I have a confession to make: I had not watched Overlord before today. I had heard of it, it was in my peripheral awareness, but it didn't strike me as something I would enjoy. After becoming aware of the Mass for the Dead mobile game from Crunchyroll Games I decided it was about time I downloaded the game and got Overlord streaming on Crunchyroll to see what all the hype was about.
So, Overlord is an isekai anime, a genre where characters from our normal world find themselves transported to a new, magical one, and follows our protagonist who lives over 100 years in the future, where they have finally developed MMO games which replicate all human sensations for full game immersion.
- Mass for the Dead, the hero-collecting RPG based on the anime Overlord, is available now for iOS and Android
It sounds addictive enough, and our protagonist finds himself in the shoes of a powerful Overlord, thus the title, and starts immersing himself in the role, complete with other players serving as his underlings. But he's also some teenage dirtbag who can't stop looking at boobs or whatever.
This is where Overlord reveals its hand: Overlord is just a fairly cheap isekai anime, inspired by those that came before, with cheap laughs and a narrative that just fails to grab me in any way. Which is fitting enough, because Mass for the Dead doesn't fare much better.
The ideal adaptation
It's unsurprising when something popular, but uninspired, gets adapted into other mediums. It's even more unsurprising for me when those adaptations have just about as much inspiration behind them as whatever they are based upon. Mass for the Dead is a good adaptation of Overlord, because, from my admittedly uninitiated eyes, it is serviceable, but does the bare minimum.
The last game from Crunchyroll Games I played was Mob Psycho 100: Psychic Battle, a surprisingly polished and visually striking gacha game that recreated all of the moments from the anime and came with a beautiful art style.
Compared to that, this is cheap. All dialogue scenes are played out with static characters and text boxes, and the game always offers the chance to skip the story, because it knows that takes a back seat.
In battle, it is a turn-based RPG that does nothing unique, but it works. But the game doesn't seem to have faith in itself in any respect. It offers you the opportunity to skip pretty much everything, from the intro cutscene to all dialogue scenes, and even your first battle has an auto option. It gets you straight into the gacha mechanics and boosts you to that end-game plateau where you will struggle and grind to complete each fight - where the microtransactions look so much more appealing.
Digital slot machine
It's been a while since I've seen a gacha game this hollow. I mean, let's be clear: all gacha games boil down to digital capsule machines where the only things you can collect are all digital. They are made for people to be able to endlessly pour money into. But that is all this is.
Any good gacha game dresses up that reality. Beautiful graphics, cutscenes, gameplay, anything they can do to make the game more appetising. We've seen many games do that well. Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross has gorgeous visuals, while Dragon Ball Legends and Dragalia Lost have unique gameplay and battles. Mass for the Dead, meanwhile, has nothing.
It is just deprived of any convincing reason to play this game over, well, anything else, be it gacha RPG or, just, anything. I'm not used to a game being so hollow, but here it is.
Admittedly, it had me for a moment. I liked clicking the buttons, getting the rewards, earning some new summons, but once that's done, this is nothing. It offers nothing. Do not play this.