Codemasters' excellent realtime strategy action game barely registered on gamers' radars when it was first released on Xbox 360 and PC, and that's a real shame. Its skilful melding of action and real-time strategy elements worked beautifully in concert with its distinctive visuals, great script and evil sense of humour - highly recommended to anyone with even the vaguest interest in gratuitous cartoon violence
As you might expect bearing in mind the tardiness of the new PlayStation 3 release, some bonus goodies have been added into the mix to sweeten the deal. The additional Raising Hell levels that were download-only on Xbox 360 are included as standard, and they're a worthy addition (scoring 8/10 in the Eurogamer DLC Roundup). More than that, a touch more thought has gone into the gameplay, in the form of a mini-map that takes the tedium out of locating key elements in the surrounding environments. Sorely missed on the Xbox version of the game, it's a real boon in the new rendition. Attractive loading screens with gaming hints have also been added to replace the utter blackness of the 360 game's intermissions.
In all other respects though, it's basically business as usual, with the new PlayStation 3 version essentially offering exactly the same gameplay as the 360 original. On the plus side, that means that this really is a lovely release, well worth checking out - there's nothing really quite like it on PS3. On the minus side, it also means that the developers have not taken the opportunity to clear up some of Overlord's other annoyances such as the often arbitrary movements of your minions while sweeping them about the environments.
So with all that established, there's little more to add other than to judge the overall quality of the PS3 conversion work. Overlord on Xbox 360 was a beautiful game but its 30fps refresh rate was hardly solid. As is becoming increasingly predictably the case, the PS3 version is stripped of its anti-aliasing and the frame-rate issues of the original 360 code are amplified still further here.
Thankfully, Overlord's charms owe little to the frame rate - it's all in the gameplay, and the PlayStation 3 version more than delivers. More than that, it's still a uniquely attractive game, and any lack of anti-aliasing makes barely any impact on the image quality of the final release.
UEFA Euro 2008
We all know the score. UEFA Euro 2008 is essentially a pseudo-sequel of sorts to last year's very well-received FIFA 2008, boasting a number of key improvements over what is probably the best football game on the market, albeit handicapped by the complete omission of FIFA's coverage of club-level football and the non-European international teams. However, if you can pick this up cheaply, I'd urge you to do so, if only to sample the brilliant Captain Your Country mode. Kristan called this 'one of the best additions to a football game in years' and he's right - whether you're playing solo or with friends, this mode alone makes it a hugely compelling proposition.
EA Sports has attracted a lot of grief for the quality of its console conversions over the last couple of years. Historically, its MO basically boils down to concentrating its sporting efforts on Xbox 360, before porting over substandard versions of the game onto PlayStation 3. Crippled frame-rates, 'jaggies', lower quality textures, longer loading times, inexplicably large hard disk installations - EA Sports has managed to tick all the boxes of cross-platform development faux pas in its distinguished career.
The one thing that the company has got right is content: in this regard very rarely are consumers short-changed cross-platform. More than that, it's the FIFA engine that appears to have had the most PS3 optimisation work carried out on it. Last year's PlayStation 3 offering of EA's franchise juggernaut had all the speed and performance of its 360 brethren, losing out only in minor graphical detail.
UEFA Euro 2008 is clearly based on the same engine, so once again PS3 owners can breathe easy. Sure, there's the odd difference here and there. The initial stadium cut-scenes (hardly super-smooth on 360) jerk pretty badly, grass textures aren't quite so detailed when viewed at close range and predictably, there's no anti-aliasing. However, all of this is barely noticeable in-game, only really becoming obvious if you're a heavy user of the replay modes and have astonishingly good eye-sight. In short then, a solid buy on either console - a game crammed with so many lovely elements that you can't help but imagine just how good FIFA 2009 is going to be.
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