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Overlord is the first game I have ever purchased for the 360 (outside Live Arcade) and that is saying something

  • Sep 17, 2007
Rating:
+3
This game is extremely entertaining. Which, above all else, is exactly what a video game is supposed to be. The other reviewers are correct, the game is flawed, as most games with a production budget, a shipping deadline, and a market department are. It was not shipped before it was READY, but it was shipped before it was POLISHED.

First, the PROS:

1.) The game is funny
2.) The minions are adorable (love the random hats!)
3.) The graphics are great
4.) The puzzles are fairly balanced (although those freaking sea serpent battles I could have done without!)
5.) You do not have to be truly evil! I was worried about this. But, a'la KOTOR, and Fable, and Jade Empire, etc. there is a path of "lesser evil" available in this game, which is basically like the character alignment of "chaotic good" in Dungeons and Dragons. In other words, you can play as a "Hero" who doesn't follow the rules. (You can also play as a right evil bastard, if you so choose)
6.) The game has a good story, and moves at a good pace, and even has a surprise twist near the end which I wasn't expecting.
7.) Production values are very nice: very good voice acting, very good music, sound effects, graphics, etc.

Now the CONS:

1.) No in-game map is INEXCUSABLE. I have a very good memory, and even I got turned around/lost occasionally. Without an in-game map, exploration, and finding things takes way more time than it should, and you can never be truly sure you have found everything. An in-game map in a game with exploration is kind of like a check list for exploring. You can pull it up and instantly see where you have been, and which directions have things yet to be uncovered. The game comes with a fold out map of the major game areas (top side, not dungeons), with most of the major stuff on it, but that isn't good enough.
2.) The minion path finding isn't that bright at all. If your minions get out of your sight, and go around too many corners, then in order to get them back, you will have to go fetch them. This is annoying, because A.) your minions are CONSTANTLY carrying random things back to portal gates, which means you either need to escort them each time they do this (time consuming) or accept their loss until you are ready to visit a gate yourself (dangerous -- they are your main weapons early on in the game) B.) this led the game designers to introduce the minion "sweeping" idea, which is basically that the default behavior of the right analog stick is to move your minion horde around, much like the left one moves you around -- the problem with THAT though, is that it takes away the camera control which is normally mapped to the right analog stick. In order to get it back, you have to hold down the left bumper, then it controls the camera per usual. The default follow camera works fine up to a point, but there are PLENTY of times in the game where you need to be swinging the camera around (such as COMBAT! and PUZZLES!) and at such times, this whole contrivance is extremely obnoxious
3.) The game is short. If you just do the main story line, and you don't dilly-dally, I think you could finish the game in around 20 hours or so. There aren't much other things to do besides the main storyline though, except for dungeon fighting in your tower to get achievements and minions and equipment upgrades, etc.
4.) The game is very linear. VERY linear. You have a narrator for the entire game, and there is basically no freedom to choose how the story will unfold. Much like KOTOR and Fable and Jade Empire before it. That isn't of itself a BAD thing, but at the very least they could have given us more options than simply "kill everyone and everything in sight" or, you know ... don't.
5.) They should have gone for an 'M' Mature rating, and made the story a bit more interesting. The mistress tower "love scene" was disappointingly vague and tongue-in-cheek, it will sail over the heads of most pre/early-teens, and frustrate everyone else. They didn't need to go full bore God of War sex mini-game, but maybe a half way point would have been nice.
6.) The game is fairly misogynistic (that means: having a hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women for no good reason, for those of you still in K-12). You don't get any say in whether your main character is a male or a female, you are a male, period. The game doesn't let you decide to take a mistress or not, you must. The game also allows you (if you are playing the truly evil way) to capture and keep female slaves as your tower servants. I fully understand what the game is trying to do and that this is all tongue-in-cheek, and supposed to be humorous, and I am sure the game creators are not actually (all) misogynists, but the facts remain and are pretty damning. Of course, an evil Overlord cares not for these things, and in a world of games like Manhunt (which I will not speak of), G.T.A. (where you abuse female prostitutes as a game mechanic for regaining health, amongst other horrors), and even God of War with its sex mini-games, this is all tame by comparison. Still, it is fairly discomforting, especially to females who might want to play the game. I imagine, that after centuries of this, that the female population is getting pretty darn tired of being depicted as helpless sexual objects in all forms of entertainment. But that's just my opinion.
7.) There are bugs in the game, game breaking ones -- which other reviewers have already mentioned. This isn't unforgivable in and of itself, but it is disappointing. However, like has already been mentioned, the truly serious ones are hardly ever encountered, unless you are deliberately trying to do the game as out of order as you can possibly get away with, to which I say kudos to you. ^_-
8.) There isn't much else to DO in the game, other than follow the linear story line. Revisit an old area, and the peasants will either sing your praises or cower in fear from you (and that is it, no shops, no dialog, not even random battle opportunities), or you will visit an empty and cleared dungeon with some token critters running around which you can kill for life force. Other than the main story, and your dungeon arena to harvest more life force by battling previously defeated creatures to get achievements, and your equipment forging/upgrading, that is about it as far as what you can do in the game. You can't even talk to your mistress or other tower inhabitants, except at pre-determined intervals. That was especially disappointing -- maybe for the sequel they'll expand on that?

Overall: good game. The minion aspect of it makes it unique enough to try, even if you are not a huge RPG fan. I am told it plays a lot like "evil Pikmin" from Nintendo (I wouldn't know, I never played that game). The game STRONGLY reminds me of Fable for the XBOX. The linear storyline, the cut scenes, and especially the constant narrator telling you what it going on, where to go, etc. are all strongly reminiscent of Fable. The Good Vs. Evil stuff is strongly linked to KOTOR in my mind (not that they were the first to do it, but they were to the first to do it WELL). The one-button combat stuff is strongly linked to Jade Empire in my mind as well (yes, I know there were more button options than that -- but who REALLY used them?). Overall, it is a good game, and the first real (non Live Arcade) game I have purchased for my 360 (which is saying something) -- but it could have been better. Hopefully for the sequel (and you know there will be a sequel with the number of units it has sold) it will be.

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Quick Tip by . November 06, 2013
The thrill of commanding hordes of ruthless minions is offset by the dull and monotonous combat and confusing, unintuitive level designs (and puzzles). There is no ingame map and its very easy to get lost in the gameworld. If you buy this game used, make sure it has all the original inserts as the only map you'll have access to is the one packaged with the instruction manual.
About the reviewer
R. McAdams ()
Ranked #418
Computer programmer and information security and computer forensics professional. Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Information Security and Computer Forensics.      … more
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Overlord is a groundbreaking, completely original action adventure, set in a seriously warped fantasy world. Controlling a mysterious figure that has inherited the legacy of the evil, long-dead Overlord, the player emerges, near death, from the ruins of the old Overlord's Dark Tower. Only the player's actions will determine if they will rise to become the new all-powerful Overlord; it's all down to how much of a bad ass they want to be in order to succeed...evil or really evil! Played out with plenty of black humor and dark irony, the game will immerse players in twisted parodies of classic fantasy scenarios and characters.
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