|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Triumph Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Codemasters||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 24, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2; 2 Online||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
Overlord: Raising Hell is an RTS-like action/adventure title in the mold of Pikmin. Instead of using cute, little onion-spawns to help you put your spaceship back together, you'll be in control of a snarling bunch of goblins tasked with reestablishing your dark empire and dominion over the Abyss. The concept sounds quite entertaining, and for the most part it is. Unfortunately, a few technical issues hamper this PS3 title, and the simple challenges, while fun, don't manage to be particularly engaging.
Overlord originally released on the Xbox 360 to mixed reviews. Subsequently, the title was released for the PC - arguably the game's best outing. Overlord: Raising Hell encompasses all the material of the original 360 release, plus the additional downloadable content and several upgrades including new realms, a mini-map, legendary difficulty, local split-screen multiplayer, and Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound support. What the title doesn't improve upon is the sluggish multiplayer gameplay and the somewhat mediocre visuals. Even worse, the game's fraught with technical issues such as a glitch-filled framerate and lethargic load times. Still, the game has its moments of fun, snappy dialogue, and niche gameplay.
For those who've never played the original, Overlord: Raising Hell has the player reincarnate as a dark lord whose evil empire was destroyed during the last cycle of evil. As the Overlord, you will be in control of a horde of minions, a host of magical spells, powerful armaments, and a dark tower. The main gameplay mechanic deals with the size, make up, and experience of your beastly minions. The Overlord is more than competent to fight on his own (more on that later), but a true master of evil has others do the work for him. Consequently, the Overlord has four different types of minions that are more than eager to do his bidding.
Browns are your foot soldiers. They are good melee fighters and are quick to pick up and use implements of war. Reds are fiery archers. These little greeblies are inept at hand-to-hand combat, but they pack a long-ranged fireball attack and can absorb fire that stands in your path. Greens are stealthy assassins. They are nearly invisible to your foes and are incredibly lethal when attacking from behind. Finally, Blues can resurrect your other minions, swim in water, and do magical damage. Successful Overlords will have to strategically use the distinct properties of each minion in order to advance. Additionally, if you can keep minions around long enough, they will find weapons and buffs that will increase their experience and your power.
As you progress through the game, you will also be able to improve your spell casting by expanding your knowledge of the four magical domains (Fire, Domination, Shield, and Minion spells). These spells allow you to do direct damage to foes, slow and confuse the enemy, protect yourself and your minions, and strengthen and rile up your filthy horde. Magical might is the best demonstration of the Overlord's power. However, melee opportunities also abound.