Wii Review: Overlord Dark Legend

Master! This Wii back-story is damn good…

Set in a time before the original game, players take the role of a new young Overlord. As he revels in command of the Minions, our trainee tyrant will be able to take his growing pains out on the local fairy tale inhabitants as he protects his castle and lands.
The original Overlord was a game that let you choose to be good or evil…well, as good or as evil as you wanted to be. Overlord Dark Legend puts you in the boots of the original Overlord which helps to explain some of the unanswered questions raised at the end of the first game surrounding your character and that of the original Overlord you replaced.

There has been no signs of Pikmin 3 yet from Nintendo, so Overlord Dark Legend tries to fill that gap on the Wii with intuitive controls that are simplified, while maintaining the humour and style of Overlord without compromise. You may argue that it isn’t in the same league as the other console versions in terms of graphics, but this instalment proves that visuals aren’t everything if you have a game that works well.

The point and click nature of Dark Legend works well and feels very natural, despite the game being somewhat easy and lacking a fundamental challenge for hardcore gamers. Having extensively played the first game on the Legendary and Normal difficulties, there really is no comparision between the games. The original game is still harder than that of Dark Legend, but it doesn’t stop it from being fun to play. It might have been nice to have some new additions like different minions, but being a prequel it wouldn’t make much sense to have them included in the game.

The story of Dark Legend is well written and manages to keep up the standards of storytelling that the other games have. It’s odd for a Wii game to get this much attention, but it’s quite obvious that Codemasters believe in the Pikmin/Fable-like game. I suppose that is the best way of describing the series, but it does do just enough to stand on its own two feet. It doesn’t need fancy gimmicks to stand out, all it needs is good control and a dark fantasy tale that will appeal to older and younger gamers alike.
I guess if I have anything bad to say about the series, it’s that if you want to learn the entire Overlord story you’ll have to own a Wii, DS and either PS3/PC/Xbox 360. I also seriously doubt that these are going to be the last Overlord games, I have it on very good knowledge that they will be making future games for plenty of years to come. I do hope that Dark Legend gets a Wii sequel since there is a lot of scope for the story to still take in terms of back-story. I have to say that Rhianna Pratchett has done a fantastic job in scripting the story for the series and I hope that she continues to involve herself in it for the inevitable additional games.

Visually, Dark Legend looks pretty good for a Wii game. It runs at 480p and while character models are a bit blocky, the levels are well detailed and the framerate is fairly steady. It won’t blow away those with a PS3 or Xbox 360, but it’s good for what the hardware is capable of. Of course, the great script would count for nothing if the voice-acting wasn’t any good. Luckily, it’s just as good as the other games and still has a direct line to my funny bone.

The Verdict

Overlord: Dark Legend manages to keep all the humour and style of the console games without any hiccups. The gameplay fits well to the Wii and I hope the series continues to have future games on the system, let’s just hope that if they do another one that it is more challenging. Other than that, it’s a great game for fans and newcomers who love a dark fantasy story.