Black and White 2 Review

Come on, you can admit it, we’ve all had fantasies of playing God; throwing people around, dropping rocks on their heads, dropping them in the sea only to fish them out again and cast a healing spell, we all have that sadistic, but highly creative side to us. Well, the first Black and White gained a lot of recognition and praise for allowing us to live the fantasy, with the mentioned rock throwing being focused on to the point a lot of the mini-games required you to be able to bowl a rock with accuracy in order to get a reward. Black and White 1 was an unparalleled success; at least for it’s time, so surely a sequel could only be better? Well I’m venturing into Peter Molyneux’s imagination a second time to find out.

Good

Art Style: The graphical style of your world changes as you align yourself further to good or evil, and the contrast between a good city and an evil one, is enormous, although the Good city is, by far, the best looking. Unfortunately I suspect most will not experience the beauty of a ‘Good’ city, because it’s too damn hard to resist playing 10 pin bowling with your villagers and the nearest boulder; although the ‘Evil’ city is pretty cool to look at as well, with spikes and fire littered amongst your buildings.

Comic Relief: The two parts of your conscience definitely work fantastically well together, constantly battling to get you to do things their way, or sometimes, in the case of the evil conscience, deliberately trying to upset the other conscience by coming up with commentary such as ‘boy he burnt up good’ whenever you drop fireballs on a villager, or making lewd comments about disciple breeders to try and embarrass the good guy. Their antics add a nice comedic backdrop to the game, and they can also offer good advice, such as how to impress other towns or how to finish certain side-quests, and if the quotes in the manual are to be believed, they ‘cannot lie’ either, which is reassuring if you’ve ever played The Path, the title of which is one enormous, earth shattering façade.

Sound: The sound effects that accompany this game are varied and colourful, ranging from the sounds of Birds and Bells in the morning, to the hustling noise of crowds during the day, and the rather irritating noise of crickets chirping during the night. Depending on your level of zoom to the landscape you will hear different sounds too, being able to hear individual villagers laughing/singing, or moaning/crying in the Evil scenario, and the sound of winds when you are zoomed far away, and the Ocean when you are close to the ground, is definitely a nice touch. When at war, the soundtrack experiences its greatest moment however, and while the battle music and sounds of fighting is certainly no match for the likes of Call of Duty, it offers a nice varied break from the simple noises of everyday life in Eden.

Bad

Boundaries: You are however, limited in what you can do directly. A green ring of ‘influence’ surrounds your town, and this ring is essentially a marker of where you can perform actions with your hand; anywhere outside the ring and you cannot physically do anything, although you can still send armies and your creature outside this zone, and you can of course, throw rocks past the barrier. You can expand the ring as your town grows, and it is possible to quickly jump in and out of the influence ring, and quickly pick something up or drop something outside it, but you have to be quick to do that, and you can’t move too far from the boundary.

Conclusion

Looking back on my time with the game however, I have to say it’s surprising to see in retrospect just how straightforward it was. It really isn’t an enormously complex game on the whole; you simply go to a land, build a town and then either kill everyone else or convert them. That’s not to say the game feels unfinished or unvaried, as it will certainly entertain you for hours, but on reflection it does feel that really, like Fable 2, there was a lot of room for improvement.

Ultimately my judgement on this game is fairly straightforward, if you want a version of the Sims that’s slightly less complex, is on a much bigger scale and has many different opportunities for winding up your minions, then this is the game for you, if however, you like a game to have complexity and depth, then I’d avoid this, because it certainly is not complex, nor particularly deep.

Black and White 2 Review by Torment40