Overlord II is the follow-up to 2007’s Overlord: Raising Hell and we have to admit that after debacle that the first title was we didn’t think that there would be a second, but alas we were wrong. Codemasters’s seemed to have thought that they could address a lot of the shortcomings of the first title to deliver a follow up that was really worth playing but we think they missed the mark.
Overlord II has all the components to be an excellent title but having the components and putting them together are two different things. Overlord II is classified as a third person action title but it actually has some RPG characteristics and that is where the problem starts. The game seems to try and be a little bit of both but in the pursuit of doing that doesn’t really execute either well. The RPG characteristics aren’t deep enough and the game plays much to slow to be a great third person action game.
As far as gameplay goes just as the last time around controlling the minions is the most fun part of the game. Those little guys steal the show once again and form a more than worthy group of havoc wreakers. This time around there are more types of them, they have more personality, and they can now increase their attack strength by mounting animals such as wolves. Using minions to reign chaos down on the unsuspecting citizens of the small towns under the control of the Glorious Empire is quite a lot of fun and by being able to control each type of minion group separately, it really allows you to use some strategy. You can place markers and place different minions at strategic positions in battle that really makes battles more then just some mindless skirmishes.
The battles in the game are ok and the enemy AI is smart most of the time choosing to fight in tight formations which makes them extremely hard to defeat and you quickly learn that in order to take them down you need to break those formations up first. As the Overlord its up to you to lead your minions into battle and make sure your evil agenda is furthered. The Overlord character is visually impressive, a truly imposing figure. To bad that is pretty much where the imposing part stops. While the Overlord does possess an array of weapons and magic, he ultimately fails to be that larger than life, fear instilling figure that it seems he should be. Instead, he is slow and pretty much no fun at all in battles. He can be effective but he is just not as fun to fight with as you would hope.
The maps are huge and vivid, the only problem with that is that the Overlord can at maximum speed move at a slow trot. The minions move quickly and with great ability, but he just seems to move at a snail’s pace compared to them. In a game that requires a lot of go here and do this, then go here and do that the speed at which he moves is important and makes lots of activities much longer than they need to be and in a game that you may or may not be having that much fun playing anyway that is an easy way to lose the player’s attention.
Even with the minions and the magic and some pretty cool moments, Overlord II fails to really capitalize on all those great foundational components that it has. Instead, it gives you teases of the greatness that could have been I mean possessing minions or shooting the balista, those parts were cool. But alas a few great moments does not great or even good game make. The goal of any game with an actual end is to compel players to want to finish it and I don’t know that Overlord II does that any better than its predecessor and that’s not good. The game is called Overlord and thus he should be the game’s main focus but once again he is like an afterthought as the minions steal the show and if that is the case just make a game about the minions. Don’t get me wrong, Overlord II IS better than the original just not better enough and because of that we give Overlord II a score of 6.5 out of 10. Yep we changed our rating system, we hope this will make it easier to understand what we are trying to convey about a game’s actually quality. A definite rent.