Black&White- Yes or No?

This game is out, regardless of what their website says. Do I buy it? Lets find out together! *coughs as papers fly madly about her desktop* Yes, well! New game coming out, my friends! Have you heard? Its Black&White, design by Peter Molyneux and Lionhead Studios, and published by Electronic Arts!

Now, “What is this??” you are asking! With the help of MGON, let me help to answer that question…

Remember games like Civilization(Civilization Fanatics Center)? PC games you played on your lonesome except for the multitudes of beings you commanded and helped to evolve and grow?

Take Civilization and other games of that genre, and make them 3D…even greater 3D than you could have imagined possible! Give yourself God-status, once more! But this time…dont start with yourself in utter control!

What I mean to say is this. In Black&White the player is a God in the beginning of the game. All around the land are various tribes, cleverly crafted from actual tribes we all know from our human history. We have the Greeks, the Red Indians, Cossacks, and a few interesting others, enough to catch everyones personal flight of fancy. You are in the clouds, looking down. Now, unlike with Civilization and most current games, the engine for Black&White allows you to get even closer to the people, and to the land. And I am told it is a spectacular land!

The players actual goal is rather unique in of itself. You are not here to decide if the people will learn to create this weapon or develop that science. You are not King here, moving taxes and festivals up and down a slider chart. Noooo….in Black&White the people are living, moving, growing, worshipping on their own. And it is up to YOU to convince them to worship YOU!

How is this done?

Well, most fantasy games include some line of spell-crafting. Black&White has spells, and these are aligned toward “Good” or “Evil”. In Black&White the player selects spells that will affect the lives of his or her tribe. For instance, they can choose to be destructive. Or they can choose to be helpful and creative. You are given a “creature”, an avatar of your religion if you will, your own “golden calf” so to speak. And the creature will grow in strength, power, and shape. You are given a palace or “citadel” in which you have all the necessary tools for caring for this creature and shaping it. Love the creature, he or she is your best buddy and pal, and representative of you:

“Playing Black & White will be like taking a huge personality test. The results will reflect the sort of games player you actually are. And the way you choose to control your land is reflected in the game by a corresponding evolution of your own territory…”

One of my friends, an avid Black&White addict already, thought it was only logical to kill off all the people who did not worship him. He was going for the role of “Good” god. Of course, suddenly the land began to change, and his “hand” or pointer that a player uses to do things actively in the game, began to become more and more red, signifying his evolution to the “Evil” side of the game. Go figure! *grins*

“A Creature?” you ask? Why, yes, a Creature! For most players I know, the Creature is the central-most focus of their game to date. You can take any creature you see wandering around the land, and drop it into your “citadel”. And voila, your very own avatar will be born. At one point, I heard a rumor that the designers were going to make it possible to kill off an opponents Creature. But, after the beta results came it, it was obvious that players become VERY attached to their chosen avatar, and that the destruction of it would “slow the progress” of the game. After turning the Creature into a “titan”, one that knows only what you have taught it, acts as you have instructed, imagine the dismay of having to start, all…over…again…

Unlike your “Civilization” type games, “Black&White” can be very multiplayer. You can and will have other gods and sorcerers to kill in the single player. But imagine playing Player God vs. Player God? I am told this will be a free feature, and will be similar to the set-up for playing “MechWarrior4” online, where games will be searched for and found for you. And, best of all, happy gamers, it will be…FREE! Oh did I mention it was free yet?

Now to be fair, one must be honest in any review.

I have to admit, I am as yet unconvinced about buying this game. I have seen the screenshots, and held the box in my hands, a beautiful piece of work. I am told by those that know me best I will love the eye-candy, and that the music seems almost Celtic in style.

But, when I went to the site for the game, Black&White(link worked yesterday, but today? *shrugs*), I was thoroughly unimpressed. I really liked the lil “Evil” guy who scrolled down the screen with me. My addiction to a “Creature” is already starting. But I am always and forever critical on a gramatical level of any site that puts itself out to be professional. And this site was confusing. Even though you can hold the box in your hands, purchase it from the store and take it home and play it happily, the game was not set for release according to the site until April 6th, 2001. Many links and sections of the site were not yet available, not yet implemented. And spelling mistakes? Oh my!

How am I to decide if this game is worth the price? It is not one of the cheaper ones. And the screenshots show that you likely get your moneys worth in eye-candy, what this gamer always is drawn to. But already there is a patch coming out for it. Anyone remember the problems with “Vampire:the Masquerade Redemption” and their patch? It was a mess!

So now, friends, and likely players of “Black&White” I come to you with open arms and an open mind. Convince me! Why do I, Bombastika, want to buy “Black&White”?

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