Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods

Making friends

Eurogamer investigates the complex world of companion AI.

Games used to be such hostile places. Dropped behind enemy lines or sneaking through monster-infested caverns, everyone you'd meet on your journey seemed to want to kill you. Over the last ten years or so, there's been a gentle rebalancing, however. From Pey'j to Yorda to Alyx Vance, designers have started giving you friends as well as enemies.

Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods

Who'd be a worshipper? You scrimp and save, pray and dance, and then get allocated a random "humorous" name by your puerile god, before being squished to death when he accidentally drops a tree on your head. Even then your body is forfeit, dropped into the sacrificial altar (if yon deity has time) so the godhead can get to grips with the really crappy fireball throwing technique.

But who'd be a god? You spend your time endlessly molly-coddling your acolytes, building them outrageously fragile houses, protecting them from evil (and your monstrous roaming creature), basically wiping their arses, and your reward? Whinging, stress, and untimely deaths. When you complain to the God of Gods, Saint Peter of Molyneux, that you're a glorified baby-sitter and not really enjoying the experience, none of your complaints seem to register. It's like there's no one up there and you've been abandoned to handle the problem yourself. Your options, it seems, are atheism or agnosticism.

So, in the great tradition of Lionhead add-on packs, there's feck all in here. The original Black & White was light on content, and Black & White 2 improved on that with an austerity of choice that was truly spectacular (read the Reverend Walker's review for the backstory), removing all the fun elements of the first game in favour of overly-scripted bobbins.

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Black & White 2 expands

Fight God, says Lionhead.

Perhaps greatly vengeful and furiously angry about Black & White 2's sales and crap reviews, EA's announced that the expansion pack will be much darker and more sinister than the game it complements.