26 July 2009

Overlord: Dark Legend

Let me start out with a little background on this. I already own Overlord for the PC. I like the game, it is fun. I plan on getting Overlord 2. So when it came out for the PC I went to my local Gamestop to purchase it. They were out of stock. So I asked price 40.00 within my acceptable budget for a PC game I want. Since they are a local store and know us and what systems we buy for and been listening to me complain about the lack of Wii games for me, they pointed out Overlord Dark Legend.

My first thought was how fun! I can use the wand to sweep my minions around. Then i saw the price 50.00 hmm. So Chaos wanted a copy of Persona2 for the PS2 we got that and I decided to do something I have never done before. I rented a game. This means I had a time limit so I did something I rarely do. I played the fame through in less than a week. That means I missed some stuff and did not go searching for everything. Keep this in mind as your read.

Start up:

I almost did not play this game. Imagine this, you rent a game from your local Blockbuster. You bring it home and put it in the system . The first screen that comes up in your less than 6 month old system is that it needs to upgrade the system to play this game Yes or No? No detail, no explanation of how - nothing. I should add that I have no Internet connection on this system. It is not an option where I live. No cable, satellite is cost prohibitive so I was doubly unsure if it would even work. With a lump in my throat I selected yes expecting it to fail.

Start up:
It started the update bar and stopped around 30%. After a while (probably less time than it seemed) I had decided it has frozen I put the controller down to go restart and WHAM it finished. I guess Codemaster and Nintendo have been taking lessons from Microsoft. Information would be nice guys!

Usual historical cut scenes start. The game is presented as a bedtime story told to a young Overlord about another young Overlord on his 16th birthday. The upshot is this:

Once this was a great evil family with the Black Duke who built the area up from scratch. Over subsequent generations the family frittered away the fortune and the present Overlord is absent a lot. His wife ran off with a hero and the older siblings are either frolicking with Elves or cavorting with Dwarves leaving the youngest alone on his 16th birthday. The cook gives the young master his birthday present. Which leads him (eventually after a bit of tutorial type running around) to the throne room that has been sealed. Now the fun starts. Yep it is a Cinderella story with a slight difference.

I am still playing the first version of Overlord on my PC. I missed having as many buttons to use to get to things. A few things are a bit difficult with the controller (like selecting default spell). On the other hand after you get used to it, it is actually a pretty natural feel to use the wand and nunchuck on this game. I liked it more than I thought I would. Fairly good job Codemasters you get get a B+ on that.

The story romps right along and a lot of the old favorite stuff is there. Yep nasty hobbitses, tricksey elves and drunken dwarves. All are there. Over all the game is pretty easy and any RPG player can see where the plot is going, but it is fun enough to follow along. (I still LOVE my minions! Those and the imps in Dungeonkeeper have to be my favorite support characters of all time)

There were only two things I found annoying. The first was the repetitive phrases uttered by NPCs when you venture near them. If I hear that phrase "The way you cut through those plants.." one more time I may engage in a little Overlord activity against the television. Give us a repeat or ignore option PLEASE. The second was along the same lines but was a bit more frustrating and that was the Bard kept telling me about the bug that needed squishing after I had completed that side quest. The cook did the same about the posters in town. I went back to each and checked my journal to ensure I HAD completed them. I had. That needs to be revisited

I wish there had been more cut scenes with the Minions, I may not have found them all though. The ones that were shown I liked.

The two final bosses are a pain (as they should be) But the Elf may have had other issues. See next section for that. So I will not address that until I figure out what was technical difficult and where it really was. The game is rather short it came in at 16 hours or so. I am not complaining about that. I enjoy a game based on its story and difficulty. Parts are difficult but nothing was impossible. However it ended faster than expected. I expected a confrontation of some sort with my siblings or a final battle of semi epic proportions. At least the townspeople throwing rotten veggies at the siblings. I do not mind the way it ended it just seemed a bit abrupt as if the coders were told "ok that's enough now tack on something to end it."

Technical stuff:
Ok already mentioned the update. I had locks and freezes as I approached endgame. They occurred after I got the side quest with the gnome statues and continued until I defeated Erasmus. I suspect memory issues from the way it acted. It would lock at a loading screen for the town of Meadowsweet and for the Elven areas both at load of area and during battle. Once I was past the elven areas it ran fine again. The issue MAY have been a scratch on the disk, but I think not. Locale and actions performed for locks was too varied. I considered trashing the game more than once due to this.

