Title: Overlord: Fellowship of Evil
Version Tested: PS4
Available On: Microsoft Windows, PS4, and Xbox One
Genre: Hack n Slash/Action RPG
Official Site: Overlord: Fellowship of Evil Official Site
Release Date: October 20th, 2015
“Ugh.” That is the best and most succinct way in which I can describe my feelings about Overlord: Fellowship of Evil to you, but allow me to elaborate. I want it to be understood why I can sum up my opinion of 11 hours & 25 minutes worth of game with a single sound.
The game’s concept sounds decent enough. Take the universe of the Overlord games and change the gameplay, from the hard to define multi-genre action/strategy hybrid of the first games to a top-down hack n slash action RPG. It sounds like the transition could work out all right, and that is the impression that is given upon booting up the game. The music sounds appropriately passionate and epic. The graphics, design, and presentation are appealing, for the most part. The original voice cast appears to have returned to their original roles. That special style that made the original Overlord games so distinctive is still here. This game retains the dark, mocking comedic trappings that helped burn the original games into our memories. But that is where the similarities end.
To be blunt Overlord: Fellowship of Evil is a miserable glitchy and mediocre mess, which is a shame really because as both a fan of the original Overlord game (I never got a chance to play the second one) and classic hack n slash titles, which have been incredibly underrepresented in recent console generations, I had high hopes for this. But once I got past the opening section of the game it was all downhill.
The largest issue I have with this game appeared almost immediately. It is buggy as hell. The most prominent issue is the constant, almost unceasing seizing and stuttering. At interludes of 30 seconds, all the way up to several minutes in length the game will just completely stop. The screen will literally drop to zero FPS and become a still image. Granted, when this occurs it will last for no more than perhaps 5 seconds at most. But when your game literally stops several times a minute this becomes a major issue to the point that some might consider this game unplayable. Below is some video evidence.
In addition to this, there are many more minor issues, for instance: weird things happening to the dead bodies, the giant humanoid enemies randomly flying out of the world, un-damageable enemies and invisible bosses and this one peculiar semi-exploit that I came across. In order to explain it properly, however, I must delve into this title’s other major issue, the dull gameplay.
Overlord: Fellowship of Evil hits the blandest, most uninteresting middle ground of all the top-down action RPGs combined. You walk through each level and area, both you and your goblinoid minions killing anything that approaches you with your massive arsenal of four basic attacks. With its end of level bonus tallying, linear level design, and super simplistic skill and equipment systems, which are based on neither loot nor experience it feel like they were trying to go for something akin to a Gauntlet game. But the combat here is not nearly frenetic enough to even be comparable and instead feels like it draws more from Diablo III, being slow with much plodding through many similar locations. The game suffers greatly from this mingling of stylistic influences.
“Leveling” is all currency based. Whether you are improving your personal strength, that of your weapons or that of your minions the only option available to you is to buy one of the few upgrades (in at least one of the shops you are forced to buy them one at a time and in their fixed order)available from each list with the currency you collected for that specific type of ability during any given level. You can also buy hats for your minions, but it appears they do nothing statistics wise. All of this gives little incentive to continue the grand slog through wave after wave of similar enemy. You do not get new equipment outside of the extremely limited sets of gear available in the shops, and that limited selection accounts for the only new abilities you will get throughout the entire game. All the other upgrades you and your minions will receive come in the form of strengthening the few abilities you started the game with. Since there is no real loot, and there is nothing new to gain from all of that fighting it just turns into the most basic form of a slog through the area after area and through wave after wave of the same few types of enemies.
Eventually, the combat begins to feel as though you are driving a car. You are going on a road trip, possibly with friends, and at first, it feels as though this is going to be a fun adventure, but you eventually hit an exceedingly dull stretch of road which seems to go on indefinitely. After hours of driving and becoming slowly consumed by boredom, you have a realization: the whole trip is going to be like this and you have completely forgotten why you even thought this was a good idea in the first place. Then you thank goodness that that was just a metaphor and that you don’t have to drive all the way back down that road and so you turn off the un-fun game you were just playing and go do something you know you will enjoy.
…….to get back on topic the minions are another huge point of contention I have with this game. In the previous two games, they were often your main form of devastation. You controlled the little swarms of goblins seamlessly and it felt wonderful to do so. Not so in Overlord: Fellowship of Evil. Instead, I find myself barely able to control the minions. You can theoretically tell them what to do, but outside of ordering them to stand on switches in non-combat situations, I can’t get them to do much. This becomes an issue later in the game. Many of the bosses require you to be able to control the minions properly in order to defeat them. Their strategy for most of the fight is to stand behind an energy field which is only permeable to whatever minions are its same color. I can get the minions to enter the field but with varying degrees of success. The browns will go and attack the boss, but some of them will inevitably give up and run right back to me. The reds will always listen and deal massive damage, however, if you do not position yourself so that they will run DIRECTLY into the boss after spawning they will go right passed it and explode or do nothing on the other side of the arena. I simply can’t seem to get the greens to attack in these circumstances. They will enter the field and will often simply poof in and out of existence, some hitting the boss, but most just making an astoundingly ineffectual attempt until they are vaporized.
Now for the exploit! In order to get more minions to use whilst in the field you typically attack glowing towers which produce colored cubes which give you the points, you need to summon the creatures. Another event that occurs when you are on the map is that when you clear an area of enemies loot chests to start to spring up and you get a loot counter. I eventually realized while I was getting more minion points during one such period that the game was counting the minion cubes I was acquiring as loot. I was amused and since this was more interesting than the combat I decided to see how far I could push it. Behold my results:
Unfortunately, while the game recognized my minion cubes as loot points it did not seem to reward me with any extra loot. Alas, even this game’s glitches don’t work as expected.
Despite the significant amount of glitches and despite the mundanity of the gameplay I have always been a sucker for this type of game. I’ve always enjoyed having a friend or two over and just going to town on endless hordes of enemies for hours at a time. I thought, therefore, that perhaps multiplayer could be this games tiny redeeming feature. There have been so few hack n slash games produced in the past few years that I was hopeful that despite all of the issues of this game I would be able to recommend it to, at least, the most die-hard fans of the genre, but then I looked at the price tag. Currently, on the PSN this game is selling for $23.49 (what an odd price.). I got my copy for free and I didn’t even want to keep playing it, so I implore you do not waste your money on this. Even if you somehow have played every single other genre title in existence and you play hack n slash RPGs exclusively I implore you, play another game instead. Do not waste your money. You will not have a good time.
- Gameplay: Dull, uninspired, and astoundingly glitchy.
- Graphics: Moderate. They look fine during gameplay but look wretched in-game cut-scenes.
- Sound: One of the few decent parts of the game. The music is nice, and the voice cast did a good job with what they were given.
- Presentation: It has the exterior of an Overlord game but lacks much beyond that.
- The voice acting and music are ok.
- The game is glitchy to the point that some might consider it unplayable.
- The combat is not particularly fun, even by hack n slash standards and is quite simple.
- Very limited amount of upgrades, abilities and loot.
- The price is kinda steep for this mess.