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Black & White 2: Let’s hunt some Aztecs

27 May

Black_&_White_2_Logo

After a long slumber you descend from the higher plane to grace your people with your magnificant presence once more. Your conciousness welcome you in Eden, the planet which once depended on your wisdom and guidance and help you to fresh up your memory about your abilities and help you to choose your entity of physical power, a creature.

Finally, they lead you to an island. It is the mainland of the Greeces, a nation who still lives faithful you and your belief and, to this day, await your presence with growing anticipation. Then the island in sight, a prayer reaches you, a plead full of need, You follow it, finding a woman who kneels in front of a monument that was build in your honor, pleading for you to listen. Your gaze turned, looked upon the houses who broke down in a burning blaze, trapping and buring people beneath it. Soldiers fight, despreatly trying to defend their home from the enemy who sweeped over the city like a swarm of locusts, leaving nothing than corpses and destruction.

“We were run over by the Aztecs! Please help us!”

As their God, you take action and try to strike down those who dared to lay hand on your people. Suddenly a vulcan emerged of the burning ground, destroying with its lava everything in its path. The conciousness urges you to let go of the invaders and concentrate on saving as much people as possible. After only having saved a handfull of your believers, the creature of the enemy summoned another vulcan, making it unable to rescue more.

The once mighty God of Gods was forced to flee to another island. It was peaceful, the chaos lying behind as you look down on those who still firmly believed in you. How many people found their death on that day, you don’t know, but one half of your conciousness demands revenge for those who couldn’t be saved while the other indirectly agreed in silence.

The Aztecs will be held accountable for this and your hand will bring the divine punishment to them. They angered a God and now they will be regretting their actions soon enough.

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They will pay for this…

*clears throat* (sorry, not the best of my intros…I’m feeling unwell at the moment) This story plays a few centuries after the first one (I think), people have involved, living a good amount of time without divine help. Even a few of them, especially mortals who are in a leading position, don’t believe that you are, in fact, a God (at first) and think that everything in the first game was just a legend, including the prophecy which predicts that a God will help a nation who was on the brink of extinction. (And I find the fact funny, that albeit that you are a divine theoretical immortal being, you are still a slave of fate.)

Despite the first game, your enemies are human. The Norse and the Japanese are allies of the Azects and before you can make the latter suffer for their deeds, you have to draw the other opposing partys onto your side. (I don’t really count the Egyptians to them, since they are always on the side lines) How you convert them is your decision. Either impress them or raid their countries or do both.

Black White 2

“Impress” and “conquer” work differently than the first game. To impress you build a magnificent city with temples, public baths, parks and so on. People will then abandon their old home to come to your city. When you conquer, your army (yes, people are now smart enough to create weapons) goes to another village and take down the town centre. If they succeed, the village is yours, including the people. So, either you focus your believers on one point (namely your main city) or spread them on different villages. Whatever you do, your town changes with your alignement. If you are good, people are happy, there are flowers everywhere and the buildings are white. If you are evil…the land is bare, people are unhappy and scared and the overall atmosphere is darker.

But back to one  of the new features. The fact that you have your own army. They can level up, (recruit to veteran) and there are archers, swordsmen and catapults. They give you some security if they are enemies outside your walls, patrolling and waiting for a catapult to break your defenses down.

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Yeah, you have walls. Yeah, you need said walls if you don’t want enemy soldiers to hold a picnic in your city. You can either take them down with a catapult or with a creature. Have I mentioned that the enemy also have creatures although they are not Gods? But don’t worry, the AI of the computer is at its highest peaks more annoying than really threatening. Just don’t try to go headless Knight Templar on the main captial of the opposing side. It doesn’t end well often.

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To impress, you need to build monuments and buildings like temples, luxurious houses and so on. I should mention that you won’t get a huge temple of power like in the first game. Instead, you have a town centre where you can see what your people need and what alignment you are.

