Overlord proved to be an entertaining if not completely successful action/strategy game on its release for Xbox 360 and PC last year. Its combination of action genre elements with RTS-lite gameplay proved to be a winning formula, but a formula PlayStation 3 owners weren't able to experience. That is soon to change with the release of Overlord: Raising Hell for the PS3, which adds all the Xbox 360 game's DLC to the original release and makes a few improvements to the gameplay and presentation.
For a full run-down of what Overlord is like head over to our review of the Xbox 360 game. Read on for our early impressions of the new mini-map and the supposedly enhanced visuals.
To summarise, Overlord sees you controlling a horde of monstrous minions as you struggle to gain control of the kingdom. It's all very tongue-in-cheek, so even though you're slaughtering farm animals and villagers, you can't help but do so with a smile on your face. If a children's cartoon series was created on the topic of world domination in a fantasy realm, it'd be like this.
Gameplay is a mix of choosing the correct minions for the job (there are four very different types: browns, reds, greens and blues) and simply overpowering your foes with sheer numbers. Minions can either be pointed in a certain direction or manually controlled using the right analogue stick, while the Overlord himself is controlled like a traditional hack 'n' slash character. It all works pretty well and is unlike any other game available on the PlayStation 3.
Figuring out where you were and where minion spawn points were was a problem in the original release, so thankfully developer Triumph Studios has seen fit to add a mini-map to the lower left hand corner of the screen that shows the location of key items. Although a seemingly minor change, it helps gameplay no end, even after only a few of the PS3 game's opening levels. Considering later levels in Overlord get larger and more complex, it's sure to come in very handy indeed.
So what of the changes to the game's visuals? On Xbox 360 Overlord looked good if not spectacular, and in truth the same can be said of the PS3 game. While not final, we struggled to see any clear differences between the two versions. One area we'd have liked to have been improved is the animation of the Overlord himself, but sadly he still seems to move a little awkwardly.
Having only dabbled with Overlord on the PlayStation 3 for a few hours it's hard to say for sure how many small changes have been made to the original Xbox 360 release. The mini-map is by far the most significant addition, but whether or not that's enough to raise the game above the solid 7/10 we awarded the original release remains to be seen.
Overlord: Raising Hell is due for release exclusively on PS3 from Codemasters on June 20. Look for our review next month.