Most people are just plain fed up of playing the hero. Slaying the monsters, protecting the land and getting the girl. But what if you were the one creating the monsters, destroying the land and kidnapping the girl. Well, Codemasters Overlord, lets you find out what it’s like.
You play The Overlord, in a Fable/Lord of The Rings-esque world. The previous Overlord was slain by a “hero” and your little minions wake you from the tomb. Your job is to bring the kingdom back to how it was before the previous Overlord was slain. So you don your helmet, armour and grab your massive axe to head out to sort out your messed up land. Of course, being evil and in charge, The Overlord isn’t one to get his hands dirty, so instead all the maiming, destroying buildings and doing all round bad deeds is left up to your Minions who are little imp like creatures.
Overlord plays much like Pikmin and you can tell that Pikmin was an influence for the game. You control your Sauron wannabe with the right analogue stick and your little minion chums with the left analogue or with the right trigger. These controls enable you to move both The Overlord and the Minions at the same time, as well as doing other actions, which is a really good move by the developers as it means you can multitask.
There are more controls than this however. Pressing A performs a devastating blow from whatever weapon The Overlord is carrying, whereas pressing X unleashes a range of spells. By holding down B, you are able to call back all your minions back to you. Y lets you place a guard maker down which makes the minions hold at that position.
The Overlord has 4 sets of little critters to use. The Brown Minions are the first set you gain access to. These are the all round fighters that like nothing more than starting a fight and scavenging weapons. When a Brown finds something that can be used as a weapon or armour, they’ll pick it up and use it. Occasionally, after smashing up some pumpkins, will take a pumpkin and stick it on their head as a helmet, which made me crack up every time I saw a little minions with a pumpkin on it’s head. Next are the Reds. These are extremely weak up close, so you’re better off keeping them near the back of the fight to shoot powerful fireballs at the enemies. The Reds are immune to fire so are able to walk through unharmed and are also able to get rid of fire altogether. Then the Greens. Greens are able to withstand poison and are also very good at stealth attacks, turning invisible. Lastly, the Blues. The Blues are resistant to water, can heal other minions and also perform other magic. Flicking between the different groups of minions is easy. By holding the right bumper and pressing either A, X, B or Y depending on which minion group you want, you can flick between them all. However, this is slightly annoying when your in the heat of battle and need to access a certain minion type. You will need to know how to use your minions well, otherwise you won’t last a minute.
Near the end of the game, you are able to control a horde of 50 of the little blighters, which can be used for mass destruction! Luckily, on the HUD there is a minion counters which shows how many there are in your control. Surprisingly, even with many minions on screen, there is no slow down enabling for pillaging without pauses.
As well as adding a bit of variety, the different minions are used for different puzzles. The Reds are the only ones that can clear fire, so if fire is blocking your path, you’ll need to call upon the Reds to get rid of it. However, that is about as exciting as the puzzles in Overlord get, which is highly disappointing as so much more could be done with the different powers. Also, the puzzles will cause a lot of backtracking. Some minions can only be called upon with special life force, which means you have to go search for some creatures that give off said life force.
Overlord is one of the funniest games around at the moment. With as much tongue in cheek humour as a game can take, with things such as the minion’s banter and the settings, one of them being a blatant parody of the party at the beginning of Lord of the Rings. It is extremely hard to play this game without laughing or with a smile on your face. Many fantasy games take themselves too seriously, with Cloaks of Endeavour and Shoes of Speed, but Overlord has none of that and is just packed to the brim with comedy.
Triumph Studios should be proud of what they have achieved in terms of graphics because they are gorgeous. They have successfully made a beautiful fantasy world, rich in detail. The rippling lakes, the lush fields, the gorgeous looking towns all add to the experience, making all the areas seem alive and make you want to explore more of the land.
The audio is wonderful, with a magnificent score and beautiful sound effects. However the voice acting is quite mediocre and not up to the standard of the rest of the audio.
The Multiplayer part of the game seems a bit tacked on. With not many maps or game types, it is a bit disappointing. However, the modes that are there are quite fun. They’re split into 2 bits, Co-op and Versus. In Co-op, you and another Overlord work together to defeat monsters of varying strength and survive for the longest time possible. In Versus, you have to compete against another Overlord, to gather the most money (in Pillage) or kill the most creatures (in Slaughter). The online play is only good for a quick bash if you enjoyed the single player and can be fun with a friend.
Coming out of no-where, Overlord is a real sleeper hit. With it’s luscious graphics, fantastic single player and brilliant audio, it provides a perfect experience for any who’s fed up of playing Mr. Goody Two Shoes!