I think that this is some sort of a downgrade to the prequel, and personally, I can’t understand why they took it out. Was it so hard to create a bigger Greece temple with rooms in it? I don’t know. Besides that, B&W2 offers more variation when it comes to buildings. You can create villas, prisons, skyscrapers, country houses, taverns, baths, etc. At the beginning you just have a very tiny line-up of buildings, but you can buy new ones by spending tribute in the menu.

Tibute is, so to speak, the reward for side quests and quests and you can spend it on different skills, miracles, buildings and troops. This is not a bad idea, although I kind of missed the ability to choose between good and evil in most of the quests. Concerning buildings…buildings impress less the more you build the same type of it in your city and how close you build them together. Some of them enhance your production of corn or metal which makes city planning a little more strategic than in B&W.

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Since you are a God, you have an altar where your minions *clears throat* people pray to create miracles like fireballs, water, heal, meteors etc. In this game, you can convert people to pray at the altar day in, day out without them collapsing from hunger.  What I appreciate, is that you can use some of them in two different ways. For example the water miracle. Either water your fields or splashing it on the enemy soldiers to slow them down. Or the fire miracle, either  throw a fire ball or create a fire wall to stop people from advancing. What I don’t like, is, that you buy miracles with tribute.

When you buy buildings, okay, when you enhance some abilities like the ability to use gestures, alright. But miracles are something you should earn. Just like in some mini-quests in B&W where you choice influenced the miracles you get as reward.

imagesLet the Siren sing…

Other than normal miracles, there are epic ones. They are a huge buildings and are just like an altar, but take more time to generate miracles. You can summon a hurricane, make the earth shake and convert enemy soldiers through the song of a siren.

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With the creature-business…I also have some sort of a split opinion. On the one hand you can handle them easier, making them do job through different leashes and you can see, what a creature has learned in the menu. On the other…I somehow really liked the tamagochi thing in the prequel. I won’t deny the AI had flaws, but it gave you a feeling of raising a creature from a small pup  with no idea about the world to a force that has to be reckoned with. If you sent your creature to another village for the first time, it fills you with pride if it used the tactics you had taught him. In B&W2…it is more robotic and bleak. And you just use it as soldier and gatherer…not as a messenger of your belief.

On this point I should mention that a creature doesn’t learn miracles anymore. You have to buy this ability with tribute. Money rules even Eden, it seems.

There is one addon for this game. Battle of Gods. Exactly what is says on the tin. The Aztecs summon an undead God to take revenge. Said undead God can use miracles as well and will pester you with it. One thing I enjoyed is, that you can kill undead soldiers with healing spells, but besides a more challenging enemy, that was it.

black&white2battleofthegods-01What a stubborn nation…They don’t even stay dead.

Conclusion? This prey tasted a little bit…bad. Not throwing up bad, but still bad. There are some improvements, like city building, army and how the city looks like through your alignement and the enemy is much more aggressive than in its prequel. But it took major steps back in points I found myself to enjoy in the B&W. The temple is gone, the creature is robotic and didn’t have a personality.

Story wise, it was an interesting beginning, but all in all was medicore. The story isn’t really the focus here, it just exists to explain why you battle them. Side stories are creative and really funny at times. Should I say it ? It felt more like a very light version of Anno (I feel sorry for this series to compare it with B&W2. Anno is a good game, but I lack a better comparison.) with miracles and a creature than really a God-Simulation. I concentrated more on building a city (and especially how to build it) than really on being, well, a God. I didn’t impress anyone with miracles or punished them for something. The only thing I have burned down were, the enemy soldiers and creature, when they came to close.

I have nothing against changes in a game or a shift of focus. But even when B&W wasn’t the best game of all times, it came up with interesting ideas which didn’t deserve to be downgraded like that.

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1 Comment

Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Pc

 

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One response to “Black & White 2: Let’s hunt some Aztecs

  1. khinjarsi

    May 27, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    But the little cow! How can you say no to that face! I do largely agree with you though, there were many aspects that were ‘worse’ than the first B&W, although when you play good in 2, it’s nice to see a wider environmental change than only really the temple in 1. And 2 crashed less for me.

     

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