Wolf, BF1943, Virtua Tennis, Juarez, GI Joe, Fight Night, UFC, Overlord II.
The cross-platform console games having been gradually piling up over the summer, and it's about time the decks were cleared to best ready ourselves for the upcoming Q4 gaming tsunami. On this particular occasion, eight recent titles are put to the test, including our very first multi-format PSN/XBLA face-off.
As is the norm, the analyses are backed up with a comprehensive range of assets: full 24-bit RGB framebuffer dumps of each game (including 1080p shots where supported on PS3), embedded comparison videos using the very best in h264 compression, along with new high-definition clickthroughs in order to get the full picture. These Eurogamer Face-Off features have been gradually evolving over time, and once more the range of available data has increased: discrete frame-rate and v-sync readings have been added to the HD videos.
Mayhem-mongering has rarely been as fun as it was in Triumph's gleeful action-strategy title Overlord. Released a couple of years back, it was but a few tweaks away from classic status, combining elements of Pikmin, Dungeon Keeper and Fable to satisfying and comic effect. Dispensing cackling evil at every turn, it made us want to play the bad guy more often - and obviously you lot felt the same way. Sales of more than a million worldwide across PC, Xbox 360 and latterly PS3 turned Overlord into Codemasters' biggest new IP in years.
So, apart from perhaps requiring Brian Blessed's inimitable input, what else should go in the follow-up? More evil, obviously. More comedy headgear. Less suicidally dumb minions. A better-behaved camera system. At least some of these kinks (such as the absent mini-map) were ironed out in the belated PS3 release, Overlord: Raising Hell, but it still felt a little shy of the finished article. With numerous preview showings of the sequel demonstrating a ton of interesting new features, confidence was riding high that Dutch studio Triumph could go all-out and deliver not only a worthy follow-up, but, dare we say it, one of the highlights of the entire year.
To begin with, the basic plunder-and-conquer premise remains, with roughly the same amount of puzzling interspersed with action. The main difference is that you're playing the offspring of the armour-suited mischief-maker, and we pick up the thread with the new Overlord firstly proving his evil credentials, and then being initiated by the ever-humble minion master, Gnarl. Acting as your tutor and fawning servant, the sequel follows a familiar pattern with a seamless introduction of your basic powers and the abilities of your ever-willing band of evil helpers.
In conversation with Triumph's creative director, Lennart Sas.
Fusing elements of Sacrifice, Pikmin and wicked British humour into its deliciously dark premise, Overlord is one of the most adorable new games of recent times. Released in 2007 on 360 and PC, positive feedback was in plentiful supply, with the monumentally evil Kieron Gillen happy to dish out a well-deserved 8/10 for Triumph's strategy-adventure. A year later, the tweaked, beefed-up and generally refined Overlord: Raising Hell appeared on PS3, and scooped another creditable 8/10.
If you're one of the few people who got to the end of Overlord 1, you might be wondering how there's a sequel at all, what with the actual overlord being dead and that. Fortunately for lovers of pure evil, this is a videogame, so it turns out he had a son, and just as said tyke was about to fall into the clutches of the ruling Empire, he was rescued by scaly, big-eared minions who recognised him as their new master. Problem solved! Several years later, he's got his own Dark Tower, and once again it acts as the game's base of operation, from which players launch a guerrilla campaign against the boringly nice Empire.
Triumph Studios on Overlord II, Blackadder and evil-doing.
Codemasters has commanded Triumph (and Climax) to make more Overlord, as you have no doubt seen in our Overlord II and Overlord Wii/DS news stories. Which is music - probably thundering kettle drums - to our ears. Overlord let us trample through scenic fantasy villages and set hordes of multi-disciplined and mischievous minions on fat halflings and skinny elves. The result was glowing appraisals of Overlord on Xbox 360, and the same a year later on PS3.
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