It’s not often we get to play as the real bad guys. Good is most definitely what it says on the tin in videogame circles, so when we do get the chance to play as nothing but pure unadulterated evil, it’s something to look forward to, needing a whole different mindset to the norm. The Overlord series has positively thrived (or should that be negatively?) with a couple of games on Xbox 360 that allowed us to get in touch with our bad side, kill all things fluffy and send out a huge army of minions to deal with our most devilish deeds.

Now though Codemasters have brought the Overlord to Xbox One with a whole new quest that sees no less than four Netherghuls, those undead servants of evil, being resurrected in an attempt to see evil overpower good once more, all in the absence of a true Overlord. With the original scriptwriter on board, and the power of Codies behind it, we should be seeing nothing but the very best in evil action with Fellowship of Evil.

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But is that what we have got? Hell no, for Overlord: Fellowship of Evil is nothing more than a bug-ridden, glitching ride through the depths of hell. In more ways than one!

That said, I’ve been strangely drawn towards what the latest Overlord title brings. I’m not in anyway amazed by the visuals or told a deep unfrogettable story via the audio cues, but the gameplay as a whole, no matter how repetitive and glitchy it may be, has dragged me in.

Now, I can’t for one minute try to tell you that I care one iota for the background story and it’s a bit of a shame that the narration which long time Overlord sidekick Gnarl tells is completely overlooked, but for the record, I guess I should give you some inkling as to how things are panning out. Set after the events found in the brilliant Overlord II, the world has been overrun with goodness and all things pink, fluffy and a world away from the evil that the minions wish it to be. After being summoned by Gnarl, it is your task to help send the world back into a spiral of oblivion, all with the help of the usual minion helpers.

Unfortunately none of it works out quite like that.

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With four Netherghuls in place, all with completely different skillsets, we should be given the chance to play through the game, possibly multiple times, in order to experience everything on offer. But whether we decide to order our minions about with the range attacking Malady or Cryos, or prefer to get up close and personal with either Inferna or Hakon, the game plays pretty similar each time. Granted, team up with a friend or three and the combinations of warlords do allow for some slightly strategic battles, but running around, dragging enemies this way and that before unleashing a flurry of mashing attacks is basically what it all boils down to.

Throughout your playthrough, you’ll find three distinct game modes, all of which have been put together to help the flow of the game succeed, whereas in reality, they have done nothing other than to show what a bodge Fellowship of Evil really is. Going out on a killing spree, clearing areas of do-gooders with either your chosen character, or with the minions you’ve accumulated is the standard fare, but the fighting mechanics boil down to nothing more than hammering the attack button for all it’s worth, occasionally holding back to deal out a special attack whenever you have access to its power. There is little scope for exploration either, seeing you being forced down similar paths, in order to get to the next mission objective.

Destroy everything put in front of you and you’ll be treated to a veritable feast of treasure chests and loot, all of which can be collected and then used to upgrade your minions or your skills. That is if the loot bothers appearing, as much like the rest of the game, whether it appears or not is all down to luck, with many a time the loot boxes glitching to give us nothing. Occasionally we’ll see the fighting areas that preceed the treasure dismissed in favour of a point to point race, avoiding the odd obstacle, swinging scythes and flame throwing traps on the way. Get to the end before the time runs out and you’ll be praised. Don’t…and well. you’ll just move on to the next objective like nothing more has happened.

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Hit all your objectives and complete the mission in hand and you’ll find yourself back in the Overlord hub, listening to some rubbish that is being spouting off by Gnarl, prior to visiting certain ‘shop keepers’ for the chance to spend your loot points. To be fair, this is one area that seemingly works as intended and there is quite possibly more fun involved spending your well earned treasure, upgrading minions, characters and the like to a fairly decent level. Unfortunately, it isn’t long before we need to hit the map screen again, choose our mission from the three acts available and get dragged back into the action. Oh joy.

You see, the problem with Fellowship of Evil is that the numerous bugs and glitches present play a huge role in your experience. The Xbox One is at the pinnacle of current gaming systems, and for Codemasters to release something that is so broken and so unloved is pretty disgusting. Admittedly, the issues do occasionally raise a laugh; Ogres standing still or shaking violently on the spot could possibly be overlooked and loot refusing to appear could also be pushed to one side.

However, for a game that is so reliant on those lovely little minions, I can’t for one minute pretend that the issues surrounding them are anything but hugely annoying. Minions will, without warning, completely disappear, leaving you on your lonesome to fight the powers of good. Other times, they’ll spawn in huge numbers before running away like never before. You can also forget about them attacking, healing or stealthing like they should be because for much of the game, they’ll stand around like nothing is ever happening, refusing to lend a hand in any way. You may even find yourself having to do the work of the minions and go looting for your own treasure. I mean c’mon, what kind of master does that dirty work himself?

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Overlord Fellowship of Evil should have been the greatest Overlord game to date. The power of Xbox One should have been harnessed, we should have been seeing a ton of minions scrapping like never before, with multiple Browns ganging up on enemies, the Reds dishing out some stunning explosive power, the Greens assassinating like the very best of them, and the Blues helping keep our main characters as healthy as possible.

But we haven’t got that at all and I’m massively disappointed with a slack, non-cared for romp through the netherworld that isn’t in any way enhanced by the inclusion of both a local and online cooperative mode. Both of which are just as buggy as when you take to the dark worlds as a solo player. In fact, I’d go as far as to say this is the glitchiest game currently available on Xbox One and makes the original Goat Simulator look like a breeze.

Unless you are anything but the biggest minion fan, or are possibly just looking for something to sit down with a mate, mindlessly bashing your way through in order to pick up some achievements, then you really should be leaving Overlord: Fellowship of Evil well alone.

And that makes me sad. Very sad.

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6 years ago

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