PUBLISHER / DEVELOPER: EA / Lionhead Studios
Now I am not sure if any of you folks out there are old enough to play, let alone heard
of, classic game such as Populous...but the man, the myth, the legend, Peter
Molyneux, is back. This time he is leading the force at Lionhead and they came out with this
years kick ass, game of the year nominee (if not winner), drink till the cows come home, Black & White.
Now some games suck, and some games are good. Well let me tell you folks this one
ROCKS! Black &White blends together the perfect balance of
micro-management, along with land conquest, combat, and creature love. This game is
visually beautiful, but not 'GF3 needed or I won't run at all' lovely, but the
graphics are great even on lesser systems (fenris notes - Yeah, like MY
machine you ape f-cker)
This game isn't the type you can finish in one sit down, you will play for hours (and
by hours I mean days) on end, teaching your creature new tricks, fighting other creatures,
dancing with other creatures (if that's your fancy) managing your city,
completing the in game quests and mini-quests. The list goes on and on....
Black & White plays like no other game out on the market right now. In what
other game can you teach your creature to set buildings on fire, then teach him to put
them out?? The controls for the game itself are easy to use, and it has a helpful
(but long) tutorial at the beginning of the game that teaches you the basics. The
only problem is, whenever you want to make a new game, you have to go through the tutorial
again. Well that is what you had to do, prior to the patch that
recently came out. You can now totally skip the tutorial, and get right into the
fray. But if you are new to B&W, tough it out and go through it at least once.
Now the name Black & White basically details what type of character you can be in
the game. Will you be just? Will you punish all those innocent villagers that don't
worship you? Will you be 'good' or 'evil'? These questions you have to ask
yourself again and again while playing the game, and anything you do will effect your
status as a God, and if you have the 'learning leash' on it will effect the way
your creature will grow and learn.
The more evil you (as a God not your creature) become, affects the way your temple and
hand appears. The more evil your are your hand starts to become deformed, and more
veins are shown. Your temple also starts to go blood red, and spikes appear out of
it. While if you are good, your hand is, well, normal looking. At one point in
the game, my horse (unicorn at this point like above) was glowing with goodness, bright
colors coming off of it. While my hand and temple were blood red. I was evil,
and my horse was good. Good thing I didn't teach him to sacrifice villagers, that
was my job. Well not all villagers, just their first, second and third born.
When you first start off you are given a small village, some people, and some basic
supplies. It is up to you to build your little village into a booming community.
It is up to you, to get other villages into believing in you as a God, and
increase your area of influence. The more people believe in you and the more belief
you gain through various acts (whether it be you chucking some rocks around or healing the
sick) the farther you can reach and interact with the people around land and the terrain.
The visual effects in this game are superb! The graphics are nice, and like I
said before you don't need a god like machine in order to play the game. The Audio
effects are also nice, but here is also where Black & White sets itself apart from the
rest. In game, you can have your MP3's playing, and your creature will dance
to whatever style of music you have playing! Also (rumor has it) you can teach your
creature to like or dislike certain types of music in your playlist! This, along
with the fact that each creature dances a bit different (Horse dancing normally is like an
Irish jig) will make for countless hours of fun, watching your creature dance.
Dancing isn't the only thing that is unique to each different type of creature.
Each creature has their own fighting style. Now I don't know all the
different styles that each creature fights with, but I know my Horse fights like an Irish
boxer. Dukes up, and ready to punch some teeth out, like this poor goody goody Fox
The spell effects and creature models are just sweet in this game. I
haven't played a game were I said 'Holly Sh*t look at this.....' as much when I play
B&W. The spell are not only visually entertaining, but they are just darn fun to
cast. With the ability to cast regular and super versions of some
spells, you are just itching to cast those fireballs again...and again.....
The audio effects are also worth mentioning. The voice acting in this game is the
best I have seen in a long time! The way some of the actors talk that you encounter
in your journeys is well worth the cost of the game itself. The Good and Evil gods
on your shoulder are very well done, and you have to let your mouse sit there for a while
and the fun will really begin. They both will do a little skit if you wait about 5
minutes, and don't move the mouse around. They are worth the wait.
In the first map you encounter some folk along the shore who need your assistance in
building their boat. They sing a song for you every time you help them out. I
don't know where the folk at Lionhead came up with the lyrics, but they are funny as hell.
Teaching your creature to do things, and then watching them do them after you taught
them is such a rewarding experience. Its not like us humans, who say "I'll
never drink that much again...." and then next weekend, lo and behold, who's praying
once again to the high and mighty porcelain gods? Ehh ehh, your creature does what
you want it to do, or you beat it (depending on your style of gameplay) (fenris notes
- eheheh.. you beat it. I think he liked the beating part, if you smell what the
Rock is cooking ;)
Something worth noting, that most people may not notice, is the gravity in Black &
White. The gravity in this game is very realistic. When you chuck those
boulders around, you know for sure that they are coming down, and quickly! Also if
you are more devious, or just mean, you can place large boulders on slopes above enemy
villages, then watch as the rocks come tumbling down the hill, and crush your opponent
into ground. The Fireball spell also follows this too, where at times you can lob
shots from your area of influence into another gods area, then watch the Fireball skim
along the ground burning everything in its path, then burn out.
Built into the game itself, is a creature home page feature. While you are
playing, it will automatically take some screen shots of your creature, and load them into
a B&W directory that you can load up with Internet Explorer or Netscape, and look at
some of your creature status (i.e. age) and check out some screen shots. The beauty
of this is the files are already in .html format, so you can upload them to the net,
and have a homepage of your creature! Friends, family, enemies, crazy Stryker who surfs the internet at wee hours of the
morning, anyone can come and check out your creature.
Well some of you still may be 'Humming and Hawing' about forking over some cash for
this game, let me tell you it is well worth it. The ability to
replay this game again and again, and enjoy new experiences each time you play is just
phenomenal. The online capabilities to battle other gods is another great feature
built into this game. This allows you and your creature to interact with other gods.
Where you and your little guy can learn new tricks, new spells, and possibly
gain new friends. I can't seem to put this game down. I may leave it alone for
a day or two, but then I am right back into the fray, battling other gods and yelling out
'Mortal Combat' every time my creature goes into battle. There is nothing, and I do
mean nothing out on the market right now, or in the immediate future that
can compete with Black & White in its original gameplay, style and all around fun
Black and White gets 9/10 McGinley heads. It loses 1 head
because the patch was delayed, and I wish there were more acts, but those will be coming
out in an expansion soon.
(fenris notes - While I did love this game, I fell out of it bad long before
Stryker did. My major hangups were the somewhat uninspired micromanagement and the
fact that raising your creature did become tedious at times. Then of course
I accidentally saved over my 19 year old creature... man that pissed me off. After that, I
lost a lot of interest. I give it a 8/10.)
(Horse good and evil pictures are from planetblackandwhite)