Black and White 2 - PC

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Black and White 2 (PC)
Viewed: 3D Combination Genre:
Strategy: God game
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Lionhead Soft. Co.: Lionhead
Publishers: Electronic Arts (GB)
Released: 7 Oct 2005 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 12+
No Accessories: No Accessories


The first Black and White game was the brainchild of Populous creator Peter Molyneux. The project was a hugely ambitious one, and set out to cast the player as an all powerful god. As god you were assigned with the task of shepherding a people, and your power was directly linked to their opinion of you – they more they believed in you, the more powerful you would become. Of course, how you got them to believe in you was a matter for your own choosing. You could persuade them of the existence of a benevolent god by rescuing their sheep and babies, helping them grow drops and gather wood, healing them when they were sick. Or you could leave them in no doubt by becoming a fire and brimstone god, punishing them with lightning and fireballs, demanding human sacrifice and crushing them like ants for sport. This would have been an impressive premise enough, but the game also gave you a ‘creature’ a familiar giant animal which you could teach to become as powerful as you and which, like you, could become good or evil. The problem with the game was that because it was so ambitious, and because Molyneux did his usual trick of talking it up so much, and because it spent so long in development, it couldn’t help but disappoint. Great fun for a few days, players quickly realised that the game’s much touted depths were an illusion. The best thing about the game was its thinly concealed life lesson, that being good is much harder, but ultimately more rewarding, than being evil.

Now, after an almost equally long time in development, comes the sequel, accompanied by a much more subdues marketing campaign. This game moves the fictitious history on in time, and now your people have separated into tribes, and they all hate each other. This is playing merry hell with your divine powers, and so your task is to bring together your fractured people, who have developed new war engines and weapons the better to kill each other. Sound familiar? Once again Black and White doesn’t make much effort to hide its message. But you can use your people to conquer new lands, lands that belong to other gods, as well as using your own powers to attack or persuade them. You can help your people, who spent most of the last game in muddy huts, to build lush or horrific cities in your own image. Your creature is back, too, with more powers and in more forms than before. Without the disappointment-courting hype and fanfare that accompanied the original, Black and White 2 looks a sound proposition as an RTS with a twist.