Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Overlord: Quick first impression.

One of my Steam bargains was the complete set of Overlord. Having recently tried to play Evil Genius and giving up from boredom after a couple of days trying I wasn't expecting too much from this game. Base building god games have never grabbed me no matter how humorous the subtext.   However the game has surprised me several times so far.

First surprise: Its not a base building god game at all really. It is more of a third person action game with minions. Yes there is a base to be built but that is really just a trophy cabinet for all the mission rewards you collect.

Second surprise is that despite the "Evil Overlord" theme there are actually moral choices to be made for example whether to rescue hostages or slaughter them. It's not quite good versus evil more evil versus not quite so evil.  I seem to have inadvertently set myself down the "evil" evil route by accidental slaughtering the inhabitants of my local town (a surprisingly easy mistake to make as the left mouse button is a universal minion command key and if you happen to be pointing in the wrong place when you click your minions will quickly murder anyone standing there). I am not far enough into the game to assess the full impact of these choices but I guess that evil actions give you more of some kind of dark powers while "not quite so evil" actions  get you better support from your subjects.

Third and biggest surprise of all is how pretty the game looks. The quality of the artwork in the game is absolutely fantastic. It is not all gloomy doomy art either. My first real enemy is a bunch of halflings (hobbits) and the hobbit village is beautifully drawn with exquisite detail easily on a par with Lotro's lovely hobbit abodes. I suppose I should feel guilty sending my minions in to smash up such an idyllic scene but the whole thing feels more whimsical than darkly evil. Even my evil tower is a bright and cheery place and my minions are works of art in themselves.

Although I am only a few hours in I can certainly recommend the game. The game play is novel and light heartedly humorous while the graphics are really beautiful. Don't expect much of a challenge from the early levels though. Those halflings are no match for my horde of minions even when they call on the support of an occasional troll. I couldn't find any difficulty slide but hopefully it gets a bit more challenging later. Even if it doesn't it is surprisingly fun though to send your minions on a trail of destructive havoc smashing everything in sight.

No comments: