OGR RATING: A+
The hand is the key to the entire game. Master the movements of your hand and you can master the game (eventually). Through your hand you will teach your creature your own set of values. By either negatively or positively reinforcing their actions. For example, my creature took a nature break on someone’s house. I began to pet him and he now believes that relieving himself on someone’s house is a good thing (atta’ boy!). Your creature is like your ambassador to the world. Aside from your throwing things around like spells or rocks your people will only interact with your creature. Your creature may be a representation of who you are, or it could be the exact opposite. I however took the most noble and kindest of creatures, the cow, and turned him into a loathing, angry, mean spirited, killing machine (but hey, its up to you how you want your creature to turn out). Your creature will react with its environment via what it has learned from you.
Fighting in the game is part of the reason to go online and battle other gods. You can either directly control your creature in a fight by telling it what to do or you can let the game’s advance AI take over and essentially watch two titans duke it out. Gameplay on the net is very enjoyable, even aside from the fact that there are only 3 multiplayer maps, a problem that Lionhead hopefully will remedy. In case you don’t have any clear morals please see a psychiatrist or better yet consult your computer conscience, provided by Lionhead. When you first begin the game, you’re basically at a neutral state. Tips on how to interact with the world are provided by your digital conscience of good and evil, or black and white. As you may progressively lean to one side, that conscience will pop up more, giving you support in your dastardly or heroic ways. Your godlike detached hand also reflects how you react with the world, and by the way your villagers react to you. The gameplay itself is very smooth and coherent. Levels advance in an organized and logical fashion, but what makes it great is that there is no limit. You can spend all your time making the perfect world instead of advancing if you really want to. The graphics are mind blowing. When you destroy a building only parts that were physically hit are damaged (not the entire structure), villagers fly according to physics and so do 200 ton projectiles.
You will be total immersed in the game world where the music and sound change according to situations. There are plenty of other puzzles in the game, many that are non-critical and most are very challenging. The game even knows when there is a full moon out, and it will reflect it in the game by sight and by flat out telling you. When you play at 3 in the morning it even tells you that you should go to sleep. There are games that are step above everything else ever created. Black and White raises the bar for all other games of the god genre. This truly is an awesome achievement in gaming, and it may be many a year before another game will dethrone this king. Buy Black & White -Brandon Koida