Overlord was a unique blend of Pikmin and Fable.
Overall, Overlord was a fun game. I liked how they mixed elements of Pikmin with elements of Fable. The puzzles were fun, I loved exploring. The combat was fun. The game was just a blast to play through, but there was alot of non-gameplay related things I hated about it. I WISH the storyline was good, but it was down right awful. There wasn't enough humor and the voice acting is some of the worst I've heard in a long time.
If you can look past those flaws, this is still a pretty damn fun game.
Overlord is a basic Action RPG with some Pikmin style RTS elements thrown in. The RTS elements actually outweight the action you control over as your avatar in the game, just like Pikmin. You play as an Overlord, that controls overr various kinds of minions. These minions follow you around and you can send them off to do certain tasks or into battle, just like Pikmin. So yeah, this is a basic Pikmin rip off with some RPG elements thrown in to make a rather deep and fun game.
You can control between 5 to 50 Minions in the game. There are four types of Minions that can do various tasks. The Brown Minions are your tanks, they're strong and can equip weapons they find on the ground, but they're weak against fire and magic. The Blue Minions can walk in water, they can heal any fallen Minion, and they can fight magical beings, but they're weak fighters and can be killed easily. The Red Minions shoot fireballs, they can walk in fire, and put out fires. The Green Minions can consume poison fields, they're decent fights that can ambush enemies by jumping on their backs.
Each Minion have their on skills in battle, so fighting some monsters do require you to switch between them, but switching Minions is a task. You can select All Minions by pressing the R Trigger, or hold down to pop up a menu to only select a single race. You can put your minions in "Guard" mode by pressing the Y button too. This is good for strategic moments for your Red and Green Minions. Guarding is easy to do, but switch between racing is HARD and barely worth attempting. I would rather let my minions die off than switch around.
Kinda like in Fable, when you kill an enemy, they drop an orb. So for example, when you kill a sheep, it will drop a Brown orb, or if you kill a water bug it will drop a Blue orb. Each orb you collect means you can harvest more Minions. Within the world map, you will find portals where you can gather more Minions or to send your Minions back to the castle. This is kinda like the Flower buds in Pikmin, except they're scattered across the world in various spots.
Once you gather a ton of orbs, you can go into your basement of your castle to upgrade your items with them. It costs a few thousand gold to make a new weapon or piece of armor, but to strengthen them you need to forge them with your minions by sacrificing them. Each Minion color has a special attribute. This is another thing very similar to Fable I think. In Fable you have to go to your original castle, that's where you distribute your orbs to your various skills. It's the same item but with your weapons. A Brown orb will make your Sword stronger, but a Green orb can give you a higher critical attack. There's a cap of how many minions you can upgrade with, so you have to choose wisely.
The game revolves around alot of puzzle solving, well, like Pikmin. You don't actually pick things up, but your Minions do. So there's alot of times that requires you to send your Minions off by themselves to pick up a heavy item that requires 10 or so Minions, while you send the rest off to defend the carrying Minions. They have to then drop it off at a warp point. There are moments where you have to send a Minion to pick up a bomb to blow up some rocks. I can't stress this enough, it's ALOT like Pikmin.
The way you max out your HP and MP is by collecting statues that boost your stats. This is a bit like Zelda in a way. The controls remind me of Zelda as well. The way you control the camera is very much Zelda, there is no true 360 analog camera control, as the right stick is used for your Minions, so you have to use the L trigger for the camera, which can get out of the way at times. There's also the Z-Targeting element of the game, which is straight out of the Zelda text book.
----------Characters / Story----------
You play as the... Overlord. You play as a silent protagonist.. or should I say antagonist? Either way, you was awaken by your minions to reclaim your castle and to over take the land.
This was all fine and good on paper, but overall the story stinks! Kinda like Fable, you can choose a good or evil path. In the good path, you can save towns and people, but you still rule over the land side. In the evil path you can just rule everything with an iron fist. It's much a huge difference, as the story and (lack of) characters almost ruin the game. You're given plenty of choices to determine the outcome of the game. I went with the good path, so maybe that's why I hated the game so much? Even going with the good path, you still rule over everything, yet, you're still fighting evil and thieves. It makes no sense. The ending also made no sense. I won't hint at it, or spoil it, but it is seriously one of the worst endings to a game I've seen since Summoner 2.
One thing I was expecting about of this game was ALOT of humor. It wasn't there to be honest. There was a couple times when I chuckled, like when your minions would wear a pumpkin hat or pee after drinking, but that was about it.
The overall style of the game reminds me of Fable or Enclave for the Xbox. The artstyle has a very very "British" look to it. The lands are lush, the castles are dark. The people are deformed and ugly.
I think the Overlord looks cool, and so does your castle and minions. I like the layout of the world, some of the enemies look cool, especially the boss fights. I HATE the cutscenes. The cutscenes are an ugly mess, if you played any WRPG within the last 5 years then you'll know what I'm talking about. Terrible edit sequences between camera angles, sometimes the screen will even go black between shots, heck, in the very last cutscene the music even stops between camera switches. The character models are UGLY as sin. Their mouths don't match the words they're saying. Its just a mess and I haven't played a single WRPG with a good stylish cutscene.
I only ran into a few annoying glitches. There was a few framerate drops when you send out a ton of minions after a ton of enemies. There is alot of bad clipping. I hate the save function in this game. Everything is autosave, but only when you reach a new area. It's just a little note that flashes that it saves too. I was always worried if it saved or not when I shut the game down. I don't want to worry about that.
I liked the music, which is a rarity for me in WRPGs. It's pretty generic Lord of the Rings inspired music, but it fits the game. There are a few moments where the music felt out of place (the cutscenes at the end of the game), otherwise it was good stuff.
The voice work is a huge pet peeve with me. While I liked the minions voices, and even the main minion that guides you through the game. I HATE the human or elf voices. It sounds like they pulled a few bums off of the street to do the voice overs. The voices don't even match the mouth movements either.
The world map progresses kinda similar to Fable. You start off in a castle, which you can then warp to a starting gate. From this gate, you can move around the country side, find a town and various linking dungeons. This original gate will link to you various other gates. Once you find more gates, the easier it is to move across the game.
Overall I liked the map, but it does have it's faults. I love that you can slowly open up each new map with your minions and powers. This brings me to mind of Zelda. You will be teased with a bunch of shortcuts and locked gates, then you'll slowly unlock them along the way making traveling easier as you go, while expanding the world. The roads are fairly small though. There are a few big open spaces in the game, but you'll mostly be traveling through small roads after small road.
The towns are practically worthless. There's no one worth chatting with, there's never a sidequest to unlock. The towns might as well be part of the field or dungeon.
Your castle is basically your hub. Within it you can go to a dungeon and fight previously killed monsters. You can upgrade your weapons. You can even change the look of your castle and build it up. This is kinda like Suikoden in a way.
I should also say, this game doesn't feature a Mini-map or any overview map. Alot of people complained about this, but it didn't bug me at all. The areas aren't very big, so it's not easy to get lost or confused. I never onced thought that a minimap was needed while playing this.
----------Time to Complete Game----------
Overlord could be beaten in a much shorter time frame, but I made sure I did all the sidequests possible, and I harvested a TON of minions before the final battle. The ending was ridiculous, like most of the story.