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Thursday | September 20, 2018
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Overlord 2 (X360 & PS3)

Overlord 2 (X360 & PS3)


Overlord was released a couple of years ago and was a big seller for Codemasters (over 1 million copies sold). It would be fair to say that there were a few issues which made the experience slightly frustrating, but all in all it was an enjoyable fantasy romp as you controlled your evil minion hordes on the path to total domination. Today we look at the much awaited follow up from developer Triumph Studios.

The basic methodology hasn’t changed, you still plunder and take control of key areas all the while dealing with various puzzles and hacking away at NPC’s. The main changes are that you are playing the child of the original Overlord and you join the game with the new ruler proving his worth then entering an initiation with the minion master, Gnarl. This slimy dude is once again your teacher and you are slowly introduced to your basic powers as well as the abilities of your merry bunch of evil cohorts.

You make a start with five brown minions who giggle and maim anything in their path by smashing heads in with any weapons they have picked up on the way. These are the melee specialists and they form the core of your forces by dealing with the up close and personal attacks. They do have weaknesses though in the form of water, toxic gas and fire. The blue, green and red minions however are still available and they are resistant to the various elements.

The controls are the same with movement being mapped to the left stick with the right stick handling camera controls for the Overlord and the ‘sweep’ functions for his minions. The methodology works great and this was never really an issue with the first however thankfully there have been some beneficial changes made to the overall flexibility of the game. The minions for instance are not quite as dumb as before and they won’t mindlessly wander into water and drown if you accidentally tell them to move a little further. Path finding has also been improved and you won’t be losing your minions in unusual circumstances – which was one of the major complaints from the fanbase with the first. If they do get trapped after a while they will teleport to their gates rather than just die.

Additional features include a new mini map which lets you know you are on the right track and removes the randomness of the original. The developers have also created mounts in the shape of giant spiders, salamanders and wolves which mean that if you are surrounded by hordes of tightly formed soldiers you can charge right through them, breaking up their ranks. There are also occasions when the mounts will let you reach off limit locations or to hit pressure plates by scaling walls (with the spiders).

Other new features include the ability to disguise your minions by getting them to wear enemy clothing and passing enemy check points unnoticed. Quite why they can’t see the little green faces is another question mind you ! This is easily implemented by sweeping the minions into changing tents which follows the overall ease of use the developers coded into the game.

There has also been the introduction of new ballista and catapult weaponry that allow you to launch rocks or wooden stakes to destroy larger groups of enemy wandering in the environment. You can even climb aboard ships and rafts in water sections to chase after fleeing soldiers while destroying their vessels.

It is now also possible to use magic on possession stones so the Overlord can possess a single minion to investigate part of the level too small to get to in your own form. The camera subtly changes to a smaller angle of vision and everything looks more intimidating which is a nice touch to aid the immersive nature of the possession sections. The developers are never too critical of these sneaking missions because even if you make an utter mess of it, you will restart at the possession stone with all the minions replaced.

The Overlord has also received an overhaul with a wider array of magical abilities. You can still blast targets from a distance but you can also power up minions and turn them into an airbourne missile and you can even eat the minions and absorb their energy to give you a health boost. There are even power up spells like the HALO which let you enhance all the minions powers. The developers also have gave the ability to control or destroy innocents so you can get them to fight alongside your minions if you so wish. I like killing them however so that didn’t happen often.

The minions pick up weapons and various environmental objects to enhance their combat abilities but they also level up now as they fight. If individuals die for instance you have the option now to return to your base and resurrect them – so you can keep your favourites going for as long as you play. Powering up also extends to your equipment and armor however there are a lot of resources required by collecting souls which means this isn’t a regular occurrence.

The camera system has been improved and offers the player slight control over the angles whereas before you had to hope (and pray) the coders got it right. Unfortunately one issue is quite annoying in that the game sometimes thinks you want to sweep the minions instead of adjusting the camera angle. When this happens, sometimes the view will snap to the minions and you lose sight of the Overlord. It isn’t a game breaking issue, but it can be a little bewildering at times.

After you complete campaign mode there are some multiplayer options available across four maps. Invasion is a great mode and you play with a friend to take out a Centurion in the shortest time possible. You work together guiding minions around and taking out various foes. Dominate is a versus mode where you battle with another player to capture five points around a large map to increase your score. This is a great mode which means you are balancing your score against placing minions in key locations to defend various points in your control. Pillage mode gives each player an island to defend with gold in the water around it, to collect. Again there is a balance between making sure you plunder your own gold and steal enough of your opponents to win. Lastly Cooperative Survival puts you in an arena with the objective of staying alive for as long as possible – it is fun for a short while but proves too difficult after a few rounds.

Graphically, the developers deserve a pat on the back because they have added a whole array of new effects and subtle changes which enhance the appearance dramatically. The engine has also been optimised so there are very few frame rate issues, which plagued the original version. The characters are lovingly detailed with some superlative animations and touches which bring a great depth to the immersive nature of the game. Granted there are some clipping issues but they don’t ruin the overall appearance.

The audio is strong with the amazing voice cast reappearing to deliver a wonderful performance – it is even stronger than the first one. The minions sing, mutter and even dance when they complete tasks and they are sure to give gamers plenty of laughs due to the diversity of their dialogue and witty little animations. Absolutely brilliant.

Overlord 2 is one of two great games I have reviewed this week and a refreshing change from the plethora of rubbish I have had to endure this year. The changes are all for the better and a lot of the little niggling issues which marred the original are fixed. If you own either a Playstation 3 or an Xbox 360 then I suggest you put this on your shortlist because it might be the refreshing change of pace you have been looking for. Miss this at your peril.


A lot of tongue in cheek fun with a solid mechanic at the core.
Very detailed and some great, fun environments.
Great voiceacting and scripting.
Strong campaign and some fun multiplayer side action

Well worth a look, unleash the inner evil.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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