Hello again Completionists and welcome to issue 2 of my A to Z. This time my favourite game beginning with B.
B – Black and White 2 – Lionhead
Black and White 2 came out of the mind of Peter Molyneux, known across gaming for his
lies overexcitement and overpromising. Back in 2005 however, he had created a sequel to one of the more interesting games I’ve played – Black and White.
The premise of both the original and 2 is that you are a god called down to help the civilians who require his or her aid. There are two aspects to your godhood; your good/evil nature and your physical representation – the rather gangly, oversized creature you choose at the beginning of the game.
I remember reading about Black and White 2 repeatedly in PC Gamer magazine and knowing that it was a game I really wanted to play. The biggest draw was the goofy looking cow. This creature grew with you and developed a persona of its own, reflective of your own actions as a god. Be an evil god and encourage evil behaviours (eating citizens, destroying buildings), be a good god and encourage good behaviours (gather resources, fertilise farms), or be complete opposites (harder to pull off but evil/good is useful).
You don’t have to have the cow – there are a few others to choose from, each of which grow to look like their alignment. Good cows are soft and fluffy and glow whilst evil wolves grow skinny and have large fangs.
Leaving the creature alone for a while (a dangerous thing to do while it is young), your role as a god is largely to conquer your opposition through either war or peaceful dominance. – showing the opposing population that you will either flatten them in battle or that you are a much nicer leader to live under.
In order to do this, you construct your own settlements and encourage worship, which in turn generates Mana, which then allows you to purchase more things which help grow your civilisation. As your evil/good alignment develops, your constructions start to reflect this. The central point of any settlement in particular, will start to develop spiked structures and spout fire from its fountain if you choose to take the evil path, or rounded temple like features and a much more pleasant water fountain if you prefer to be good.
You can also buy Miracles – essentially spells that allow you to throw fireballs, generate rain or perhaps an earthquake.
To ‘help’ you in your godhood, you are introduced to two representations of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ – a small bearded man in white and a devil respectively. They encourage and guide the player down the good and evil paths, celebrating when the player makes certain decisions and does certain actions. Going to war, for example, will have the devil coming out to cheer your army on. Whilst the pair are humorous and entertaining, they quickly lose their shine when you are 5 hours deep and they are repeating the same lines.
I found the game challenging as a youngster, not least because the opposition were also a challenge.
I didn’t have the skills then to manage lots of the little things that Black and White 2 throws at you. I’m tempted to make a return to the game and see if I fare any better with some years behind me.
Honorable Mentions: I don’t have any honorable mentions sadly. I enjoy Borderlands 2 but not enough to warrant a mention here sadly.
Next week we have a look at the letter C.