Monday, August 15, 2016

Obscure Video Game Review: Overlord!

Who has been reading my blog long enough to remember Obscure Video Game Reviews? It's the feature where I play through an old, obscure, or terrible video game, then tell you all about it so you don't have to.

Well, I got in a bit of a rut with not feeling like posting, and sick of being a goody two shoes. So I went and played some Overlord! It's a pretty fun game, and can be had for quite cheap used (if you can find it). In it, you play the titular Overlord; an undead master of an army of goblins. Your predecessor was killed, the Dark Tower destroyed, and the goblin tribes scattered to the four winds.

You need to make this right. Er...wrong? Wrong again? Wronger?

Basically, it's Evil Pikmin.

It's cute, fun, and tongue in cheek. The Overlord is a silent protagonist (antagonist?) with an axe and some spells. You can chop your enemies if you like, though honestly, it's more efficient to let your little gremlins do the heavy lifting. And the fighting. And the turning of capstans. The Overlord does learn some cool spells as you progress, if you want to be a little more hands on, though I have honestly only used Fireball thusfar.

  • Fun re-imagining. Sure Pikmin was a revolutionary game, and this is a pretty blatant take off. Still, Nintendo's super G-rated stance makes the game somewhat unapproachable for a more mature audience. Hell, the Overlord has mistresses.
  • Silent Protagonist. The Overlord doesn't talk, or try to influence your decisions with morality, or ruminate on the meaning behind his actions. He swings his axe, guides his minions, casts his spells, and looks cool doing it. BYOB: Bring Your Own Backstory.
  • Minions. Most of your important actions are done by minions, which remind me of nothing so much as Gnoblar from Warhammer, if you know the reference.
  • User Interface. I don't think of 2006 as particularly being in the dark ages of game development, but the controls in this game do show their age. For instance, the camera controls are a little old fashioned and clunky. If you forget how a particular mechanic works (like, for instance the sacrifice shrines, which use a different combination of buttons than any of the other mechanics), or, god forbid, miss the tutorial, god help you, because nothing else in the game will.
  • Maps and Waypoints. This game has neither. It's a relatively open world game, a credit to early 360 capabilities, but a lot of the countryside looks the same, and there's no map or waypoint system to help you find your way around. It can be tough getting lost between the human village and halfling village early in the game. 
It's a pretty decent title, for an entry in this feature. I got both this and Overlord II, so I will likely post a review of that as well, at some point. For now, though, I am contemplating ways to create an Overlord in LEGO. Other that Ainz, I mean.

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