Many games these days are giving players the choice between good and evil, particularly RPG's, but what makes Overlord 2 stand out from the others is its downright humorous concept of moral choice. No good choices here, just evil and more evil. And the difference between Overlord 2 and other hack'n'slash games is the fact that in Overlord, your demonic minions do most of the hard work. But does the games unique gameplay style make it a great title, or a lackluster effort?
Overlord 2 puts the player securely in the giant boots of the new Overlord at a very young age as a tutorial mission, then fast-forwards until aged and mighty. From here, the player must work their way through the Empire suppressed land choosing to either Destroy or Dominate all they encounter along the way. This makes for some of the games optional, although pretty major choices, as the player can choose to destroy whole towns by completely wiping out the population, or dominate them by enslaving every soul who confines within the walls. Although destroying a town can be fun, Dominating them has far more benefits, as the lowly peasants will continue to mine you gold and craft weapons and armor for your loyal minions.
Ah, the minions. They are truly what make Overlord 2 worth experiencing. The minions are great little creatures that will gladly give their life for the Overlord, and throughout the game, they will do the majority of all your fighting and pillaging. There are 4 different types of minions; Brown, the melee fighters; Red, the fire starters and ranged unit; Green, the stealthy assassins; and Blue, the only water treading minions of the lot, complete with magical healing powers but a very low defense level. You will have to use a mixture of all minion types to solve the puzzles the game occasionally throws at you to progress and earn upgrades. And whenever your minions seem to be getting bested by the enemy, remember to head back to your sprawling tower in the Netherworld and upgrade them using your hard pillaged cash. And while your there, you may as well head to your private quarters to spend some quality time with one of your up to three mistresses, and by quality time, I mean buy them lots of pretty, expensive ornaments to decorate your tower with. Who knows, you may even get a little something in return..
Where the game shows flaws is in its controls. Although an improvement of the original Overlord's controls, they are still in need of work. As the Overlord bulkily runs around the land fighting legions of soldiers with his trusty minions and you try to maneuver the camera to see the carnage unravel, it will become apparent that putting the weight of both the control of the minions and the camera on the limp shoulders of the right thumb stick was a huge mistake. This makes becoming triumphant in battles and solving puzzles somewhat tricky less you stand perfectly still and let your minions do all the work from the limited range of where your standing, which is also very tricky. But with the complex controller scheme which does in fact take a while to get used to, its obvious there was no other way in how to fit all the commands onto a controller, and Triumph Studios did the best job possible with the limited buttons available.
Possibly the best, and undeniably the most intriguing aspect of the game its pure evil point of view. Its a rare sight to see a game which glorifies being a completely evil being, what with all of todays game censorship, but its a breath of fresh air and will have players happily massacring baby seals and the cute but increasingly annoying gnomes. And no evil overlord can conquer the land without a hefty dose of humor to keep the spirits high, and that exactly what Overlord 2 delivers thanks to the brilliant writing talents of award winning games writer Rhianna Pratchett. Even at the most violent of times, your helpless enemies and innocent civilians alike will shout humorous profanities and plea's for your mercy. And when taking an innocent stroll in a Dominated town, you will be sure to hear lines of hilarity from any and all of your abiding slaves as they tirelessly work away to please you and your little minions.
The story of Overlord 2 isn't the biggest highlight of the game, but it sure is still a highlight in its own manner. It provides lots of references to the first game through subtle and not-so-subtle ways, which will please past fans, and although you do not have to be entirely in on the story of the first, it does help to better understand the happenings of this, its sequel. The game is full of plot twists which will have you on edge and wanting to continue playing the very lengthy campaign, and with moral decisions afoot at each and every corner, playing it over again to try out the alternative happenings.
And when you get tired of mindlessly slaughtering the A.I. controlled opposition, you can always try your hand (and horde of minions) at the games online multiplayer modes, which consist of two versus gametypes and two cooperative gametypes. The versus games see you pitted against an enemy overlord and his set of hellish minions while the cooperative modes teams up two overlords and their demonic legions against enemies. These multiplayer modes are available to play both online with friends or matchmade opponents or offline with splitscreen play.
The graphics of Overlord 2 aren't as mesmerizing as some other next-gen games being released but they are well above average and fit the gameplay style and game concept very well. With a style that suits the games humorous side very well - by using almost cartoon-like character animation, which also suits the games evil presence very well as it gives all characters a deeper sense of innocence, which as we all know, is much more evil, not to mention fun, to kill. Also, the game graphics and exquisite lighting effects makes the atmospheres much more tense and fitting. For example, while roaming the Netherworld, the light coming off the molten larva below creates a orangy luminous effect on the towers dark walkways and rock formations, making it feel even more like home.
From the cries and plea's of ruined peasants to the somewhat evil musical score, Overlord 2's sound department has it all. Much like the afore mentioned graphics of the game, the musical score and detailed background sounds make for a very fitting evil experience. And to sweeten this lot of excellence is the games humorous dialogue, as covered in the gameplay section. All in all, Overlord 2's sound very much makes the entire evil concept play funner and seem believable, even when it involves a horde of little demon creatures running around putting things on their heads.
Overlord 2's campaign mode will give players at least two full playthroughs before it gets tiresome, and even more if you just cant get enough of the games satire and joyfulness of the minions. This is considerably more gameplay time then some other full priced retail games, and with the add on of some fun multiplayer modes, you will be sure to have even more time thrashing around your flaming sword of furry in the games gorgeous environments. Its games like this that provide so much gameplay the first time around, then weeks, or even months later, will provide just as much joy when you pop it back in your disc tray and reboot it. And with the quickly released downloadable content 'Battle Rock', we can be sure we will be seeing some more expansions in the future.
Overlord 2 is a rare game. It provides players with a lot of great and memorable moments, varied gameplay and a rare perspective on being good or evil. Even with the games botched camera controls and complex button layout, it still will have you playing non-stop for hours on end and coming back for seconds. This game will be sure to please any who want to do a little, or even a lot, of evil doing, and will convert those goody-two-shoes' out there to club seal and pillage a town in the name of humor and enjoyment (all in the safety of the game of course). In conclusion, Overlord 2 is a great game worthy of interest to any and all.
AAG Score: 8/10
1. Wide variety of gameplay
2. Humorous dialogue
3. Long campaign
4. Fresh concept
1. Camera controls are bad
2. Complex button structure
3. Targeting system annoys
Reviewed and Written by John Elliott