Overlord Xbox 360 Review

June 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Overlord may allow you to play as a baddie, but whilst slaying sheep and taking over the world is pretty nasty business, rescuing people and doing other good deeds is certainly not, it’s just far too pleasant for an apparent cruel bad guy.

The game has two alignments evil and very evil, but, in spite of the Overlord’s ultimate ambition, the game might as well have stuck with plain old good and evil. If you kill innocent people you’re very evil, but if you help them out, you might as well be a generic hero from any number of fantasy themed games, but still somehow manage the title of evil. That’s false advertising right there.

Overlord is a blend of strategy and adventuring, with perhaps the closest comparisons being Pikmin and Fable. The former because of the strategy elements, which has you ordering some amusing little creatures around and the latter because of its beautiful, dreamy look (Fable with some anti aging cream rubbed on, if you will) and to a lesser extent, its fun sense of humour.

Your predecessor was killed by heroes and his tower left in ruins. You’re his replacement and it’s your job to start off where he left off, attempting to take the world as your own and rebuild your crumbling tower.

Whilst you may very well begin with a hefty axe and soon get hold of some offensive magic, very rarely will you have to get your hands dirty with this world domination business, thanks to the loyal servants that are your minions. These little guys are your main weapon in combat, can get to areas that your large armour clad body can’t and are intelligent enough to bring you, their master, items back. The minions are even clever enough to equip weapons and armour for themselves, some of which, like the pumpkin helmets are purely for laughs.

You’ll begin the game with just brown minions, which are the most proficient fighters. But later you’ll take command of reds, which are archers, greens that can quietly take care of enemies and finally blues, which act as healers. Each minion type have their own corresponding coloured barriers to destroy, and it’s up to you to place each of these different classes in the right location during a skirmish, where they can play to their strengths, for example placing reds at higher points, where they can rain their fire down on enemies. Thankfully the controls for ordering around your mini army are accessible, allowing you to concentrate on fighting your opponents rather than unwieldy controls.

Early on in the game, after finding a certain item for your tower you’ll gain the ability to craft new weapons and armour and upgrade existing equipment, done so by sacrificing some of your poor minions. The effects differ based on the types of minions sacrificed, for example sacrificing the fire type will imbue your weapon with fire properties. We imagine that many an RPG fan will have plenty of fun experimenting with this.

Other activities can be done in your tower, such as taking part in the battle arena, which comes in useful for not just simply learning the strengths and weakness of previously defeated enemies, but also for getting weapons and armour for your loveable army, as well as attaining extra essence, which is required to summon them. With gold earned by defeating enemies or smashing objects up, you can also do some cosmetic changes to your grand tower, which is a pleasant touch.

The single player aspect is easily the highlight of the package. However there are some pretty enjoyable online modes in there, which have the same emphasis on strategy as the main game. Sadly they do feel a little tacked on though, but are a nice little bonus all the same.

The only real problems with the game as a whole are the lack of an in game map and the fact that, as you advance through the game repetition can begin to set in, but otherwise Overlord is a winning concoction of strategy and adventure, which should be played by fans of both genres.