8.5

Enough ambition to overlook some of its failures, packaged with a good deal of style.

Being evil in game is not the revolution it once was. Many titles give you the chance to play morally ambigous or even downright wicked characters. Overlord manages to do it with enough style to be unique however.

As a visually Sauron-esqe dark lord, you commence leading your growing army of fiercely loyal gremlins about the world, crushing the now deeply corrupt heroes that thwarted your predecessor (each hero quite charmingly corrupted by one of the infamous seven deadly sins).

While the controls and camera iniatially can seem quite cumbersome after some time and practice they can be extremely inutuitive and effective, by the time that I made my second run though I was more then capable of switching and moving minions into suitable places, setting ambushes on the fly and keeping my boys alive. That sadly may be too long for most players to be expected to endure and it's true that the camera in particular can drag you into tight spots, cause minions do go sweeping in the wrong direction and ruin best laid plans.

The level and boss designs though are quite clever, and allow you to continually put your horde to good use, and while the game visually may not be up to the standards of some titles on a technical level, the designs and characters are all very lively. The Overlod is imposing and the minions cute but vicous looking, the ancillary characters and enemies can leave a bit to be desired but nothing overly detracting.

Perhaps the moments of wonderful voice acting help carry some of that visual. Some of the minion voice work is very charming, and the "head" minion's voice work is excellent. its good that those are the ones you here most because the rest are an exceedingly mixed bag from teeth grating to typical.

Most alarmingly to me, was that the games plot and progression is very moody and well presented. As the story progresses, you feel more drawn in then you'd expect too given your lighthearted comic book villian like beginnings. The final stages of the game are of paricular note for carrying some strong moments.

Technical flaws and control frustrations wil likely be overlooked by any RPG fan excited about controlling evil little monsters building their own evil tower and supressing a city of peasants, for those of us in that boat Overlord delivers something to remember, there are times when you will feel that you can't be evil enough or affect the game world enough, but there is still a great deal of joy to be had in what you can do.

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