Last year, Codemasters released Overlord for the Xbox 360 and PC. The game faired well with critics and gamers alike, and even went on to sell in excess of 1-million copies for the PC and Xbox 360. The sales of the game are surely impressive considering the fact that Overlord is a new property. Now a PlayStation 3 version is about to hit, and based on what we've played so far, it may be worth looking into.
The concept of the game is fairly reminiscent of Nintendo's Pikmin. The center character is the Overlord, himself, who is awakened from the dead by a horde of minions. You assume the role of the Overlord and, in turn, assume the ability to control the minions by utilizing them in a variety of ways. The game does a good job of explaining the uses of the minions with a brief tutorial in the beginning.
In addition to commanding the minions with the push of a button, you'll also be able to take control of them as a group with the right analog stick. With the minions in your control, you can guide them to areas that the Overlord cannot access, such as narrow or short pathways, as well as a bunch of other obstacles. Minions can be used to help attack a horde of enemies, or just one enemy, in addition to picking up items dropped by enemies.
The use of Minions varies greatly, as you'll also need them to clear fallen obstacles out of the way. To do this, you'll need to collect souls, which are automatically converted into minions. You can command as many as 50 minions simultaneously; you summon them by vising a Spawning Pit and holding L2 and pressing the circle button. Of course, you won't be able to summon 50 minions immediately; you'll start with three, and work your way up.
As far as enemies go, they are who you want them to be. If the sheep annoy you, then you're free to slaughter them and collect some souls out of it. If a certain townsman rubs you the wrong way, off with his head! You have the ability to make rational choices of letting those around you live or die. You will often be asked to make a decision with someone's life in your hands – what you choose to do is up to you, as each decision has unique consequences, not necessarily being bad ones. The point of Overlord is to conquer the game's lands with respect and/or fear, and so the game presents you the opportunity of making choices that'll directly affect your campaign.
While you may think the game is strategy based, the gameplay is actually more hack n' slash than anything else. The game even offers a top-down perspective that's reminiscent of games like Boulder's Gate: Dark Alliance, and such. You can also utilize magic skills, and the more you play, the more powers you're granted with.
Visually, this build of Overlord isn't terribly impressive. A lot of textures look a bit washed out and flat, and you'll often notice how low-quality a lot of the characters are. Codemasters promised better visuals for the PS3 version, but that doesn't seem very apparent here. Then again, I've never played the Xbox 360 version, so I can't compare and contrast the changes between both games. On the other hand, environments can be quite lush, with vivid colors that pop, and very nice lighting that brings them to life. Lastly, the framerate is acceptable and certainly livable, running at 30 frames, but it does have a few hics here and there.
Overlord: Raising Hell will arrive on the PlayStation 3 next month on June 24th. I'd suggest giving this one a look.