Thursday, July 26, 2007

Game review: Overlord (XBox 360) -- One fault doom

I'm not really going to do many reviews here. It just happened that I had a couple things to say that fall into a "review" mode.

I got "Overlord" for the 360 after having read a couple decent reviews online. And it is very close to being a good game. You basically order around a bunch of rascally imps and have them do fun, destructive stuff. You get to fight a bit with a weapon and cast some spells... but the meat of the game is finding new types of goblins, new things to do with them, etc.

Pointing at a far object and sending them out to destroy it, fight it, or bring it back is fun. You can just point and release, or use the right joystick to "sweep" them wherever you want. Loads of fun, that; brushing the landscape with a horde of your devoted, twisted minion.

Problem: no map, fixed or otherwise. No overhead, semi-transparent map a la Diablo. No mini-map. None. Niente. Nada.

Which is just bad, bad, bad. The game involves a bunch of running around the countryside, your way unnaturally blocked by low rows of stones, hedges, etc. If it was totally open, such that I could run any way I wanted from point A to B, the lack of map would suck less. As it is, you have to choose -- many times -- between several wooded lanes, all of which look very similar, and which lead down paths that take a good long while to get where they're going... only to realize, no... this was the path your were just on. You got turned around in a fight or something, and forgot.

Despite all the fun bits, I just had to stop playing when it became clear I was spending 2/3 of my time running around trying to figure out where the "path to that place I saw once but couldn't get into because I hadn't completed the quest" was. Boring, distracting, frustrating and obnoxious.

It's a good reminder for us folks involved in any way with UI or experience design; don't forget the little, obvious, helpful details. 

No comments:

Post a Comment