Some graphic weirdness ala old Sonic games. i.e.: something did not load then finally did. Usually it was an obstacle or background but still I noticed it.

One area kept telling me there was a mana device present even after I picked it up. I wasted time and locked up several times looking for it.

Fun factor:

I liked the game. I was prepared to not based on some other gamers' feedback. I would definitely replay it. So that ranks high. The minions are hysterical and the jester is fun. The missions are doable in a reasonable amount of time. I like that I do not have to spend 4 hours to get 1 mission done.

Upshot: I like it. It is great little game and immensely enjoyable. I give it a 4 or 4 and half out of 5 (provided the tech issues were a bad disk and not bad programming otherwise drop it .5 for that.) I encourage you to try it. However, I will not pay 50.00 for it. Sorry guys that is too much 40.00 MAYBE if I feel flush. 30.00 probably, 25.00 definitely. Maybe your pricing structure needs to be revisited.

15 July 2009

Gaming Backlog: Devil May Cry (PS2)

Ah HA! I finished one. Fr those of you who do not know I have a gaming backlog like you would not believe. But at last I finished Devil May Cry. Game play was good. I did not do a completest game. So impressions are from a first play through without annoyances.

Start up and synopsis:
The game starts out with a cut scene of Dante sitting in his office as a long willowy woman comes crashing through the window. Interesting way to get some one's attention. She proceeds to try to kill him, then when that fails she hires him. All normal for Dante.

So off they go to a Castle on an island and now things start to get strange. First Trish as we have been told her name is goes vaulting up to the top of a cliff leaving Dante to walk up the long way. This theme runs through the whole game. Yep, that's right Dante can't jump for shit. So off he goes walking.

Several hours (game play time), a few platforms and some cool weapons later, he finds Trish again and guess what? She is working for the bad guy. Shock! You mean the woman that looks a LOT like Dante's mother who just happens to come into his office through the window and can jump sheer cliff-faces in a single bound is a DEMON? (or are they devils? Still fuzzy on that.) So now it is time for her to deliver Dante to her boss and guess what, yep she fails.

Now comes the weirdness. Dante is starting to clue into what is happening (never mind the PLAYER is smarter than the supposed professional in this and has figured it out LONG ago.) Dante goes for the big guy. Big guy almost gets him but guess what yep the woman saves him (why? Dante gets all emo over it (Talk about picking the wrong women) Goes off fights some more and guess what? Yep, Trish shows up able to function in spite of being deaded a while ago by her ex employer. OK Then comes the REALLY stupid stuff. Starfox/Sonic Adventure style flying of a museum relic that Dante just HAPPENS to know how to fly and a last minute getaway before the bad guy's corpse and any remaining minions are supposedly buried under a ton of rubble.

Well we will see about that there are 3 sequels after all.

The moves are fun to do, not annoying ones that you have to contort your fingers into pretzel shapes in order to accomplish anything and even auto mode is playable. Except once it is on, you cannot turn it off. The biggest complaints I have are lack of the ability to change my camera and Dante can't jump. Look I do not mind the occasion engine controlled jump from the correct spot but I should be able to jump BACK. Not fall down and have to climb all over.

Game is mission oriented grades applied to mission upon completion based on object collected, NPCs whacked and time.


Don't know if it is my set, the switcher box or what but at times backgrounds and graphics were too muddy. Had to turn it up all the way on the game to see things like ladders against the wall. I do not have to do that on other games so suspect it is the overall clarity of the graphics in the game. Dark is good, muddy is bad.

No locks, no bugs, no issues Good solid coding. Great job on that.

Fun factor:
Overall the game was good. Dante definitely earns the title of Badass. Missions for the most part go fast with a few exceptions caused by the difficulty seeing and getting used the inability to turn the camera to get in the right spot for a jump. Will probably replay it at least one in Dante Must Die mode.

Bosses in the game on Normal Mode are hard, but for the most part not impossible to beat even first time through. The story line is acceptable and only gets ridiculous near the end. The female character, Trish, is rather lame. There are major holes in the RPG plot. But hey for a shooter it has more plot than most. Give it 4.5 out of 5
The ending was a too stupid to warrant that last .5.

I started DMC 2 Can anyone tell me why Dante now reminds me of the Prince in PoP Sands of Time? Hmm