Black & White
- Related strategy guide: Black & White: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
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Black & White is a role-playing game unlike any you've played before. You take the role of a deity in a land where the surroundings are yours to shape and its people are yours to lord over. Be an evil, malevolent god and the natives will worship you with fear in their eyes. Play as a kind, benevolent god and they will worship you with love in their hearts. Your actions decide whether you create a heaven or hell for your worshipers. Then select a creature from the land to act as your representative in the world. Raise it to gigantic proportions and teach it to do your bidding--whether the animal grows into an evil colossus of mass destruction or a kind and gentle giant is up to you. Progress through the game's rich storyline performing powerful miracles to battle other deities and become the world's supreme god.
The premise of Black & White is simple. You play a God, responsible for a group of worshippers. Add in a collection of huge monsters (sheep, cows, tigers and more) plus tasks to complete along the way, and you get an immersing game that's easy to pick up and even easier to get pulled into.
Unusually, Black & White lacks any form of standard user interface. The only icon you'll see on screen is a giant hand (yours) with which you do your godly tasks. Complex actions are governed by mouse movements, and as the game progresses it requires greater mouse dexterity to cast spells and the like. While this interface can be daunting at first, it becomes second nature after some practice.
As the game progresses there are a number of quests to complete, and you're also responsible for looking after a creature. It's here that Black and White excels. The creature's artificial intelligence is superb. Treat it nicely and it will amble around the countryside performing good deeds to the delight of the populace. Treat it harshly and woe betide anyone who gets in the way of its giant feet and hands.
The visual landscapes are equally impressive, as is the detail of the inhabitants or "helpers" as they guide you across the rolling hills and surrounding oceans of your island. But the scenery, like the creature, morphs with your gameplay. Evil empires appear black and scorched, while a happier atmosphere breeds an open, warm environment for your worshippers. Combat comes in the form of one-to-one stand-up fights between the creatures. The fighting can verge on the surreal-for example, a kickboxing cow squares up to a boxing ape in the middle of a forest as worshippers chant praise all around.
With Black and White, UK games designer Peter Molyneux has taken AI to new levels and created a game that's bound to be imitated. Do note, however, that this is not an ideal game for the casual RTS or shoot 'em up fan. There are long periods of inactivity, and the general pace can feel sedate as you take in the beautiful graphics and calming soundtrack. Even after playing for 10 hours you'll still be scratching the surface of this intense gaming experience. --Stuart MilesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
That would be because its one of the most compelling games I have ever played. The richness of the persistent worlds you inhabit is remarkable. Your actions leave their scars on the landscape in all manner of ways. I know people have complained at the effort apprently necessary to capture some of the later villages, but to me this looked like the game encouraging me to "think outside the box" rather than plough away at the simplest approach. I came up with my own solutions, needless to say, one of which involved saving a small amount of poisoned food from an old mission. This green, rotten grain, when placed in an enemy food store, immediately poisoned the entire pile of food. I then watched as one by one, the villagers ate it and fell ill. Eventually, the entire town died, and i placed just one of my villagers inside it and captured it. Now I'm fairly sure the developers didn't even think of that, and its this capacity for emergent problem-solving and real free will that makes Black and White such a joy to play. Even the boring task of maintaining your villages is absorbing because you can really believe in the villages; see each villager's face and name. You can build luxury housing projects, forests and "parks", and watch the villagers come to dance every night by firefly light. It's really quite special.
I played this game until Land 5 and then I just had to stop. It was getting too much like hard work and not like a game any more. The micro-management is soul destroying: for example, you spend half the game trying to get wood for your villages because it runs out far too quickly. This time should instead be spent actually playing the game and interacting with your creature and villagers. Once you have more than 2 villages, things can get very complicated very quickly and if you don't pay attention you can end up with annoyed villagers or a population drop.
And then there are the bugs. Without going into detail (I don't want to spoil the game), in Land 5 your goal is to beat the bad guy to break a curse. When you beat him, the curse isn't broken, so it basically ruins the game. This has been noted on the official web site as a major bug and they're working on it.
The other big bug I noticed is that sometimes the save option takes an extremely long time (like a minute) and this has also been noted on the official web site.
This game was supposed to be excellent, and all the magazine reviews have been giving it over 90%. I am left wondering if they played the same game as me? The frustration factor has to take the rating down a lot.
Yes, the graphics are awesome. Yes, the creature is very interesting and the AI is very well done. However, you spend a lot of the time in the first 5 levels without the use of your creature and most of this time you're looking for more wood... I'm really left wondering if the play testers were really playing Black and White or something else...Read more ›
The object of the game is to get your villagers to generate as much mana as possible for you. The more they believe in you, the more mana they generate. Note, they don't have to like, they just need to believe in you. So plucking a few villagers and dropping them in the ocean will cause them to believe mroe in you, as will helping to build a house, giving them some food, or throwing rocks at them!
That all sounds well and good, but we now get to the big let down in the game: the Ccreature. Your creature is your beast-servant on earth. Villagers seeing you creature will believe in you more, and generate more mana. However, when you first choose your creature, the game rapidly degenerates into mindless tamagotchi-style pet training, and I rapidly lost interest in the game.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I remember playing this when I was tiny, barely able to use the internet never mind immerse oneself in a role playing game, but I could not get enough. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Annekke
not really what i was hoping for by the description and reviews I had readPublished 13 months ago by Charlene
Fantastic game, epic and challenging. Immerse yourself in your own world, absolute class.Published 17 months ago by Bravo Robins
good, but not brilliant. Firstly, the cover image shows the black edition (which is what I expected to get when I ordered.) on delivery day I received the white edition. Read morePublished on 13 July 2014 by RTB
this game destroyed my life as a child, I spent hours on it after school playing it so much so that my grades dropped and I've struggled to find decent work since. Read morePublished on 20 Dec. 2013 by Rhys Evans
came on time and was everything that was expected in good condition an working order worth the price very happy with itPublished on 17 Jun. 2013 by charlotte
I used to play this game before, it's OK but limited to what you can do. Not the best God game out there but fun!Published on 11 Mar. 2013 by Mike
One of my favourite older games. This is despite never having gotten more than about halfway through the game... :-SPublished on 14 July 2012 by Alex W
I bought this game the day it came out all those years ago, when game designers made games for the fun of it, and Peter Molyneux was at his best. Read morePublished on 10 Jun. 2006 by H. McIlwraith