Overlord 2

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I'm liking the Extra Punctuation idea- him adding a little more clarification as to what he likes in a game... or doesn't like.

lol I like the name and hope it becomes a regular feature. It's good to hear you elaborate you're points at a moderate pace and without as many dick jokes :D

If your avatar is human, you will typically understand right and wrong in human terms. For this reason, "good" and "evil" make sense in a game like Fable. But it's true your personality doesn't carry over.

One of the main reasons for games is the title for this site: Escapism. That's why games where you play an accountant doing taxes are not as popular as games where you're a superhero. But escapism isn't just about having adventures you just can't have in the real world, it's also about breaking rules you can't break in the real world.

Some games are pretty explicit about this, and allow you to mow down innocent civilians, or at least drive through a city, ignoring all the rules of the road. Other games just offer an option to be "good" or "evil". Since most of us don't get to be "evil" in the real world it's only natural we gravitate towards that option in a game, especially if the game doesn't have a compelling story that makes us feel like we really are the main character.

Few very key things in my mind that yahtzee needs to take into account when looking at overlord 2.

A) The game is a parody and makes fun of moral choice games and many other game types.
B) The game does not make mistresses a huge part of the game, one could ignore them without any major loss.
C) There is no major moral choices in the game, its brand A of evil, or brand B of evil.
D) This is not MADE as a moral choice game unlike fable, stop making it out to be one.

Now then, my two cents:

Many times, a game will put you in the shoes of this and this hero, and expect you to care about their interests, and do what that character wants. Sometimes, the game will give back story, and rewards and whatnot for you to begin to adapt those interests. Other games will not even bother.

However. Overlord is a game about being evil, and about being evil your way. You cant say, "I don't want to be evil" or, "I want to help." It says, "Your evil, and get about doing evil." It's the same as games like GTA and hell, nearly every other game out there. In GTA, you are a criminal, and you can't go good. You can't say, I don't want to ferry drugs, or I don't want to do this mission, because the story depends on it. You play the game as a criminal, and thats that. Same in every other game. You buy that game to play as this, and you play like that. Period. Overlord is the same in this respect, and in it you play as an overlord that owns mistresses.

Now Fable seems to have yanked something in Yahtzee's head, because he now seems to feel that every game has choice and you should be able to do things your way or if it deals with a moral its a moral game. Well, I'm sorry to say, many games do not incorporate choice to that extent, and if a game offers two lanes of story that so happen to deal with a moral, even if they are the same, doesn't make it a moral game.

Nice little extra segment. lol, and I cant say I disagree with any particular point!

Well done Yahtzee, well done! I really enjoyed that, and it also made me sad....

I MISS AGGRO (Yeah, I can't spell his name). I wish my PS2 hadn't broke, as I long to play SOC again =(

As you said about characters, you need to like them, not be told to. For example, I nearly cried when

Once again, GJ Yahtzee!


Hell, my wife that I were just about to kill gave me a plate chestpiece today! That's rewarding!

Well, regardless of how relevant you may find some of his examples, I totally agree with Yahtzee. It takes effort to make a player care about an NPC. If you can't make the player feel a degree of compassion for a character, trying to use that character to tug at the player's heartstrings comes across as incredibly lame. Great article, and I anxiously await further installments.

looks like Yahtzee has some free time on his hands.... AWESOME:)

I like reading so that was an enjoyable article for me, Yahtzee has a certain wit about him even when writing.

One point he didn't bring up was that when a player goes into the game, as well as being a blank slate, they also wants to push the boundaries of that game by being evil, good, doing stuff not on the linear level. We're little children seeing new things.

Though the point he's making is so true, in movies we're expected to care for the character and we have no control over them. This is some sences is an interactive movie so of they want us to care, some games wont, they need to make us.

Nice idea for the Extra punctuation, too bad overlord II isn't that good..

Best one I've played that made me have an 'emotional reaction' was Oblivion. Not emotional as in sadness at somebody getting killed, but instead anger at seeing my wicked awesome sweet horse which I just bought for a large sum of money five minutes ago get taken out by something which just ran clean past me.

