Overlord: Dark Legend • Page 2

One remote to rule them all.

As in previous games the minions have real personality. They do a lot of enjoyable bowing, scraping and wisecracking. Best of all they like to wear hats, picking up sheep skulls, pumpkin shells and even the odd sombrero as they go along. The script is funny and the cut-scenes, which can be paused or skipped, move along at a healthy pace.

Which applies to Dark Legend generally; most objectives are easy to achieve, and it rarely takes more than a couple of attempts to get through the trickier set-pieces. Even boss battles aren't too taxing. Having said that, the preview code we played only let us try out the first couple of hours of the game. It's perfectly possible - likely, even - that things get harder later on.

One thing that's definitely easier is navigating your way around the game-world. A big complaint about Overlord for PC and Xbox 360 was about the absence of a mini-map. It was often difficult to work out where you were supposed to go next, or keep track of where you'd already been. This was remedied for the PS3 version, and there's a mini-map in Dark Legend too. It's got icons to highlight quest objectives, minion gates and teleporters, which proves very useful. Plus, unlike in the PS3 game, there's a bigger overview map you can call up via the pause menu.

What with the remote-based control system and new navigational tools, Overlord for Wii feels even smoother to play than the PC and previous console titles. As you'd expect, however, it doesn't look as good. The visuals are nowhere near as crisp or detailed and the frame-rate judders along from time to time. That said the animations for your character and the minions are excellent, and the environments are just fine in relative terms. This might not be the prettiest game you've ever seen, but it's one of the prettier titles that exist for the Wii.

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Who wants to be a minionaire?

The question is whether it will offer enough depth and challenge to appeal to older players. Having played just the first couple of hours, you can't help feeling a better title for Dark Legend would be Overlord Lite. You can rattle through quests, solve puzzles and defeat enemies without difficulty, using only the most basic of strategies when it comes to switching between brown and red minions. It's possible to pretty much ignore the spell-casting system (only three spells were available in the preview code, none of them very exciting or useful). You can also take or leave the forge, which allows you to create new weapons and armour. But these elements are likely to play more of the role as the game progresses and as the level of challenge ramps up.

Besides, perhaps Overlord games should feel a little easy; after all, you're supposed to be an all-powerful evil tyrant, one who has hordes of minion to do his dirty work. And there's great pleasure to be had in watching your loyal followers leap on a ninja while you stand back and watch, or hearing their cries of "For the master!" as they break open yet more treasure chests. If the finished version of Dark Legend turns out to have enough depth and a decent difficulty curve, Wii owners could have another reason to be cheerful.

Overlord: Dark Legend is due out for Wii on 26th June.

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