Should being evil be this much fun?
After enjoying the first game in this series immensely, I was worried that Overlord II would not live up to my expectations. Sometimes a sequel can overcomplicate, or change the very things that made the original great. I enjoyed the first game so much that this was my biggest fear.So I turned on the Xbox360 and crossed my fingers.
It is Midwinters eve and outside of the snowy, fairytale style town of Nordberg, I catch a glimpse of our “hero”. He is a small boy wearing a big winter coat with a hood that is so cavernous that I can see only his eyes. His glowing, slightly evil looking eyes. The town is preparing for a party, a celebration for midwinters eve. Standing outside of the town, our Overlord in the making is being tormented by the towns children. They keep taunting that you were found by the town gates after being abandoned. Then they start throwing snowballs at you. You hear voices in the dark that tell you to attack them with a large stick. You chase them down the road and are shown how to hit things and use magic. The towns children run to their secret hideout as you reach the town gates. The drunken guard says that you are not welcome in the village ” with your glowing eyes and stuff”.
A young girl, Kelda, calls to you from the bushes and offers to take you to the childrens secret hideout. She obviously likes you (even with the glowing eyes). You follow her to find a huge snow fortress that is manned by the children. Some small brown creatures come out of the darkness and beg you to order them. These are the first of your minions, the browns. Using the right stick you sweep them across to the fortress and have them scare all of the children into what must be there “clubhouse”. Use your magic to launch the giant firework at the snow fortress and allow you entry to their clubhouse. Send your minions into the clubhouse and steal the childrens clothes. Your minions then return, dressed as the children, singing happy songs. I should point out that this is slightly creepy.
Upon seeing the group of minions dressed as children, the drunken guard allows you all to enter the town and join the festivities, although he warns you not to drink any alcohol. You now have free reign to cause as much mayhem as your little balck heart desires. This involves destroying everything you can, knocking down tents, fighting with the townspeople and having your minions drink as much alcohol as they can find. This results in drunken minions vomiting everywhere. It is a charming sight. Finish up by lighting the giant firework and burning down the christmas tree.
After all of this chaos you hear a commotion coming from the town wall. Kelda appears again and suggests that you go and see what is happening. Follow her to the wall and you find that the town is under attack from an army of uniformed soldiers and catapaults. The armies commander says that the town must surrender all magic creatures. The presence of magic has been detected by a pair of mysterious cloaked beings refered to as “sentinels”. If the town refuses to turn of the magical beings, then it shall be destroyed. This is your first encounter with the Glorious Empire. The town spokesperson deliberates for a matter of seconds before throwing you over the wall. Nice.
With the help of your minions you must flee into the wilderness. Your minions will happily fight through the formations of Empire soldiers you encounter, whilst picking up any and all useful equipment they find. After a short time your small team of minions are decked out in random pieces of armour and tooled up with all manner of weapons. You will also find some wolves that your minions will happily climb upon and ride into battle, making them faster and stronger. Eventually you make it to the Netherworld, albeit via an ice cold bath, and you meet Gnarl, your very own minion advisor. By now you are fully grown and look good in the evil overlord armour. He tells you of the expansion of the Glorious Empire and how they are destroying all magical creatures. He also tells that the Netherworld needs to accept you as the new overlord, if you are going to remove the Empire and take your rightful place as ruler of the lands.
Through your adventure you will come across many bizarre creatures, from the one eyed yeti, to the hippy elves. These creatures fill the entire game with a kind of dark humour that is very refreshing. There are many games available where you have the choice to be good or evil. This game gives you no choice. You will be evil and you will have a damn fun time whilst doing it. Maybe you will be clubbing white fluffy fur seals to steal their lifeforce and create more minions. Or maybe you will be terrorising villagers for the sake of it. Either way you know it is wrong but you will laugh anyway.
Following through the story at the beginning will teach you everthing you need to know about the game. The controls are easy to pick up and are effective. Later in the game you will come across different types of minions, represented by their colours, that will have different strengths and weaknesses. The game is well designed when it comes to controlling these minions, ensuring that you use the right type of minion at the right time. Sometimes the camera can get stuck, which is a bit annoying, but a minor gripe in the grand scheme of things. The games graphics are well done and the fairytale style just adds to the underlying humour. The creatures that you meet, the minions and even the Overlord himself are all animated to perfection.
The game is a hilarious parody of the fantasy genre and will provide hours of fun. Newcomers to the series may find the controls daunting to start with, but this will soon be overcome. Players of the first game will slip easily into the spikey boots of the overlord. Difficulty is set just right, with the players skill improving alongside the games complexity.
I was not disappointed in this game at all and happily award it an evil 9 out of 10.
“For the Master!”