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Overlord 2
PC, Playstation 3, XBox 360

Reviewed on: PC

Triumph Studios
Publisher: Codemasters
Rated: "T" for Teen

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

To this day, the original Overlord game remains on my list of the most underappreciated games in recent years. Featuring a pitch-perfect dark fairy tale vibe and some of the funniest moments you’ll see in a game – Overlord taught us just how good it could feel to be bad.

Now, nearly two years later; Codemasters has given us Overlord II, which for better or worse is everything its predecessor was – and more. The charm, humor and fun are still intact, but sadly so are the game’s monumental technical flaws and bugs. Still though, those looking for a fun experience that’s different from the typical shoot everything that moves fray will find much to like in Overlord II.

"’re minions aren’t exactly the smartest."

Set dozens of years after the original release, you’ll be playing as the son of the original Overlord (referenced in previous games as the Overlad). Your hero is stoic, quiet and fear-inducing. Hailing from the obviously Roman inspired Civilization known as “The Glorious Empire,” our protagonist is on a quest to eradicate and enslave the world’s mythic creatures. At the start of the game you’re set off onto a quest to track down the world’s myths one by one.

If you’ve played, or even heard of Overlord before, you’ll know that you won’t be alone in your quest. The real stars of the game are your impish minions who carry your evil bidding – albeit in hilarious ways. With a simple wave of your arm you send your minions out to accomplish your objectives while you have the choice to either stand back or jump into the action. It’s not as easy as it sounds though, as you’re minions aren’t exactly the smartest, and often times you’ll have to go back and tweak their actions before the right one is performed.

Your minions haven’t spent the last two years dormant – no, they’ve been learning. There’s now a much wider variety of actions your little assistants can perform. They can use disguises, ride mounts and even operate machinery. These new enhancements do a great job at expanding the gameplay to include a much more varied list of objectives. You’ll run into different species of minions (well, different colors), each with a different skill set, and you’ll use each one.

This time around, The Overlord can posses one of his minions, leading to a first-person view from the perspective of the minion. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s worth it. You’ll get to do everything from attempting stealth to using some pretty bad-ass weaponry like cannons and catapults. The new abilities, especially the possession, really helped open up the franchise’s gameplay.

"...your Overlord character is a bit of a weakling."

The game isn’t without its fair share of issues though. As you’ll be spending most of the game’s sequences directing your minions – you can’t help but get the sense that your Overlord character is a bit of a weakling – an issue when you take into account that he’s supposed to be a major badass. Go ahead, try to go into battle sans your minions, you’ll quickly notice that unless it’s a one on one battle – you’re probably not going to do so well. Then again – you have to wonder; was that the idea? Call me crazy, but I’d like to think that my Overlord uses his minions not because he has to, but because he can.

Another issue with the game’s mechanics is one that can’t be questioned. On consoles, like most games – you’ll control the camera with the right thumbstick. Sounds about normal right? Take into account that you’ll also be controlling your minions with that same right thumbstick. Sound frustrating? Yeah, it can be. At times, the system works like a charm, but at other times – and of course, it always seems to be at those crucial moments—it’s insanely frustrating. You’ll want to send your minions to attack a certain area or worse, attack an enemy intent on causing you harm, but instead you’ll merely move the camera. Ugh indeed.

On top of everything – Overlord’s sense of humor and style will…well, should…win over most gamers. Consider the world the game takes place in as a dark and twisted version of all those fairy tales you’ve heard as a kid. No, don’t get me wrong – they’re not dark and twisted to the extent that they’re dirty – the developers at Codemasters have done a great job teetering on the edge of humor and indecency. You’re going to laugh very loud during parts of Overlord II, in fact you will during a lot of it.

On top of Overlord’s lengthy 20-hour single-player campaign, there’s two-player cooperative and competitive play. The modes are a nice touch – but you can’t help but feel that they’re all but tacked on. They lack some of the modes, abilities and depth found elsewhere in the game, but you can’t deny just how fun it is to play with a friend. Each game that I played ran smoothly with little to no lag and was technically sound, even if it wasn’t what it could have been.

Those that give Overlord II a chance will find a lot to like here. It’s funny, chaotic and addicting, but at the same time its glitchy, mechanically flawed and somehow feels unfinished in some places. For those that loved the original, you’re going to find more of the same gameplay here, but Overlord II will do little to sway the opinion of those who didn’t dig the original.



CHEATS USED: One Hit Kills, Target Freeze, Super Speed, Unlimited Health, more

My main problem with Overlord II was that while he looked physically impressive – the Overlord character seemed weak without his minions – and while this may have been done with purpose, I want substance with my style. The “one hit kills by Overlord” cheat in the trainer fixes this issue – almost too much. After using it, even the largest foes can fall with one swing of your sword -- hence you have little use for your minions. I found myself using them for defensive purposes, or just sending them on mindless mayhem trips throughout the maps.

The great thing about the Overlord II trainer is that you’re going to be able to customize your experience with a wide range of cheats. You can change your characters speed, strength and level, along with affecting those of your minions and your targets. Its fun to use the “Target freeze” cheat to set your minions in place to attack them, and then unfreeze them just as they’re about to strike. Ahh the pleasure of being bad…



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