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Friday, May 23, 2008

First Impressions: Overlord

After returning home from a long day at work, there are very few things better than opening up your mailbox and finding a new video game sitting there for you. I was privy to just such an occasion last night. And the new game, you ask? Codemasters' funny, highly entertaining, and grossly overlooked title Overlord.

If you'll recall, I've been waiting to pick up a copy of Overlord since I first played the demo last year; however, I wasn't quite prepared to pay full price for the game. Tthat doesn't mean that I wanted to play the game any less than one of last year's bigger blockbuster titles. I just expected a little less from the game.

I ended up playing Overlord for about an hour last night. But I first finished up the second mission in Condemned 2: Bloodshot before firing up Overlord. I like to "cleanse my palate" after playing C2:B, especially late at night and right before bedtime. I get so little quality sleep that I don't need to compound my problems with nightmares and other horrifying nightime visions.

So - what do I think of Overlord? In a word: charming! It's funny and interesting. The gameplay is refreshing and the control scheme is quite good given the number of things you're meant to control all at once. I'm sure I'll become more proficient with the controls after I've had the chance to play a little more.

Graphics and sound are both above average but I think the game's concept and gameplay are the stars of the show here. I'd describe the game as a mix between Pikmin and Dungeon Keeper. But unlike Pikmin, your minions in Overlord and funny and evil little critters who like to kill things, bring you the spoils of war, and adorn themselves with anything not nailed down. I still get a laugh everytime I see a minion come running up while wearing a jack-o-lantern on his head.

I'm currently playing both Condemned 2: Bloodshot and The Simpsons Game so I'll not focus too heavily on Overlord's time-intensive achievements. I'll be playing the game as the "pure as the driven snow" version of an evil Overlord (ie. no unnecessary killing, helping out peasants, etc.). I'll forego the balls-to-the-wall evil and instead focus only on smiting those who deserve to be smitten. If I play the game a second time, I'll go full-on evil and collect some of the tougher achievements including:

  • Tower Master: Involves collecting a lot of stuff and would most likely prevent me from the finishing the game as a "good guy".
  • Minion Multitude: Involves a lot of hacking and slashing in the Dungeon and/or lots of dead sheep.
  • Dungeon Overlord: Involves finding a lot of creatures in the gameworld and fighting those same creatures in the Dungeon. Sounds difficult and time-consuming.
  • If I end up really enjoying Overlord, I may purchase some of the DLC and clear some of Overlord's extra achievements.
If things go well on my first playthrough, I anticipate picking up 25 of the 54 possible achievements for a total of 465 GamerPoint. Even if I fail to earn more than that, I'll still be well above the 230 GamerPoint listed as the average gamerscore for Overlord on MyGamerCard.net.

If you'd like to pick up your very own copy of Overlord, simply click on the image below. I highly recommend picking up a copy: it's cheap and it's fun! What else do you need?

Have a great weekend!