Overlord: Dark Legend Review
Overlord: Dark Legend box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Climax 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 23, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Unfortunately, as the game wears on, it starts to feel like, after perfecting the template and tone, the development team ran out of time, money, and/or steam. Some of the environments are beautiful, especially for the Wii, with lots of detail and carefully considered color palettes; others lack visual punch and are prone to graphical hiccups like pop-in. Also, with so many abilities available, we’d anticipated that Dark Legend would be the perfect game for either some mind-bending puzzles or some tough strategy battles (or both). There’s not a whole lot of either.

Overlord: Dark Legend screenshot

Apparently shooting for a casual audience, Dark Legend’s makers kept the challenge to a minimum. It takes about a full work day to finish the game, but it usually feels more like you’re watching the tale unfold than like you’re trying to accomplish a goal against significant odds. Some people will like being able to watch a game play out almost as if it’s a movie, others will like being free from frustration, and still others might be thrilled to find a title they can actually beat, but anyone looking for even a moderate challenge should look elsewhere. To us, it felt like an opportunity wasted. We understand that a game needs to be casual-accessible if it’s going to sell any copies on the Wii, but there’s no reason to dumb something down quite this far.

An adjustable difficulty setting, with the current game labeled “easy,” would have worked wonders. It would have been simple enough to tweak some of the powers your character earns along the way. In addition to unlocking new kinds of minions, you level up minion groups, increase the number of total minions you’re allowed to have, and learn magic spells. As it is, a minion’s death is a non-event, because it requires no effort to replace him (you just need to find a spawner and fork over some life energy, of which there’s plenty). Making fresh underlings a scarce commodity on higher difficulty levels would have been a great way to make the game a tad tougher without losing the casual crowd.

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All in all, Dark Legend gets a lot right, and as the Wii missed out on the well-reviewed original Overlord, gamers who own Wiis but no other gaming platforms should definitely give it a shot. The clever plot, the funny dialogue, and the ease of control all make for an experience worth having, and how does one say no to Pikmin with a touch of evil? On the other hand, Overlord newcomers who do have access to the original (360, PS3, PC) might want to start there, and those who already enjoyed that game might find themselves a little disappointed with Dark Legend.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.3
Graphics
They’re often great, especially by Wii standards, but at other times they’re mediocre or uneven.
4.9
Control
This is the best way to play Overlord.
4.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice-acting and sound effects are well-done, with lots of personality.
3.2

Play Value
Way too easy; it often feels more like a movie than a video game.

3.7
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Donning the armor of the Overlord, players become commander-in-chief of a fighting, thieving, and pillaging horde of crazed minions
  • Controlling the minions is slick and devastating, requiring only a flick of the Wii-mote to send the raucous rabble into battle.
  • Individual minions can be plucked from the horde, held by the neck and then, by vigorously shaking the Wii Remote, throttled! This stirs up the volatile life force within them, and they become a manic minion missile.
  • This exclusive Overlord adventure for Wii tells a new and twisted fairy tale. The lead character is in a Cinderella scenario with his elder and rather unpleasant brother and sister.


  • Screenshots / Images
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