Fable 2, as with all of Molyneux' games was a severly overhyped game. It was fun in its own way for awhile but it fell so far short of the expectations that the missing promised features caused disappointment actually damaged the game experience, at least for me. They said all that starving your family and make your dog evil and the developing cities and whatnot, but you can't starve your family, your dog is still bouncing around wagging his tail and chasing balls as a black-fur-red-glowing-eyes hellhound, and they didn't even try on the developing cities.

As for the child in Fable 2 when it expects you to go rescue him/her because he/she goes to try to kill some hobbes I just didn't see any reason as to why. As Yahtzee said, I would only care about this one if it was useful in any way to me, and this kid doesn't grow up and will follow you around expecting you to give him/her gifts whenever you visit your house.

Well now that turned into a rant...

damn yahtzee, i'm illiterate

Long time reader, first time responder:

Personally, I had fun with Overlord II. The faults Yahtzee points out were quite valid, but either way I did have a fun time with the other bit of the game.

I can see what he meant by games forcing you to care when the players obviously don't. Really in Overlord II the only characters I find myself really being eager to beat up is the Elves due to a natural hatred of the prissy ineffectual bastards. The Minions, while amusing at times I usually didn't have as much Tender Loving Care for them outside as my personal mooks; I don't like them dying since it's a great inconvenience and I will use revives on particularly strong ones (as earlier mentioned, I like having well-armored minions with powerful weapons around). I will say this: The Mistress isn't completely just a cosmetic thing in that it does grant you an Endgame bonus depending on whom you favor.

Still, Mr. Croshaw does have his own points that I agree with. I still enjoy the act of pillaging villagers stupid and beating up Elves for my own reasons.

That was a great read, hope he plans to make this a regular thing. The reasons Yahtzee brings up for disliking Overlord 2 are exactly how I felt, I was having alot of fun with that game for a couple of hours and then the pointless grinding started and I wanted to return the fucker but of course I bought it on steam, sigh. Ah well least I saved myself 30 bucks.

Seriously though what is it with so many game devs filling games full of useless shit no one wants instead of I dunno, MAKING THE GAME BETTER. I'd take a more polished shorter experience over a drawn out unrefined one any day.

Valid points here, with the in-game persona different from real-life persona and making sure players have a reason to care. As for the first-point, it doesn't apply to me, since I want to be a nice guy in both instances. But that's only my personal experience.

He pretty much hits on the reason why I stopped playing Dead Space... when I realized that since Isaac didn't talk, I didn't give a shit about his story and his emotional stake. If he had had some dialogue and I had been able to see what the characters meant to him, maybe I would have cared. If you MUST have a silent protagonist, do the Alyx thing and let the player form their own attatchment to the character (I actually don't like Alyx, and I was amused when she died, she comes across as far too smug... and Gordon is to old for her so their "relationship" is creepy).

What? You weren't moved by the cliche storyline that lead up to an ending I literally called while playing. Ended up telling my GF

They try to argue its a psychological ending but that just means they want to make a sequel.

I was so shocked at how by the numbers that game was and how high its ratings were...blew my mind.

Hm, the dead GF shtick in Dead Space actually got to me.
If you read his notes in the mission objectives screen, he actually seems like a pretty caring individual, not to mention the constant, mindfuck visions he has of her.
Maybe I'm just a sucker for any emoting in a game, but I actually sympathized with the dude.

Nice sticking it to Pete.
Rather arrogant of him to assume why that gamer would go and slowly starve to death his useless, hanger-on of a family.

He pretty much hits on the reason why I stopped playing Dead Space... when I realized that since Isaac didn't talk, I didn't give a shit about his story and his emotional stake. If he had had some dialogue and I had been able to see what the characters meant to him, maybe I would have cared. If you MUST have a silent protagonist, do the Alyx thing and let the player form their own attatchment to the character (I actually don't like Alyx, and I was amused when she died, she comes across as far too smug... and Gordon is to old for her so their "relationship" is creepy).

They're in the same age group.
If you don't recall, Freeman was put into suspended animation immediately following the Black Mesa incident.
That gave Alyx plenty of time to grow up from being a baby to a very mature young woman (with a great sense of humor, mind you).

Ah, this seems like a great column. ZP is entertaining but gets repetitive. A space for him to be more serious and have the chance to make his points properly is a very good idea.

