In Overlord, you begin the game with a bunch of nasty little goblins prying the lid off your coffin, standing you up, and declaring you to be their new master. Whether or not you have been fully brought back to life or are simply the reanimated dead seems to be up for debate. In any case, you’re up and about with a following of minions and an evil tower of your very own.
I can’t think of an existing genre that could contain this game without qualification. Trying to categorize this game will turn me into the sort of pretentious doorknob long since lampooned in this Penny Arcade strip. But categorizing the game is sort of my job here, so I’m going to have to suck it up and be a doorknob for the sake of the review. I guess I’d call it an adventure RPG action game with quasi real time strategy unit control. With puzzle elements. And a hint of sim. Or something. I mean, you have these guys, and they kill stuff when you tell them to, okay?
|Once you sack a house, smoke pours out of the front door. This is funny in a cartoon sort of way, while giving you a nice indicator of which houses you’ve done and which ones still have goodies inside. Just because I’m evil doesn’t mean I don’t want to be thorough.|
At the heart of the game is a system for controlling your army of minions, which grows ever larger as you progress through the game. There are four types of minions, which loosely correspond to classic MMO character classes. You begin with brown minions. (Your basic fighter class.) Later you will acquire red minions (ranged attackers) green minions (backstabbing damage-dealers) and blue minions (fragile healers) by performing certain quests. Your avatar can engage in direct combat with the use of his axe and a few magic spells. Early in the game you’ll probably be on the front lines supporting your troops in combat, but as your army grows it makes less and less sense to place yourself in harm’s way when you have so many obedient servants prepared to kill or die at your command. It’s usually easier to replace them than to heal yourself. There is a cap on how many you can lead at once, but there are stone circles spread around the world where you can change the ratio if you find yourself needing more or less of a particular color, or if you need to replenish lost forces.
|Have you ever wondered where you put all that gold you’re accumulating in an RPG? In Overlord, you can go to your vault and see your ever-growing pile of ill-gotten dosh. This is very satisfying. It actually made me not want to spend money.|
|Oppress the people of Spree enough, and they will let you make off with some of their women. They’re supposedly your slaves, although they just hang around your throne room wearing clothing not at all suitable for manual labor.|
I have a nitpicks post coming up, but the bottom line is that the game is new, different, witty, and fun.
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