Want some more cartoon mayhem in your life? Overlord II is coming to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC to give gamers their fix. Codemasters is also flanking Overlord II with a pair of additional titles, Overlord: Dark Legend for the Wii and Overlord: Minions for the DS. Each of the games, however, feature unique gameplay elements and take place in different areas of the Overlord timeline. I played an early build of Overlord II on Xbox 360 with Dan Robinson, brand manager at Codemasters, at New York Comic Con. As someone who never played the original Overlord title, I have to say that I was impressed with what I saw.
Overlord II picks up where the downloadable expansion Overlord: Raising Hell left off. The original Overlord got trapped in the Abyss, but he left behind a lass impregnated with his evil little seed. Gamers take the reins of this mini-Overlord as he grows into a young man among the people of Nordberg. (While one of the main design directives behind Overlord is to have tongue firmly planted in cheek, let the record show that Robinson had no idea that the devs gave their fictional land the same name as OJ Simpson’s character in The Naked Gun.)
The townspeople of Nordberg see the growing evil in lil’ Overlord and cast him into the wilderness to appease the Glorious Empire, a Roman-style civilization that has taken over the realm in the absence of the original Overlord and done their best to stamp out magic. “We called him Overlad around the offices,” said Robinson, “After the townspeople throw him out, the character is taken in by minions in the wilderness and raised by them in the same way the jungle animals raised [The Jungle Book's] Mowgli.”
At the heart of the game, Overlord II is a tale of revenge, “The question we saw on message boards about the original Overlord was, ‘Are you evil, or really evil?’ So we gave gamers a choice while playing Overlord II which boils down to exterminate or enslave.” As the new Overlord you can choose to stamp out whole towns or rule them with an iron hand. The choices you make will influence the story arc written by Rhianna Pratchett.
Basic combat revolves around spell casting and slashing away at enemies and various loot containers with a massive sword. Most of the fun will be had controlling the minions with the right thumbstick and using the Overlord’s sorcery. The new game features new spells, as well as increased minion abilities. This time, however, the minions get mounts to aid with some levels like riding spiders up walls. If you become attached to one particular minion (Overlord II will feature some unique costume sets for your little acolytes) you can resurrect him. The only problem is you have to kill off a pair of minions of which you’re not so fond. On the upside, the minions serve unquestioningly, so they’re down with the whole immolation thing.
Overlord II runs on the same Triumph engine as the previous title, but now with an updated physics module. Now you can destroy structures, enemy ships and anything else that comes in his path. Now the only question remains is what kind of Overlord will your Overlad grow up to be? I’m guessing he’s going to be the kind of guy that doesn’t get a PETA card.
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