Overlord IIChris Buffa
Despite some nasty bugs, Codemasters' Overlord was a surprise hit for two reasons. First, it let us play as a bad ass looking warrior, and second, its captured one of our favorite pastimes: bossing folks around. Now bossing around the ugly returns in the aptly titled Overlord II, and while it remains to be seen whether original's annoying bugs were eliminated, new features have us drooling over what should become a guilty pleasure.
Similar to the previous game, you command gangs of ugly monsters called Minions and tell them to do evil things like attack enemies or burn their homes, except you play as the Overlad, the Overlord's kid. The youngster possesses his/her father's powers, but doesn't know how to use them. As you progress and mature, the kid learns how to harness these magical abilities and eventually cause all sorts of mayhem.
For the sequel, developer Triumph Studios went with a Roman theme. The Glorious Empire attempts to rid the world of magic and imprisons the Overlad. Fortunately, the minions bust him out and anarchy ensues. With your fellow subjects by your side (simply point at something and pull a trigger to make them go to work), you can lay waste to whole towns, burning them to ash or stomping them flat; minions can scale walls and ride mounts. Conversely, you can choose to dominate your foes and make them worship you.
If you need a break from killing thousands of people, you can escape to your throne/underground lair. It's here where civilians will come to complain about rivals (thus opening up side quests) and you can sacrifice minions to resurrect dead ones you grew attached to.
With a new environment and lots of violence, Overlord II just might be what the video game doctor ordered when it arrives on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on June 23rd.