I'd like to talk about the difference between Pikmin and Overlord. Not the obvious difference in the fact that one is about a seven-foot warrior god and the other is about a tiny, middle-aged alien with no weapons.
Underneath that, the games are very, very similar. The primary gameplay in both involves ordering around large hordes of multicolored henchlings. The gameplay is actually almost identical. In both games, you order your henchlings one by one (throwing in Pikmin) or in hordes (using the thumb stick to control them independently). Your henchlings pick up and carry upgrades back to your base, the upgrades requiring a certain number of henchlings... when killed, you can get new henchlings without much difficulty if you return to your base, which is positioned at a specific point in each level, but not at a specific point on the world. Even the function-color of your henchlings is similar: reds are fire-based, blues are water-based, and you can squint to see many other similarities. Perhaps it's simply because those colors and powers are obvious. More likely, Overlord is fundamentally based on Pikmin.
But there is an important difference between the two, and I want to talk about that difference specifically.
In Pikmin, you have a very high camera angle, a birds-eye view. Your attempts to command single pikmin involve throwing the pikmin, and you throw it a certain distance. Your pikmin-tossing influence is therefore a circle around your avatar, and you can change your focus to any point on that circle very rapidly.
In Overlord, the camera swings way down to a just-over-the-head cam. Instead of commanding your troops to a specific point on a circle drawn around you, it's a linear command: your avatar points in the direction the camera is facing and the troops race off on that direction until they find something or have to come back.
This difference may sound a little bit unimportant, but that difference is actually what makes me like Overlord in spite of its many flaws. I'll tell you what really caught me as I played:
The way that, as you run around, you point your finger and your minions go off, smash the pots, and retrieve the goodies. Or kill the sheep, or smash the house, whatever needs to be done to whatever you're looking at. Especially great is when there's fifteen or twenty goblins streaming out, smashing things, retrieving things, a continuous stream of intelligent force.
This is somewhat similar to the effect that a standard first person shooter has: you fire your gun at something downrange, and it dies. Actually, it's even more similar to the gravity gun, where you can reach out and affect things besides enemies, and do fairly interesting and intelligent things with them.
But it's got some differences. One is that the goblins are intelligent on their own, capable of doing fairly complex things ranging from retrieving valuables to smashing targets to upgrading their equipment. Another is that, unlike the gravity gun and the bullet, goblins are an active effect that lasts several seconds. The moment you dispatch them, you can turn and dispatch more to other targets while they continue to do what they are doing.
The "stream" effect was very pronounced for me, it felt very smooth and immersive. To the point where the actual wrangling of the individual goblins and colors felt irritating and nitpicky.
So I began to think about this effect in particular, separate from the idea of having multiple colors of goblins. I couldn't really think of anything else with that feel. Some of the closest ones are things where you can set up streams. For example, ChuChu Rocket. But those aren't the same: they're clunky, slow, and not very intelligent in comparison.
Unfortunately, my quick and dirty prototypes seem to indicate that it's only possible to get this kind of feel in over-the-shoulder cam, which is absolutely the hardest kind of game for me to prototype.
Do you know what I'm talking about, and know any games that do it?