Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Looking Back through the scope with Cynical Hunter: OverLord

Before you read this review of Overlord 1 I should make a few things clear about its origins and who it was aimed for. I wrote this review for a forum called "Midlife Gamer" a wonderful site whose podcast "Midlife Gamer Podcast" is very funny and informative on the world of gaming, ever month at MLG as it is known by members there is a game of the month, a old game that may have fallen off the radar of most gamers but is still worth at look at for a few hours. Over Lord by Codemasters was a game I had played along time ago a so decided to look at it again and review it in order to get used to writing reviews in general, so please enjoy this and do take a look at midlife gamer of which i'll leave a link to at the bottom.

My Looking Back Through the Scope will be my series of reviews of older games, these will usually tie in with the release of the games squeal.

rOverlord Game of the month review by Cynical Hunter. Grammar
First things first this is my first ever written review of a game so please allow all sorts of mistakes in terminology and such. Any criticisms and comments on my review are more than welcome seeing as everyone in our community is so nice (not like those angry trolls over at Gamespot) hope you enjoy this.
Overlord is a 3rd person action RPG with elements of RTS thrown in to confuse you, all these elements are stripped down to their bare essentials so you will never confused this hybrid as a pure breed of or the other, the RPG elements are sparse when it comes to Loot due to their only being 3 tiers of items and the only restrictions of this these is finding the forge needed to make them, you can customise them to a point by adding a few souls to change the armour or weapons abilities, On the RTS side of things your abilities begin and end with the ability to tell where minions they should go, whom to kill and whether they should not be drowning or not, more on the minions later
The game takes place in a fantasy world filled with hobbits with eating disorders, elves suffering from a horrendous case of narcolepsy, dwarves with drinking problems and homicidal unicorns.... so typical yeah? That’s the way with Overlord setting and story; you are presented with the expected and the unexpected jumps you and steal your wallet which is to be expected due the writing of Rhianna Pratchett (yeah Terry Pratchett’s daughter, the apple never falls far from the tree) the games story is and I’ll try to be spoiler free here is a typical revenge quest at its core with the Overlord being raised from the dead and then setting out to kill the seven heroes who beat him last time they meet, however during his time as worm food the seven heroes have become corrupted by wealth and power and so you raise your army of minions to show these heroes how to be properly evil.  You won’t feel emotional invested in the story but that’s fine as the story isn’t what carries this game what carries it are the little balls of joy and petty vandalism the minions.
The Minions are the heart and soul of this game, they do everything you could want them to do they kill peasants, loot villages, ride sheep and generally be unpleasant to the world at large. The Minions come in four flavours, Vanilla is your basic brawler, this little feller is with you from the start and does the lion’s share of the work when it comes to you conquering the world, they can be brutally effective at killing enemies when sent in a swarm but are weak on their own, they will equip any weapons and armour they find so your army with start to look very strange (the rat hat is a interesting piece of head wear)any gold, souls or anything else useful to your cause will be brought to the overlord followed by some grovelling that really makes you feel like a god. The second class of minion is the little red bugger the archer, the archer throws fire and has the ability to absorb fire meaning you can then go places you couldn’t before. The 3rd class is the assassin and this little feller would in a personal ad describe himself as “green and homicidal with GOSH” he likes to jump on peoples backs and start slashing, he is immune to poison and so can destroy pods puffing out toxic fumes that impede your progress. The 4th and final class you get is the little blue healers who are the only one able to kill magical enemies and are able to revive the recently deceased  they are also the only minions who can walk in water. Controls over the minions is simple to learn but difficult in the late game when things get hectic and you need to control several groups of minions but to be honest the tactic of sending everything at one target can often work out just fine. Combat as the overlord himself is just bad, you don’t feel like an all powerful overlord swinging at battleaxe over the poor whelps but instead you feel weak and feeble who could only beat up a sleeping kitten with its paws behind its head. Combat it greatly improved when your magic supply grows and you can unleash some pretty darn spectacular magic spells my personal favourite is the good old Inferno that just looks fantastic when invoked a cowering peasants.
Being evil is the second main selling point to this game after the minions and you are given many opportunities to choose whether or not to be a douche bag to the plebs, civilisation and girlfriends,  the problem with this could be said is that due to the light hearted nature of the world you live in none of the really evil choices have any moral guilt attached to them so the evil option becomes your go to for choices in most cases since playing through the game as a nice guy will leave you poor, bored and sexual frustrated (at least one of these symptoms may be exclusive to me) as is often the way with being good you will often find yourself restraining from pillaging and since that can often be the most fun you can have. Any of these problems I had are tempered with the fact that this game was not meant to be serious and the story was never going to be Dragon Age quality (insert other game that personally got you).
To Sum up Overlord is nice game and has some great ideas in terms of game play but some control issue, the main character being silent (not in the Gordon Freeman badass way). The games true heroes are the minions charm and the moments of chaos they can unleash in full flow are divine to watch. Out of 10 I would give this a above average 6 and i felt it was certainly worth revisiting from when I first bought it when it came out.

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