helps keep things interesting but if you were expecting anything majorly new you’re going to be disappointed as this game is just a big improvement on the first and the formula of this game can only go so far especially with the size of the areas and maps you have to play in.

What you do in the game and the way it plays is exactly the same as the first title, bar a good few improvements. This sequel is a good improvement on the best aspects of the first title almost what it was supposed be, but it is essentially more of the same. Some people will complain about this but if you wanted a different game you should buy a different game, this is a true sequel to overlord 1 and it’s good to see some good honest improvements however larger levels and different puzzles would have made the game an even better sequel and would also keep you more interested in playing it if you’ve played the first title. There hasn’t been any great improvements in level design or improvements to the graphics apart from minions and the overlord himself which makes the game look a little dated as other titles are roaring ahead with fantastic visuals, this isn’t a huge problem though as the game is all about what you do and not what it looks like, but with a little more attention in this area could have given overlord 2 a more obvious improved feel. It’s not a game to rush out and buy but it’s definitely worth a play if you haven’t played the first, and even if you played the first it’s definitely worth a rent at least, the games formula is still very fun and dark but is becoming dated with lack of any other features apart from the campaign. There are also some targeting issues again, it’s tricky to get right and can become irritating when you lose minions because a feature doesn’t work how it should, also navigating around this world is still tricky not as bad as the first granted but the fact you can’t move the map or zoom in when in the stats screen just makes life harder. The game also doesn’t have a great life span, after completing the twentyish hour long single player there’s nothing to do after apart from grabbing those achievements you’ve missed, twenty hours play time though isn’t half bad for a game like this it’s just other titles with online play can offer you more to do.

The game is very enjoyable and much better this time around, a lot of minor niggles have been fixed along with a deeper and more detailed experience within the overlord’s world is now available to you. However there are problems from the first coming through into game play of the second title such as the ones I’ve mentioned above but these two problems are not ignorable, your overlord gets caught on objects and this happens too much and brings the game down, levels are too small and cramped with stuff which doesn’t help with the fact you have many minions to control, kind of spoils the minion experience for me. Other than these points its exactly the same, so if you enjoyed the first you will enjoy the second, but just like the first title don’t expect a huge deal in exciting and intriguing game play as overlord plays like an original Xbox title or PS2 title but a good one none the less.

 

Gamer Rating: 6.8

Buy, Rent or Pass: Rent

Published by: Codemasters
Developed by: Triumph Studios
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