Black & White
Black and White is one of the most anticipated games ever released. It took Peter Molyneux and his Lionhead Studio ‘ s 3 years to make so it had to be a great game. Let’s check if they succeeded.
The intro explains the situation a little bit. You are a god and the village wants to worship you. They start building a temple and praise you as their god. From that time on you decide what kind of god you’ll be: good or evil……Black or White. It’s up to you to choose, but remember, every kind of action will be remembered by your people wether it was a good or evil one. That’s what is supposed to make Black and White a great game. The game’s AI is supposedly unbelievably good and there are an incredible amount of parameters that influence the game.
The game is divided into scenarios with each having and own goal which you have to achieve. i.e.: free your creature…. Ow did I forget to mention you have a creature? Well, after learning the interface and the basic features of the game you have to choose a creature. You have to choose between a cow, a monkey or a tiger. This creature functions as an avatar of you and represents your power to the people who are swayed to your cause through their admiration of the Creature. You also have to teach it the way you want it; again good or evil. You can guide it with leashes. Depending on which leash you choose (aggressive, charity, rope) you can teach your pet different tasks like casting spells, helping the villagers or just eat your people. You can see your creature as your own child because you have to raise in the way you want. Like any parent, you get attached to it.
Besides the main goal of you being a god, there are some minor quests you have to accomplish, and like every aspect of the game you can solve them either the good or the evil way. While playing the game you face your own conscience; a nasty little devil and a kindly old man. These two help you in being a god by offering you conflicting advice about various situations.
On other lands, however, there are other gods who have their own creatures and their own villages with their followers. You must try to convince those other villagers to accept you as their god instead of those other “Gods”. You must use your Miracles, your Creature and your cunning to steal followers from these other gods. Also you have to do battle between the Creatures for supremacy because when people don’t believe in you, you are no god anymore.
The interface seems to be very difficult at the beginning. It all starts with the disembodied hand; by which you can do everything. You can pick up trees, villagers, move around, cast spells etc…After the tutorial, although it’s a bit confusing in the beginning, the interface feels very natural.
The game isn’t meant to be an easy one, nor does the manual provide you lot’s of info to play the game. It teaches you the basic aspects of the game. But actually learning all of the tricks of the core strategy game will take you awhile. This game isn’t meant to be played in a couple of hours; it’s a long term investment
Black and white even has a multiplayer support. You can play together with your creature against other black and white gamers. Test your godlike skills en fighting with other creatures to take control over the world, although the multiplayer isn’t the best part of the game.
The game has a few other nice features; it can check your local weather and make it the weather in game. It can also retrieve the names from e-mail and the villagers will take the names of contacts from your address book. Casting spells can be done by clicking on them at your temple but you can also cast them by simply moving your hand in a certain way and the spell is cast. You can compare it to a “real” spell caster. These and others make the game even more attractive.
STORY: The story isn’t very original. You are a god and have to rule over the world. But Lionhead Studios have added so many features; you experience it as a whole new kind of game. There is even no game to compare it with, because it has so many features from different games.
GAMEPLAY: This is maybe the downside of the game. It goes very slow. You can’t say: “I’ve some spare time. Let’s play b&w for a couple of minutes”, because nothing will happen in the game. You can’t achieve a lot during such a little time. But you feel the evolution after playing it for an amount of time.
GRAPHICS: just great… you can zoom out, zoom in,and rotate to every angle in the world, without losing detail. This has of course a downside: the better your computer, the better the game graphics will be. So don’t trust the recommended configurations.
SOUND: also great. You can hear the villagers applaud when they are happy, dancing. The background sound effects are impressive; they depend on the current location of you. The music in the game depends on how you play the game, good or evil.
Conclusion: Black & White is a great game. It looks and sounds stunning, and its combination of game play elements and game mechanics is completely unique. You have to see it for yourself because it’s really unbelievable.