Black & White 2 CD Version NoGRP (Full ISO/2006)
PC | 2006 | Publisher: EA Games | Developer: Lionhead Studios | 2.88 GB
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Peter Molyneux doesnt do sequels. And though hes an ambitious and original game designer, the fact that he doesnt make many sequels puts him at a bit of a disadvantage relative to some other notable game designers. Where people like Will Wright, Sid Meier and Warren Spector can refine their designs over several different iterations, Peter and his team basically get one shot at getting things right before they move on to other projects.
To be fair, the original Black and White benefited from the lessons learned in games like Populous and Dungeon Keeper, but the best way to improve both the design and presentation of a game is just to try making it again. Given that the first game sold 2.5 million copies, a sequel makes good financial sense as well.
For those few of you who arent familiar with the game, it put you in the role of a powerful god. You had followers whose basic needs had to be provided for you had to build their towns and assign them to jobs. Though you manipulated the game with your divine hand, you also had a small creature that served as a sort of incarnation on earth. Learning from your actions, it became a sort of tool that you could use. A wide range of spells and powers also gave you the chance to carry out your will on earth. A succession of challenges pit you against rival gods on a variety of islands.
One of the teams main goals in creating a sequel is to make the game more accessible. It surprised us to learn recently that 75 of the people who bought the original Black and White werent really gamers. Accordingly, the new game goes to great lengths to explain the basic interface. Any one whos played a PC game in the last ten years is likely to find the extended tutorial a bit obnoxious. After learning how to move the camera to the left, for instance, the game will take the time to explain how to move the camera to the right. Thankfully, most of the remedial stuff is taken care of during the course of the first mission.
One of the bigger problems I had with the earlier game was that it didnt seem very rewarding to be evil. In games like Fable or Knights of the Old Republic, theres a real practical advantage in being a jerk. If you tried to play that way in the original Black and White, you did so at the expense of your own effectiveness. In other words, being evil tended to cut your support and forced you to compensate in other ways. Thankfully, thats not the case with the sequel.
The sequel determines your alignment based on your style of play rather than simple yes no scenarios. If you focus on building an impressive city, your neighbors will start to take notice. At a certain threshold, the citizens of neighboring towns will just pick up and move to your city adding their manpower to your labor force. If you focus on building up a massive army, you can just march into neighboring towns and take them over by force. The civic improvement route shifts you more towards the good side of the equation while the militaristic route shifts you more towards the bad side.