Recent History – Overlord 2
Overlord 2 was released in 2009, a mere 2 years after the first Overlord, and it is the most recent (and likely last, due to poor sales) game in the series. This one takes place in much more varied environments than the last, and the player gets to explore snowy glaciers, steamy jungles, open plains, and even a thick swamp. You are once again playing the part of the Overlord, but not the same Overlord as the last game. Instead, you’re his son, and your lands are sort of at war with a huge Romanesque Empire.
I have mixed feelings about Overlord 2, but as always I will try to give a fair recollection of things that are interesting and new, and things that are the same, and what’s good or bad. The main problem, though, is that the writing for the game is not nearly as strong as the first one, and in fact feels kind of forced. Don’t get me wrong, the overall plot is actually probably better in some parts, and it has a twist that I definitely didn’t see coming, but there’s something missing. I’m not sure what happened, but while the game is still silly and mostly enjoyable, there’s not as much absurd high-fantasy humor as the original, and it all ends of feeling a bit too serious for a game with literal hippy rainbow elves.
So you, the Overlord, take your multicolored minions out to fight this Empire. Along the way you pick up various women like in the first game, and you fight bosses and solve puzzles in ways that are pretty much the same as in the original. Where the gameplay takes a turn for the more interesting and fun, however, is when your minions start finding different animals to ride. Browns get wolves, reds get salamanders, greens get spiders, and blues get nothing because blues are still terrible. The mounts usually allow your minions to be stronger, move more quickly, and also grant a new ability, such as rolling up walls or running over enemies.
These are cool, but they don’t make for an entirely new game. More new stuff is needed, and you can tell the dev team was trying their hardest to think of original things to do. One of the big changes in gameplay, then, is the ability to mind control (or murder, if you want to) basically anyone you meet. You have two paths to choose on your alignment, and one of them is Domination. By Dominating everyone you meet, they will produce armor for your minions, and life energy for you to spawn new ones. The other choice is to just kill everyone and go down the Destruction path, but that’s actually kind of boring, at least to me. I don’t know, it just seemed more interesting to be able to mind control a whole village into submission.
The only other really notably divergent parts of gameplay are when you have to pilot a boat around in a jungle, or use catapults to take out parts of an oncoming army, or sneak around a castle to escape with your greens, and those parts are really different. This game really expanded on the simply gameplay of the first Overlord, and I think the action really shines from a player’s perspective. Also, the parts where you fight entire armies are awesome.
Overall, I’d say Overlord 2 was better in the parts of the game where you smash stuff and loot towns, but weaker when it came to dialogue and characters. I’m actually kind of sad to say this about it, because I loved Overlord so much and really wanted 2 to be even better, but I felt like it got dragged down by a less engaging world. A generic Empire is fun to fight, but not as interesting as fighting 7 flawed ex-heroes. This is a pretty short post because from here I would only talk about parts I disliked, and no one wants to hear that. I just want to say that Overlord 2 did bring in new ideas, but only executed a few of them well. Overlord is an exciting and original game, but Overlord 2 is only exciting. Take that however you want.