Overlord II Xbox 360 Review

May 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

As enjoyable as it was, there’s no getting away from the fact that the original Overlord wasn’t the game it so easily could have been. The strategic potential of the minions was unfulfilled and the titular Overlord didn’t have to be quite the evildoer that advertising suggested, With one of the alignments you might as well have been in charge of a benevolent hero, as opposed to a nasty and cruel being. However its sequel Overlord II is a nasty piece of work, in a good way, that is.

Those who completed the original game (those who haven’t should skip this part, well don‘t say I didn‘t warn you) will remember that the Overlord was left trapped within an abyss, though he got his mistress pregnant, producing an Overlord II (see what I did there?) It’s this little tyke, you take control of, who soon grows into a strapping and imposing Overlord ready to take on an entire empire, of which he does.

Much like the original game, a lot of the appeal of Overlord II comes from its high level of charm and, despite coming from a Dutch developer, its British style sense of humour. It’s not what I’d call hilarious, but it’s hard not to be entertained by the oddball cast of characters and the amusing antics that the minions get up to. Like the first game, this is where much of the appeal lies and quite simply, lacking its charm, it just wouldn’t be Overlord.

This isn‘t to say that Overlord II is as misleadingly nice as the original game could be. Again, there are two alignments, evil and very evil, but whereas in Overlord it was more or less a good or evil mechanic, here it functions just as it should. The evil path might have you enslaving the population of towns, whilst the eviler side, will have you killing them. Its light hearted and bloodless nature, means that it’s largely a guilt free pleasure.

Like the first game, the true stars are the loveable minions. These goblin like creatures, coming in brown (warriors), red (archers), green (ninjas) and blue (healers) varieties, are the Overlord’s army and can be commanded to do your bidding, through intuitive controls. They can get to small corners that the colossal Overlord can’t and, of course, can take down any enemy that stands in your way, without you having to lift a sword, axe or mace. Placing them on guard markers, will make them hold position, which will allow them to make the best use of their abilities, and strategic placement of them is of more importance than in the original game. They’re largely as reliable of a bunch as you’d expect loyal minions to be, though occasionally their path finding can be a cause for frustration as, at times, the little guys struggle to find their way around objects, resulting in unnecessary losses for your army.

The minions are now able to ride on mounts: Browns can ride wolves, which allow them to leap across small gaps, Greens can mount spiders, of which can be placed on walls to ambush enemies, or reach areas that anyone else isn’t able to, and Reds can hop on the back of salamanders. At certain points, you also get the chance to directly control minions by possessing them.

Town control is another new addition that allows you to enslave or kill an entire population of a town. Sadly this isn’t as wickedly enjoyable as it sounds, as to achieve this you have to hunt down all the 100 denizens of each town, which can be a tedious task. It’s optional, but there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s a real wasted opportunity, that adds little, other than frustration and tediousness to the experience.

Again, you have your very own tower where you can upgrade your army with your hard earned gold. By sacrificing minions you’re able to both buy new equipment and upgrade magic for the Overlord himself. Well kitted out minions can be revived by sacrificing their lesser buddies, and your well endowed mistresses (our Overlord is seemingly a bit of a womanizer) will also reside here, in which decorating your tower to their liking, will make them your “Special friends”.

There’s a number of bugs in Overlord II: occasionally the camera locked into unhelpful positions for me and, on one occasion, my quests disappeared from my map. These didn’t happen often enough to be of a real detriment to the game, but some unluckier people have reported some game breaking issues.

Overlord II could have done with an extra layer of polish, and the potential of controlling towns is sadly wasted, but, as a whole, the game is much truer to what many would have envisioned the first game to be upon its initial announcement. However you choose to play it, you’re a nasty piece of work, couple this with even more of an emphasis on strategy and Overlord II is a better game than the quality first effort in almost every possible way.