Overlord: Dark Legend Review

By Kyle Wynen on July 12, 2009

Overlord: Dark Legend for the Wii plays off of all the elements of the original Overlord, but of course adapted for the Wii's controls and seemingly the Wii's average younger player. Dark Legends is the latest title from Climax Studios, brought to store shelves by Codemasters, wherein players control a teenaged Overlord from a third-person perspective, who inturn controls a legion of gremlin-like minions. How players choose to wield their minions to navigate the numerous environments is the key to the game, but whether or not this is an engaging experience for players of any age group is the real key.

Compared to Overlord II for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which launched side by side with Overlord: Dark Legend, Dark Legend is significantly less Dark than Overlord II. Where players can devastate a village in Overlord II, players of Dark Legend will find themselves helping the general public and basically playing as a good guy a lot of the time. While this is all fine for any other average game, it seems strange that an evil Overlord would be so generous, especially considering the other two main-series games' take on good and evil. Nonetheless, right away this signals that the game is meant for younger players than Overlord II is, which is made stranger as both games have the same Teen rating.

Players are quickly introduced to the young Lord Gromgard, who on his sixteenth birthday receives a present, a gauntlet, that unlocks a previously locked throne room of the castle inwhich he resides. Once in the throne room Lord Gromgard is mystically equipped with all the nifty and ominous Overlord gear and introduced to his new, and very old, advisor, a gremlin-like demon who for the rest of the game verbally guides Lord Gromgard. No immediate threat of adventure is spurred right off the bat, instead Lord Gromgard kicks the game off by learning how to control the minions now at his disposal.

As the young Overlord, Lord Gromgard first leaves the castle on the premise of simply reaking some havoc. Lord Gromgard himself wields an axe in one hand, and in the other he wears his glowing gauntlet, allowing him to control his gremlin-like minions. The game mostly consists of combat and very simple obstacles to overcome, and as such the young Overlord commands his minions to fight for him, defend him, and do the grunt work involved in solving puzzles.

Controls are set up so that players take charge of the Overlord's movement and physical attacks with the Nunchuk, with the Wii Remote taking care of Minions. The Wii Remote casts a cursor on the screen, and depending what players point to, for example crates or enemies or items, the Overlord's horde of minions will break, attack, or pick up said objects. Camera control is passable, thanks to addition of the pointing the Wii Remote to move the camera in conjunction with using the C button to center the camera and some auto-camera implementation.

For the most part having loads of minions at your disposal makes for a very, very easy game. Other minions that join the Overlord's legion are Red, Blue and Green minions, with the original minions being brown. Browns are great for fighting, Reds throw fireballs and absord fire, Blues can swim and revive other fallen minions, and Greens can walk through poison gas and absorb poison, among other abilities. This assortment of minions are the core of the game, as you use each type together in various ways and situations.

On top being a younger-take on the Overlord games, Dark Legends is also far more stream-lined. The game progresses at a fairly fast pace compared to the other Overlord games, but is so dumbed down that for the most part there is no challenge whatsoever to the game. While the graphics are good and story and voicework are okay, levels are bland from a gameplay-perspective. Either the developers of Overlord: Dark Legends believe that a younger-geared game involves contrived and underdeveloped gameplay alongside the simple story, or there just wasn't enough care given to the game during development.

Final Thoughts

The great controls and sheer limitless legion of minions can keep players playing for quite a long time, but this is mostly attributed to the game also not being frustrating at all. Altogether the experience is strange in that it isn't challenging, isn't grin-inspiring, isn't frustrating, and is generally paced fairly well. In-all Dark Legends is a game that can keep kids in front of the TV for quite a long time and probably won't have them yelping in frustration, yet the game is simply too bland to keep any slightly more mature players feeling engaged with or inspired by Overlord: Dark Legends.

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