Video games have been trying to figure out morality for a very long time, but few have been successful in their attempts. Overlord II has the morality, but it’s done differently in this game; you have to be a bad guy, that’s just who you are, so instead of choosing between good and evil you are given the choice of being evil, or very evil. One example of this morality in action is when you are given the chance to either enslave a town and its citizens or kill them all and burn the village to the ground. It all boils down to how wicked and screwed up you are (after playing this game I’ve discovered that I am indeed a greatly disturbed person). So is Overlord II worth your hard earned money? I recommend you read my review to find out.
There are two things you’ll immediately notice after booting up this game: the first is its excellent sense of humor, which is carried throughout the game in various ways. This is a game with an excellent personality; the quirky dialogue and highly unusual characters you’ll run across all make this game extremely entertaining. Some of the more memorable characters include the Hippie Elves. It’s such an obvious connection I’m surprised it hasn’t been made before (or perhaps it has and I missed it), the Elf and the Hippie. Other memorable characters in the game include the Fairy ladies who have rather voluptuous bosoms, the adorable gnomes who have a love for treasure and can’t be more than a foot high, and the Troll who has one of the largest behinds I’ve ever seen on a video game character.
The second thing you’ll notice when you first start playing are the game’s excellent visuals and art style. This is a fantasy game, which usually means you’ll be traversing extraordinary worlds, and Overlord delivers in spades. Not only does the game look excellent, but the worlds are also tremendously vibrant and colorful. You’ll be exploring plenty of forests and snowy landscapes that Overlord manages to make its own. My only issue with a handful of levels, more specifically your base of evil operations, is they can be easy to get lost in, especially if you aren’t sure what you’re supposed to be doing (this happened to me more than once, but I’ll admit I’ve never been accused of having even a passable sense of direction.
At first glance, Overlord looks like another fantasy adventure game, but it actually has quite a bit of depth and customization. There are some RPG (and even some RTS) elements that definitely add to the game’s overall replayability. You can customize your crib, as well as your character’s armor and spells. Because each minion offers different strengths and weaknesses (for example, a fire minion doesn’t have much health so it’s better at long range), combating enemies requires a higher level of strategy rather then simply sending out all your minions, which definitely won’t work against tougher foes. Speaking of various minion types, once you find them all you’ll have four different kinds at your disposal: browns are your basic soldier type, reds throw fire from a distance, greens are very sneaky, and blues are the healers. In a new addition to the series, now your minions can ride various mounts (like wolves) to make them even more deadly.
This is an excellent game with a few surprising problems, the biggest of which would be the game’s camera. At times the camera can be extremely wonky, and even though you are given full control of it, sometimes the camera just doesn’t want to cooperate. Another big problem I constantly came across was when I would send out my minions only to see a few of them get stuck on various objects in the world. No matter how many times I called them they just wouldn’t come forcing me to walk up to them so they would return. Overall, Overlord has very few noticeable bugs, but these two came up more than once.
The gameplay and control are very polished, intuitive, and (mostly) responsive. I say mostly because one of the most annoying parts of the game (a section that comes up more than once) is when you are forced to manually guide your army towards a specific destination. Guiding them by hand (or controller in this case) can be terribly frustrating. Other than that though, the controls are easy to learn, and for those who want to be able to perform more complex moves and strategies, there are plenty of moves and button combinations to keep you entertained while the rest of us enjoy our simple X, X, X combo.
Even though the characters you meet are oftentimes quite amusing, the animations are usually fairly bizarre. I realize the developer did this on purpose, but most of the time it just doesn’t look right when characters are flailing around dramatically. My last issue with the game (then I promise I’ll go back to the good stuff), this time with the dialogue, is that it repeats. Often. When you have a specific task you need to complete in order to proceed to the next objective, the same line of dialogue (telling you what to do) tends to repeat again and again. While many games do this to make sure the player doesn’t get lost, some of the time this one line will just keep repeating itself without much pause. This got exceptionally bothersome.
Now back to praising the game. For a game with a remarkably good single player campaign, there are quite a few options for those who wish to play with others. The game offers the options to play online or on a single console using split-screen. The latter includes four game modes to choose from that consists of two cooperative modes and two competitive modes. The two competitive maps are Pirate Blunder and Dominate: Pirate Blunder has you racing against your opponent to get as much gold as you can, while in Dominate you have to control as many zones as you can (and the zones give your minions bonuses). The two cooperative maps are Arena and Invasion; in Arena you and your friend have to survive as long as possible, and in Invasion you team up to invade and conquer. All this greatly improves Overlord’s already massive replayability, and never did I think these modes were tacked on (which is all too common in many single-player centric titles).
Never has pillaging and murdering countless citizens been so fun, and so funny. I love games that let me be the bad guy, and Overlord lets you do all that and more. With excellent characters, a remarkably good musical score, and plenty of expansive environments to explore and conquer, this is a must-have for any gamer. But I’ve saved the best thing for last: not only can you be a total badass with an entire army at your disposal, but you also get to have mistresses! If that’s not enough to get you to give this game a chance I don’t know what is.