By – Thomas Faust

Overlord PC Review 1

Codemasters are best known for their successful racing game franchises these days. In fact, that’s all they have been publishing in the last couple of years. A reboot of the Overlord games – third person action RPGs that were released in 2007 and 2009, respectively – was probably meant to change that and revitalize the publisher’s name in other gaming circles. Now that the game is out, it is more likely that Codemasters may have achieved just the opposite. Overlord: Fellowship of Evil does not live up to anyone’s expecations, and it would not be surprising if this is the last we have heard of the Overlord franchise.

With its predecessors’ third person perspective exchanged for a top down view, Fellowship of Evil aims to be a simplified hack and slash game with an additional tactical layer. You control an undead Netherghûl, aspiring to rise to the rank of Overlord, bringing more evil into the world by essentially destroying everything in your path. You’re able to summon four different kinds of minions to do your bidding: Browns are your personal bodyguards, Blues will heal you, Reds charge at enemies and explode, and Greens are able to stab your foes in the back. Collecting colored cubes allows you to summon these critters, so a lot of time will be spent stocking up on cube dispensers that are conveniently spread around the levels for no particular reason.

Should you ever run out of minions to summon, hacking and slashing your way through the lengthy levels is also an option. With only three kinds of attacks at your disposal, gameplay isn’t overly strategic and you can happily button-mash away most of the time. There are two kinds of enemies: the sort that can be swatted away like flies, and those that soak up way too much damage before finally toppling to the ground. In theory, strategic use of your minions is necessary to vanquish your foes, but just mashing buttons and occasionally conjuring some healing minions also does the trick in most cases. This lack of challenge, coupled with the sheer amount of damage some enemies can take makes the game feel incredibly unbalanced and, ultimately, boring.

Overlord PC Review 1

Your fight against all things good yields different resources, which can be used to upgrade your talents, weapons, and minions. This part of the game actually feels mildly interesting, but it suffers from a lack of variety. For instance, there is only one linear path for upgrading your Netherghûl, so it’s just a matter of gathering resources until you reach the next step. There are no skill trees and no equipment other than weapons, and as a consequence, it’s not enough to keep you invested in the progression of your character.

Speaking of being invested, the story completely failed to grab my attention. The old Overlord is dead, and you’re on track to become the new Overlord. Meanwhile, the land is overrun by a wave of goodness, which turns everything it touches, including your minions, into cute, fluffy stuff. The obvious solution is to spread fear and chaos, and just stomp everything into submission. Dark humor isn’t always easy to pull off, and there’s a fine line separating dark and edgy from pointless and cruel. Fellowship of Evil too often settles for the latter, and while I understand that you are supposed to be a being of pure evil, a lot of the visual gags seem like they’d only appeal to twelve-year-olds. Dialogues aren’t any better, with the good guys spouting inane one-liners and your own servants talking way too much. For a game that fails at being funny, Fellowship of Evil just won’t shut up.

Fellowship of Evil would probably have looked okay back when the original Overlord was released, but there’s no excuse for a game looking like this nowadays. You’ll encounter clipping errors and cheap-looking animations aplenty, and the game demonstrates the importance of good sound design by completely lacking the very same. Your weapon swooshes through the air, but it doesn’t make any sound when it connects. Instead, your foes grunt a lot when hit. Consequently, fights sound like a long string of ohs, uhs, oofs, and ahs. This gets annoying fast, and it follows you all through the game without any variation. Both local and online co-op multiplayer are supported. While local co-op is an option if you want to brave it out with a friend, the online part was already a barren wasteland mere weeks after the game’s release.

Overlord PC Review 1

Conclusion – Is It Worth The Money?

Sadly, Fellowship of Evil is neither fun nor funny. It doesn’t work as an action-RPG, and I got the feeling Codemasters didn’t quite know what kind of game exactly it was meant to be in the first place. With technical issues preventing any possible enjoyment even more, I cannot possibly recommend the game. If you’re tempted by its evil ways, you’re much better served with the original Overlord and its Raising Hell expansion, which at the time of writing had more active players than the month-old Fellowship of Evil.

Overlord: Fellowship of Evil Technical Summary:

Overlord PC Review 1

  • Time Played – 8 Hours
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • Resolution Played – 1920×1080
  • Windowed Mode – No
  • Bugs/Crashes Encountered – Lots of clipping errors
  • Control Scheme – Keyboard, Gamepad
  • DRM – Steam
  • System Specs – 3.5Ghz AMD FX-6300, AMD Radeon R9 270X, 8GB RAM
  • Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
  • Availability – Steam
  • Demo – No
  • Saved Game Location – \Users\AppData\LocalLow\Codemasters Software Ltd\Overlord Fellowship of Evil

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