NEW YORK — While I didn’t get the chance to play Overlord II during my time at Comic Con, I was given a demonstration of the game. Overlord II is the sequel to Overlord (or Overlord: Raising Hell on the PS3), in which the descendant of the protagonist from the original fights against the Glorious Empire that is out to eradicate magical creatures. To do this, you need to acquire minions to fight alongside of you and do your bidding.
Developer Triumph paid close attention to what the fans and critics of the first game said, and have added a few features to the experience this time around to enhance the quality of the title. First of all, the minion AI has been improved, which affects the gameplay in a few ways. They are smarter and capable of more destruction this time around, and are now programmed to do things such as ride mounts (shown in one of the included screenshots) or take control of different war machines.
Minions are now less expendable as well, as you can name them in order to become more attached to certain ones. If a minion you like falls in battle, you can revive him at a Minion Graveyard. They will also follow whatever alignment you choose; you’re the Overlord, so you’re evil, but you can be a ruthless evil who has been corrupted or just plain old, harmless evil.
The best description of the gameplay I heard was that Overlord is something like “Fable meets Pikmin”. The third-person perspective combined with control of the minions makes this somewhat of a real-time strategy role-playing game, and although I didn’t get to see this corruption in action (I was only able to view the one level that was on demo at the event) you could see what Codemasters meant by the general description of the game just by watching the Overlord go around attacking enemies while his minions helped out.
The core of the Overlord experience has been preserved for this sequel, but the improvements and tweaks to the visuals and gameplay look like they will make this a more enjoyable game than the previous installments. The game has the vague “Summer 2009” release date at the moment, so hopefully we will find out more about the title before then.
Overlord II is releasing across three platforms (PS3, Xbox 360 and PC) while spinoffs are being produced for both the Nintendo Wii and DS.