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Hands-on: Overlord II


The original Overlord was a flawed game with a subversively chewy center. The only thing Overlord II needs to deliver to outdo the original is some polish, which is something we can't really tell is present from messing around with a demo for 10 minutes. That doesn't mean we didn't like what we saw, it's simply noting that Overlord's flaws didn't become strikingly clear until later in the game. The latest title has the same whimsical art style as the original, but this time magic is starting to disappear from the world. The Overlord will not only battle a comical version of the Roman empire (Asterix and Obelix fans will notice immediately), but will be an antihero to the loss of magic in the world.

A demo for the game is available now on Xbox Live and PSN, but it picks up where the E3 demo leaves off.

Gallery: Overlord II | 10 Photos

Overlord II starts with players taking control over the Overlad. An adorable pint-sized evil living in a tiny mountain town about to be attacked by the Glorious Empire. The young future despot is betrayed by his people and fends off the attacking army using minions and taking control of a catapult.

The minions and their control have received an upgrade since we last met. The little gremlins will enhance themselves with whatever items they scavenge along the way, but now the player doesn't have to worry about losing their "cool looking" minion, as players can now resurrect them at the Minion Graveyard and keep them through the campaign. Also, minions now have mounts to ride, but the only ones we saw were wolves.

Particular note should be made of the right analog stick, which not only controls the sweeping of minions (like it did in the original), but also controls the camera. The game "just knows" when you're trying to sweep minions or move the camera position. It's not a perfect system, but it works surprisingly well from the small amount of time we had with it.

We didn't have any time with multiple minions, which is where the true frustration for many players showed up with the original title. However, we were told that the attention to detail we saw with the camera/sweeping mechanic was also applied to the point later in the game where players have to control multiple minion types.

Although we remain cautiously optimistic about minion management, it appears that the concepts of the original Overlord have been refined in the sequel (which is all we ever wanted). We're definitely looking forward to playing the game later this month and hoping that this time around the master of darkness can show us some evil gameplay that's polished and refined.

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