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Review: Overlord 2

Susan Arendt | 2 Jul 2009 13:00
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The whole question of Good vs. Evil is kind of a thing with videogames these days - will you save the puppy or save yourself? - but Overlord 2 suffers from no such moral ambiguity. As the titular dark lord, you are gleefully, exultantly, and unrepentantly evil, as you and your minions leave a trail of destruction and chaos in your wake. Cleverly expanding the scope of its predecessor without forgetting what made it fun in the first place, Overlord 2 is wonderfully refreshing after so many games featuring reluctant heroes with tortured consciences. I just wish it wasn't so damn annoying.

Fans of the first Overlord will immediately recognize that much of that game's structure is intact: Using your Dark Tower as a center of operations, you and your minions sally forth into the world above to cause havoc, take all the good stuff, and basically crush anyone who looks at you funny. Minions come in four colors - brown, red, blue, and green - and come with individual strengths and weaknesses. Browns are strong and make excellent footsoldiers, reds can hurl fireballs, blues can cross water, greens are immune to poison, and so forth.

Figuring out which minions to use in which situation is key to solving not just the game's many environmental puzzles, but also successfully getting through combat. Pitting reds against a wall of soldiers probably won't get you very far; the better idea is to mount some browns up on wolves and have them go charging in. When a frontal assault won't work, rely on the greens' backstabbing ability to see you through, or when all else fails, let the blues use their healing mojo.

Your trusty followers aren't quite as disposable - or forgettable - as they once were. They level up as they fight for you, which makes it even more upsetting when they croak, but you can resurrect them with a quick trip to the graveyard. It'll cost you some lower-level minions to do it, so it's definitely a cost/benefit decision, but it helps make the game feel more strategic than simply throwing a wall of anonymous bodies at your enemies.

If you'd rather not risk the life and limb of your adorable and faithful minions, you can always put the whammy on humans and get them to be your cannon fodder instead. They can be tough to chase down, but a quick zap and they'll fall to their knees in devoted worship. If you're in a combat situation, they'll fight for you, which can come in very handy if you're running short on minions. Subjugating the masses helps you control towns, too, another nice addition to Overlord 2.

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