As a random example of a game that does this sort of thing well, I'm going to take this opportunity to tell you all to play Fire Emblem. Not only is it pleasantly refreshing to see a game series that transparently doesn't given a damn about graphics, through the support system it allows for character development and, in the form of statistical bonuses, gives you a strong incentive to do so. The supports in Path of Radiance (FE9; sadly FE10 and FE11 dropped the system to lesser and greater extents, FE10 because the developers were foolish, FE11 because it's a re-make) are an excellent excellent example of how story and mechanical elements can work together; I found myself wanting to increase characters' support levels both because I wanted to see their relationships develop and because I wanted the improved battlefield performance that comes of it.

i disagree about overlord, the game has no moral choice, and you can choose one mistress over another, its just that she still hangs out in your tower instead of leaving, pah, who cares, she does nothing anyway until end game

and overlord didn't try to make you care, same as half life and halo didn't make me care. the player brought overlord knowing exactly what they would be doing with whats on the case, i assume whoever brought it either cared or loves making themself feel horrible after playing games

Yahtzee must really hate this game so much to warrant Extra Punctuation.

I find the easiest way to make me care about a character is, again, make them useful to gameplay. Like Alyx from Half-Life 2, or your horse from Shadow of the Colossus, both of whom I could see myself cuddling up to at night.

Dammit, Yahtzee, did you have to mention the poor horse? I was almost over that. :baaaws dramatically:

But I agree with most of this because it's a problem I've had with enjoying certain games, especially open world sandbox ones, oddly enough.





Extra punctuation? Sorry Yahtzee, I like you and all. But, I'm not really the reading type. Maybe if you put it all in a short video with animations and dick jokes I'd look at it, but for now...

You don't have to read it, he already makes videos, why does this need to be video based also?

I think Bodyklok's post should have ended


That clear things up for you?

OT: I really liked reading this; I like that Yahtzee will admit when he has changed his mind about a game he played earlier, of course it is much funnier to be continually scathing of every aspect of a game, but it takes much bigger critical balls to turn up the next week as say 'I was wrong about X' than just to let it pass with the rest of the proverbial poop he flings.

How do you know he was being sarcastic? Do you read minds or something? You honestly give people in general to much credit to just assume he was being sarcastic.

My never-ending faith in humanity lets me hope he was being sarcastic! Otherwise he is just another ADHD riddled teenage boy with the attention span of a fruit fly that will be found on XBox Live teabagging his victims and screaming incoherently down the microphone. But I didn't think we tolerated those sorts at The Escapist...

Yes, I was being sarcastic. I just assumed it was obvious so I didn't bother to put /sarcasm at the end of my post. Then when someone took me to be serious, well me mam always used to, "DOUGAL! If you ain't gots noth'n goods to say, then don't say anything you little piece of shit!" I did not have a happy childhood./sarcasm

I really do think that this boring Overlord installment can set up an exciting third game, though. Imagine this:

Your the son of one of the three mistresses, you have two other brothers. You've inherited a twisted, demonic visage from your father and from your mother (one of the three) you've inherited a unique advantage.

If you're the son of the strong mistress, you're basically a fighter and you are weaker at spell casting and you are slower in speed.
You make minions from the souls of the dead, classic style. They're strong and fast, but can't take much of a beating.

If you're the son of the manipulative mistress, you're better at controlling minions and more easily able to manage greater numbers of them, as well as manipulating people, but you're physically frail, though fast.
Your minions are people, enslaved with your charismatic powers and bewitched by your handsome appearance. To gain these minions, you must break their wills by staring them down, it is possible to send them back to your tower like classic minions, they just need bigger spawn points.

If you're the son of the magical mistress, you're better at magic and gain access to unique spells and powers, at the cost of being physically frail and unskilled in physical combat.
Your minions are zombies, your dead enemies fill your ranks. Zombies are exceptionally slower than the other minions, but they are strong and durable and easy to replace, though they are not smart enough to use weapons.

Raised from birth to be obedient to your father, you and your brothers break free from his control at age 18 and because of your upbringing as servants, essentially, desire great power.
Namely, control of your father's domain and his death.

A great open world with unique options depending on your character and distinct differences between each playable character's abilities, minions, actions, appearance, domains and options.

I can only dream...

I think that Fable's inclusion in this review is a little misguided.

