A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game allows players to win through either peaceful or violent methods. Battles can ensue, and players are allowed to crush, burn, and electrocute; they can also train their magical creature by hitting and slapping them. Some crude humor about defecation, a woman gives birth complete with sounds effects, etc. The game is far from historically accurate, but players will learn something about strategy.
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What's it about?
As in the first game, players in BLACK AND WHITE 2 become gods, complete with all the responsibilities and powers. The opening sequence throws historical accuracy to the side showing Aztecs overrunning the players' people, the Greeks. Players must use their godly powers to restore their people to glory -- fighting additional forces such as the Norse and the Japanese along the way. Unlike most real-time strategy (RTS) games, the choice of being good and evil is central to the game: To be a good god, players build prestige, convincing rival cities to join them; alternately, players can assemble armies and take opposing by force.
At the start of the game, players choose a giant magical creature to help them rule. By either petting or hitting the creature during the game, players train the creature into a peaceful helper or a fierce fighter.
Is it any good?
Black and White 2 provides a fun premise and a unique concept, but it doesn't offer the kind of quality provided by the successful first installment. There are no enemy gods. Instead, the most powerful foe is the enemy's creature, which can be fairly easily dispatched. In fact, it is almost impossible to lose, with enemy AI barely more intelligent than the rocks players can use to crush armies.
The design is also bad: Menus are buried and controls are clumsy. Players may get frustrated performing simple tasks, like picking up an individual villager. Finally, replay is limited -- the game provides no multiplayer options. Also, only the nine campaign levels can be replayed, and once players complete the game, they don't have the option to go back to a particular level.
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