Monday, August 17, 2009

Overlord Series Part 1: Overlord: Raising Hell a.k.a Overlord for the Playstation 3




Action adventure games are pretty straightforward these days. You play as a hero or a chosen hero, and your job is to take down the evil forces that are across the land. There are a lot of good ones like Zelda, Shadow of the Colossus, and Okami, just to name a few. Though, what if you throw a fork into the equation, like combining the elements of Shrek, Pikmin, and a little bit of humor on the side? The result is one of the most offbeat, but interesting action adventure games ever, Overlord Raising Hell, or also known as Overlord. The version I am doing is the Playstation 3 version, but you can also get it for the 360, and I think they are pretty much the same. So, is this tale of a dark ruler worth checking out? Or is this Overlord an Underlord? Sorry for the bad joke.

The plot of the story is long ago, seven heroes murdered the previous Overlord and the land is filled with glee, or so it looks like. Meanwhile, the minions, which look like gremlins, open up a coffin and wake up the person inside, making him the new Overlord. It is his job now to take back the land, and kill the seven heroes who have been infected with corruption. This is kind of an interesting style of a story, since it borrows the fantasy parody of Shrek, because it’s not light and cuddly fairy tales. Instead, it has a darker demeanor. Since the title of the name says “Raising Hell”, there is a small story, which takes place after the events of the game if you get the PS3 version of Overlord, but you will have to find out yourself.

The game play style is, of course, an action adventure game. This time, you get the added fun of controlling a horde of minions. Since we are talking about the minions, I’m going to note right now that the whole game revolves around planning and using the minions in the correct way. There are four types of minions to control. There are the brown minions, which are the strongest fighters, red minions who can throw strong fire attacks and are immune to fire attacks, blue minions, who can go through water and can revive fallen minion, and green minions, who are immune to poison and can stab big enemies on the back. At first, you will start with 5 minions, though during the game, you can get more and more minions. Basically, you travel to different parts of the land with a small town of Spree being the middle point of the whole thing. Though you can attack with the Overlord, it’s much smarter to use the minions, since the Overlord moves and attacks like a tank. There are a lot of things you need to do, like save people from slavery and protect them from zombies. This is just a little taste of what you have to do. Though there is some fun stuff you can do, like sending the horde of minions to murder innocent sheep, and ransack houses and take their gold. Of course you also get to have a mistress in your castle also. The difficulty is right in the middle. It isn’t the easiest game around, but it isn’t the hardest game either.

The graphics are pretty awesome and amazing to look at. The whole art style is of a creative dark fantasy look, which really fits the game, since it isn’t too serious, but not too funny either. The story is really creative, and it is fun to know what will happen next in the story, after you have completed one quest. The whole charm comes from the minions and the so-called “heroes”. The minions are funny and interesting to look at. They have an interesting design since it has a cartoonesque-like look. The bosses or the so called “heroes” have an interesting take on them, since each one has been corrupted with a certain sin, like Melvin the hobbit hero has fallen to gluttony. The music is just nice to listen to. Fantasy music has always had a place in my heart, since it’s calm and peaceful. The more interesting character though, of course, is the Overlord. He looks like Sauron from Lord of the Rings, and just like Sauron, the Overlord doesn’t speak at all. It is also interesting that even though he looks like a villain, and even though he is an anti-hero, he is portrayed as a good guy more then a bad guy which I kind of like.

It is time to send your horde of minions to the bad parts of the game. Since the whole game revolves around using minions, it also means using your minions in customizing your weapons and armor. It is kind of annoying, since you have to sacrifice a certain amount of your choice of minions to forge the item in question. I don’t like that, since it’s hard to find minions and get more of them. In role-playing games, there is the occasional theme of leveling up called “level grinding” In Overlord, you have something I like to call “ minion grinding”. If you’re low on minions, you will, maybe like me, take a lot of time and gain more minions to use. It is just tedious. Another thing I don’t like about this game is that only one kind of minion can swim. This was funny when Pikman was first around, but it’s old and annoying now. This last thing is just minor, but this game will take a lot of time to complete, and right now it’s hard to, since I don’t have a lot of time on my hands.

The final conclusion is that Overlord or Overlord: Raising Hell, whichever version you have, is a pretty good game. I had a lot of fun playing this game, and that’s what a game is supposed to do. You’re supposed to have fun with it. I would recommend picking this game up for whichever console you have, though I will warn people who have a 360, that you have to download the “Raising Hell” expansion on the 360. Well, that wraps up the first installment of the interesting and awesome Overlord series.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

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