User Review: Black & White


PC Game
Black & White
Andy (aka Carrera)

(1 eye=worst | 5 eyes=best)

Black and White is the latest game by Peter Mailleaux. Over 3 years in the making, its release has brought many reactions. This review is meant to help guide by deciding what type of player you are and whether you'd be interested in the game at all.

My first impression was, hello 1998, I then discovered that the settings were way to conservative. I cranked it up to 1024X768 and 32 bit and have all settings set to high but shadows. I don't care for shadows. I turn them off in almost every game. Even with these settings I only get a slow frame rate when a few gods are blowing up entire islands and even then I'm not 100% it isn't for dramatic effect. After that the graphics are very nice. You can tell that it is little dated but when you start so see what the various characters are capable of you tend not to notice.

I play with a wheel mouse that enable you to zoom in and out with the wheel. You use the right-hand mouse button a lot and this takes a while to get used to. Navigation is a bit of a learning curve. I found myself zoom out and then double clicking where I wanted to be. It was faster than pulling myself along.

The game artificial intelligence is amazing and frustrating. You get your creature to do things by having him/her/it watch you. You then reward "it" by stroking it or slapping it (Cartman: Bad kitty! Bad! Bad! Bad kitty!). It takes a while to see how the creature learns and what it is capable of. Depending on your alignment you can teach the creature lots of things from drop kicking villagers to creating magical rain.

If you are used to strategy games that allow you to slip into one of your units, you'll be right at home. A lot have complained about the micromanagement. I have seen that the villages will do just fine though if you give them a little help. Spend more time with your creature.

If you want to do nothing but have beasts battle you'll have to look elsewhere. Strategy friends will enjoy being able to do just about ANYTHING though.

Patience is a real virtue as well.

This is a game, however, where once you're done you'll probably put it down for a while … a long while. I played every night for week and wasn't past the second island. Sure you can fly through the islands, but you may get to a point that you can't handle it because your creature hasn't learned as much.