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Overlord II Review
genre: Action Adventure
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Jun 23, 09 (released)
|» All About Overlord II on ActionTrip|
Dutch development team Triumph Studios hasn't done much work in the past other than games like Age of Wonders and Overlord. However, both franchises had done well and made a successful tribute to traditional gameplay formulas. Overlord also enlivened the atmosphere with a healthy dose of humor. Although very entertaining on the whole, the game itself had a number of downers, which we hoped would be straightened out in the sequel. In addition, Overlord II had been promoted as an overall improvement over its predecessor, both in terms of graphics and gameplay.
Yeah, I have spiders like that at my house regularly.
Maasterrr! For you! Treasure!
The game once again lets players assume the role of a dark overlord, who marches forth towards his first evil venture in the cold mountain lands of Nordberg, where a totalitarian force known as the Glorious Empire continues to eradicate and enslave magical creatures. Apart from the Glorious Empire, Gnomes and Elves are also fighting for their own cause. As an upstart Overlord, you're going to have to create your own, hidden, empire and do your best to increase your power. Armies of diverse faithful minions are, of course, at your command, obediently waiting to be sent to their slaughter. Their uses are greater than that, so it's up to you to take advantage of their unique abilities.
There are several features you are going to enjoy in Overlord II right from the beginning. The likable and funny characters, beautifully designed environments and more or less pleasing gameplay. It's all rather basic, mind you. The first game seemed unique, especially when compared to all the shooters, strategies and other corny releases that flooded the gaming scene at the time. Overlord II appears to be delivering the same kind of experience, albeit that feeling soon changes as you play.
During the main campaign, we continued to struggle with the game's badly optimized controls, in addition to its awkward targeting system. Operating your character (the Overlord) and multiple groups of minions usually becomes a tangled chore, often leading to the Overlord's tragic demise. This brings me to another major issue, which is certain to annoy if not utterly enrage most gamers. Checkpoints in Overlord II are inadequately placed throughout quests, so each time you make a mistake or accidentally lose the edge during a battle, it's back to the Netherworlds and your tower. As much as we enjoy fiddling with our own personal dark tower and the benefits it brings, this doesn't cut it for the enormous frustration that ensues when we realize an entire section of the mission has to be replayed.
What the fuck are you smiling about?
Ooh, I like this thingy! Fire!
Replaying quests wouldn't be much of a bother if it weren't for the poorly designed targeting system. Assaulting Nordberg for one, proved to be our first and one of the greatest annoyances. Moving minions around and targeting individual villagers (foes) simultaneously felt extremely clumsy. At times it's just impossible to pinpoint desired targets accurately and since most of the game revolves around this, I'd say that's one hell of a mishap.
Opponents appeared to do their best against your minions. The minions themselves, however, frequently fail at reaching and destroying their designated goals. Adding to the disappointing technical aspects of Overlord II are the occasionally sluggish framerates, making me believe that whoever got assigned to test this game failed at his/her job miserably.
In all fairness, there's still plenty to enjoy in Overlord II. Players are bound to have fun with the choice of upgrades, improvements and other additions for both the minions and the Netherwold tower. The main character can also use numerous weapon and armor upgrades. We also got a kick out of the new ability to step into the skin of a minion, thus enjoying the havoc and destruction up close and personal. Using various assault and siege weapons such as ballistas and catapults is another cool facet of the game; plus it makes killing enemies all the more enjoyable.
As before, a lot of hard work clearly went into art direction and the visuals in general. Imaginatively crafted character models and gorgeous animation, coupled with great voicing and a pleasant soundtrack, make Overlord II a pleasure to watch and listen.
If you are prepared to forgive the devs for the many technical downsides, you might just lose yourself in the rich and creative virtual world of Overlord II. Rich content is on offer, along with nearly 20 hours of play time (that's counting the side-quests, I believe). From our experience though, this game brings no improvements whatsoever over its predecessor. In fact, none of the humor and delightful characters in it cannot divert our belief that this game spoiled a once fun and inventive franchise.
Funny, rich content, clearly a lot of work went into the art direction, looks a lot better than the previous game;
What you get in the original you get here as well, control problems, targeting issues, AI gets confused, frustrating checkpoints.
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