For those that had the chance to experience Overlord and Overlord II, most would look back fondly on the series, although the previous games never really excelled at lighting up the stage, they at least turned up and strived to present players with humour and acceptable forms of combat. The previous two titles held some good value for money and for the most part, were fairly enjoyable experiences. So with that in mind, most would have probably liked to have seen a further enhancement of the series in the form of Overlord III, instead, we have to settle for Overlord Fellowship Of Evil and it sadly disappoints on so so many different levels.
Overlord: Fellowship Of Evil: Xbox One [Reviewed], Playstation 4, PC
Release Date: 20 October 2015
Price £14:99 [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Developer/Publisher]
Overlord: Fellowship Of Evil’s wealth of problems begin with the games storyline, before branching out to all departments like a disease that refuses to cease. There really isn’t much of a story to go by and what there is, could swiftly be forgotten beneath the avalanche of mindless button mashing and large groups of never-ending enemies. Written by Rhianna Pratchet, daughter of famed fantasy writer Terry. Rhianna usually delivers great storytelling with Tomb Raider, it’s sequel Rise Of The Tomb Raider not to mention Mirrors Edge and Overlord II already in her back pocket, sadly this one clearly fell by the wayside, by some margin.
Fellowship of Evil is set after the events of Overlord II, the world now seemingly overrun and infested with horrible goodness, stretching as far as the evil Minions very own home – ugh, it’s simply disgusting!. Narrated once more by one of the games favourite leading lights, Gnarl, four fallen servants of the dark arts are resurrected and tasked with bringing evil back to the world once more, including the butchering of…sheep, yes..sheep. With his comical and witty voice, Gnarl is the one real saving grace for Fellowship of Evil unfortunately, it isn’t enough.
Codemasters set the game out to appeal to the masses with the option of having up to four players in co-op mode but with such a dire lack of story, I’m left struggling to think of what joy four individuals would get from experiencing the story together, let alone in solo. To say it was basic would probably do that word some injustice.
Masquerading itself as a hack and slash Diablo knock-off, Fellowship Of Evil is a top down cave dweller that falls incredibly short of prior expectations across so many different departments, another of the elements to fall foul of this is the games combat system, which consists of a variety of tedious and unforgivable button mashing which occurs until the enemies simply fall over through boredom or in some cases, die and remain standing, they could be dead, they could be alive, who can tell. Whether you choose to fight up close with a weapon or stay back and use long ranged attacks to dispel of the games foes, it’s all pretty meaningless with no real thinking required.
Loveable Minions can of course, be summoned but again don’t really serve any purpose, other than to get you through a few areas or heal, which is pretty much the only reason to have them around. They do act as a form of distraction while being attacked but enemies are usually so weak you would never need them to begin with. Each variant of Minion can be upgraded, thus making them more likely to succeed with attacks as well as being able to heal players faster. The one real highlight with the little critters is the ability to purchase clothing upgrades to make them look rather silly such as a cook’s hat.
Don’t get me wrong, Overlord is a series seen as largely underrated, it packs a lot of promise and the latest addition could have been a nice little title to sink your teeth into – all at a nice arcade price. Sadly for all the possible potential Fellowship Of Evil holds, it whittles it all away far too quickly and too carelessly, with the problems flowing on past the story through the combat and into every pore of the games overall design.
Venturing Online is meant to be fun, giving players the chance to go up against or work with complete strangers or friends, Fellowship Of Evil ends up becoming more of a frenzied blurry mess. At times during Co-op I didn’t know when my attacks begun and my partners ended, throw a group of Minions into the mix, the game doesn’t allow for much space and felt a little too cramped, especially when you think that another two people could still get involved, it would go from hectic to insane quickly. The game became quite overwhelming which leads to what fun it possesses being slowly sapped from the experience, I should also note that even in multiplayer players are limited to space and need to be together at all times or the whole process simply grinds to a halt.
Ugh, well at least these guys appear to be having fun
Graphically, Overlord: Fellowship Of Evil is poorly designed and certainly not a game befitting of the current gen consoles. The characters and surrounding land lack any real quality to them, the lack of colour leaves the whole game saturated, especially above land. I’m a huge fan of the Destroy All Humans series, sure the graphics were terrible but it held great comedy value, Fellowship Of Evil can’t even rely on that. Along with the many disappointments throughout I also endured a lot of in-game bugs, with the most prominent being the screen freeze, which took place like clockwork every five seconds or so, I attempted to remedy this by switching out of multiplayer mode to solo only to find the problem still present, it all just left me with a very sour taste in my mouth and a touch disheartened.
Overall, Overlord: Fellowship Of Evil had so much promise, especially after Codemasters made it’s announcement via Twitter, that has all to suddenly turned to disdain with its poor construction and lack of substance. The story can be completed within seven hours with up to four players if you can find three misguided fools to share your pain with.