For one, the game never assumes that you care about anything. Every quest, job, and other in game activity is always left up to the player as to whether or not they actually want to go through with it. Sure, you always have that option in any game with the convenience of the OFF button, but here the game accomidates the players tastes and doesn't impede their in-game experience with something that they don't give a rat's ass about.

Take the main quest. If you, being an apathetic shell of a man (hypothetically speaking), don't want to do it, you don't have to. You can run around and just kill every [adult] character in the game to try to get a rise of what moral character is left within the decrepit pit that use to be your humanity. The game will measure out the appropriate consiquences (AI's won't like you, horns grow out of head) but for such genocide the player can't be expecting any other kind of response. In this case, the game satisfies the player's blood lust with whatever the player could want out of their anti-social experience, even if it comes at the expense of the game's own story line.

So, rather than partonizing the player with a tuber on a stick, Fable treats you like a human and gives you the orange treat for doing what you want, not what game wants. Sure, it may be measured out in the usual action->reward scheme to create seeds of motivation, but you are never forcibly lead into those situations. Wives, property, equipment, items, experience, quests, they all have their benefits (including wives, despite how much Yatzee would have us believe to the contrary in his distaste of the concept) but those benefits are not absolutely required for your progression. They'll help, but if you don't care about those things the game isn't ging to think otherwise and expect emotions and motives where there is only apathy and laziness.

Loved this article.

I'm starting to think that Yahtzee is a a Slipknot fan, for a number of reasons. Slipknot is my favorite band, and I'm a shameless Yahtzee fanboy, so this is significant to me.

Reason #1 References Slipknot in his Devil May Cry 4 review

Reason #2 He says a line which is very similar one in Slipknot's song Disasterpiece:

Spoilered for coarse language.

Oh, I would most certainly enjoy cuddling the shit out of Alyx.

Great post, Ben. You're a damn fine writer.

I very much agree with Yahtzee when it comes to these side things I happen to own Overlord 2 and enjoy it's silliness. When it comes to the wife aspect of trying to make her happy there really isn't any reward and it's more detrimental to have her around cause I waste money and time just to keep the annoying woman happy. Rather ridiculous actually since I'm supposed to be AN OVERLORD and EVIL so I should be able to slap her around and just tell her she should be lucky I don't kill her. The relationship with the female in the game is completely out of context with the storyline they setup with the main character since they setup a game for you to be EVIL and then when it comes to the woman your supposed to be a good little husband and dote on her with no benefit of doing so.

Now there are other games that handle it somewhat well in my opinion like Dragon Age Origins depending on which female you get in a relationship with has a slight determination on the ending you get as well as some of the walk around flavor conversations your party has in the background. Also getting your party members to appreciate you unlocks side quests which can give some helpful gear at times. As many of you may know if you play the game you know it has an achievement system so with my first character I was trying to get in bed with both morrigan and leliana which I succeeded then they both started fighting over me and asking me to choose one or the other before I could continue the relationship with either. I enjoyed that they went to that depth with it as well as they went as far to have it give a slight change to the ending of the game you go with.

Overall in the end Yahtzee is right if developers are going to be putting these little side relationships in they should have it give some sort of benefit in the game especially to the story as well as working with the moral compass you have chosen for you character not for the player. Hell if we choose to play an evil character in the game we should be able to have the significant other NPC enjoy watching us do what we do best not ask us to come home fix dinner and change the baby's diaper.

I know I'm a dork for pointing this out but there was gameplay benefits for having a family.
Every house has a "bonus" that affects something about your characters stats, this bonus is boosted if you have a family that lives in that house.
You could say that's not much of a motivation but you could say the same thing about the items in any RPG game. It's just something they added for people to enjoy, many people did.
Personally I did the "good guy" thing first and was pretty bored by it (way more exciting to be the good guy in Red dead redemption,I felt like a hybrid of "pa" from little house and the punisher.) but when you play in that little moral center, that's when things get fun. Personally I enjoyed playing an character who was hated by the world for doing so called "evil" acts such as murder but all of my actions had some kind of purpose, such as extorting the rich and mercilessly killing bandits even if they surrender or try to run.
I think the best way to enjoy a fable game is to become immersed and stop thinking about good and evil. Just do what you want to be done. If the next game is designed with this concept in mind, it could be great considering fable 2 had the morality system that was improved but still felt pretty pointless.

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