Let minions do the hard work, so you don’t have to
Don’t you just get sick of being the good guy? Find yourself tearing down the streets of Liberty City slamming into random civilians, hoping to find a woman with a pram? Did you constantly fire at your own teammates in Left 4 Dead just to steal their supplies? Wish there was an option in Fable 2 where you could nuke the whole of Albion? If so, you’re evil, evil scum. But don’t worry, Codemasters are giving you the chance to live our your devilish dreams in Overlord.
You play an Overlord, recently brought back from the grave by a group of minions, hoping for you to lead the way in a wave of evil and destruction across the land. In terms of back story, that’s about it really, but it’s not really needed. The main focus of the game is to let everyone in the world fear your name.
You cannot do this alone however, and that’s where your little minions come in. These guys are creatures which you can summon from unusual gaping holes in the ground in four different varieties; Brown, a basic minion that smacks anything in it’s path; Red minions which hurl fire at enemies from afar and run through fire; Green minions which run through gas and Blue, who run through water and resurrect dead minions. The control system for this game is actually very simple to use, considering you must control both your character and an army of Pokemon misfits. The left stick allows your character to walk, whilst the right analogue stick controls the mass of minions around corners and directing to enemies.
However, it’s not flawless. No matter how hard you try to control these guys, there’s always one which ends up throwing themselves in a river or running into ogres, begging to get a smacking. This is a problem which doesn’t really bother you, until you notice that your army is depleting rapidly due to the stupidity of some of these fellas.
you move about as fast as a Kinder Egg being pushed by an ant
Things get worse later on. When you eventually get the chance to control all 4 types of minion, you can never get them all to do exactly what you wish them to do. Some will follow you when you want them to stay, others will run like cowards instead of attack, and the rest will jump of a cliff. The A.I. is really something that makes this game suffer.
For a terrifying Overlord such as yourself though, you should be able to survive on your own, right? No. Press a button and you swing your weapon. Press another and you’ll unleash a petty spell. That’s it. If you do decide to run away, expect to be chased down by your enemies because you move about as fast as a Kinder Egg being pushed by an ant. Your health seems to disappear from a few insect bites (OK, they’re fairly big insects, but still…), and in order to gain more you must sacrifice ‘precious’ minions.
There is a bit of hope for you. The game allows you to form upgraded form of your weapons and armour, yet this forces you to sacrifice HUGE amounts of ‘precious’ minions, leaving you weaker than ever. It’s like building a faulty see-saw. The gameplay difficulty never really manages to balance itself out.
Locations are very big and nice to look at, yet filled with so many basic and repetitive puzzles that you are praying for the end of them at some point soon, yet it just presents a case of level overkill and makes you plod along for a further hour. The game tries to add a cool little personalisation tweak to the game by allowing you to build up and design the banners of your evil headquarters, but it really isn’t enough.
At best, Overlord will put a small grin on your face for a while, but unless you particularly enjoy mindless repetitive violence you should give this a miss. Although what do I know, I’m a little angel…
The Bad: Minions seem to enjoy screwing up, Repetitive levels and missions, Lacks a decent fighting system