This time around some effort has been made to develop a bond between you and your minions through experience. Your hard working slaves will level up as they're used throughout the game, so if one of them dies it'll affect your whole minion team. Thankfully you can sacrifice some lesser minions to resurrect them, and this helps them become more than just the browns, reds, blues and greens.
The Overlord's magical abilities have also been expanded, making his attacks much more useful this time around. These, along with weapons, can be upgraded in the game's main hub, so there's a strong sense that you're growing as an all-powerful evil entity as you progress through the campaign. There's certainly no sense that developer Triumph is short-changing anyone with this sequel, as the campaign is long and backed up by some very solid and enjoyable two-player game modes that will keep you playing for some time.
There are still the odd few problems, such as the wayward camera and the game's occasional inability to figure out if you want to move minions or get a better shot of what's going on, but on the whole the game is far more polished than the original. Minion AI is considerably better here, so you're less likely to find yourself shouting very bad words at them as they repeatedly suicide in water. They will still get stuck from time to time, but as long as they don't die they'll just return to the netherworld. The mini-map is perhaps the biggest issue. For some reason the map in Dark Legend is far better, with what's on offer here not really being detailed enough to do much more than vaguely point you in the right direction.
Overlord was a solid-looking game on its release, but it didn't dazzle with its visuals. Overlord II certainly has more going for it in this area, with the game definitely benefiting from being the studio's second next-gen effort. The Overlord is particularly well detailed, making him a much more imposing character than in the original game. The minions, too, look far better than before, especially when wearing the multitude of disguises available to them - and there's something evil yet cute about them riding like maniacs on top of creatures.
Special mention must go to the game's audio work, with the musical score through to the superb minion voices fitting the tone perfectly. The minions are chattier than in the original game, so you'll hear them shout out far more catchphrases and even sing songs - which you'd really have to be a bitter scrooge to not raise a smile at. Minion leader Gnarl is once again voiced brilliantly and acts as a consistent help figure throughout the campaign, while your jester Quaver is again on hand to take a beating - although his annoying voice means it's fully justified.
Overlord II is a solid improvement on the original and great fun for newcomers and existing fans. The core gameplay hasn't changed too much, but small tweaks here and there and the introduction of mounts helps keep things fresh. It's also a far smarter game in terms of presentation, with Triumph able to bring the game world into the modern era very successfully. If you’ve always wanted to command a group of ugly creatures that can sing Ring a Ring o' Roses, Overlord II comes highly recommended.
VideoGamer.com Score8 Score out of 10
- Good sense of humour
- Smart visuals
- Subtle tweaks improve gameplay
- Camera and map issues