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Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods PC DVD-ROM

Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Lionhead Studios
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £19.99

Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods, an introduction.

Last year we reviewed the sequel to the hugely popular Black & White. It's fair to say I was impressed with the game and it easily surpassed my expectations. The strange thing is that whilst the original Black & White arrived on a huge tidal wave of hype, the sequel made a fairly quiet entrance when it was released. Whilst the original was largely a disappointment however, Black & White 2 felt like the finished article and was an enjoyable experience. Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods carries on the good work and throws a few extras into the mix.

What's the game about?

In Black & White 2 the Greeks, with your help, have managed to virtually wipe out the Aztec nation. This bought peace and harmony to the Greeks but as you might expect this utopia couldn't go on forever and things are about to get ugly, again, for the Greeks. The few Aztecs survivors that were allowed to live have formed their own cult and sacrificed their fallen friends' bodies in an effort to form a new god. Eventually their efforts have paid off and a new, utterly evil god was created. This new god has power over the dead and an army of Aztec undead at his disposal and guess who he's coming after?  Not to forget of course that a new undead Gorilla, the creature of this new god, will have to be dealt with.

What's good about the game?

Battle of the Gods allows you to use your creature from Black & White 2 or choose another creature. The expansion adds a new creature in the form of the Turtle. The Tiger has also been added, although if you bought the Special edition the first time around you would have already had access to the Tiger. New miracles have been added. You can now resurrect the dead, create floods of burning lava and turn enemies into livestock if you so wish. New buildings have been added. You now have access to a hospital, abattoir and blacksmith. You can now place signposts to prevent your villagers from getting lost.  A couple of new islands, new challenges and the ability to raise your own livestock in animal pens and pig sties are just some of the other new features you'll find in the Battle of the Gods expansion. As with the original game you can set about your objectives in ways to suit yourself. You can either take the militaristic approach and conquer by force or you can impress your enemies with the magnificence of your civilization. Your creature can be trained to do your bidding and can be made to be very effective as either a helping hand in the running of your civilization or as an effective killing machine.  

What's not so good about the game?

The biggest complaint we have with Battle of the Gods is that it’s a little light on content. There isn't enough here to keep you playing for a dozen hours or so and that's unfortunate. What's here isn't sufficiently different to rekindle your interest if you haven't played the game in a while and it's very much an expansion for those who are still playing Black & White 2 on a regular basis. There still isn't any multiplayer component, which is disappointing as it would have been a key reason for most fans of the series to pick up the expansion. There is also a general lack of quests to undertake during the few new missions which again makes the whole thing feel a little shallow.  Whilst it's nice to have an angry god whose supposedly out to get you, it's strange that he doesn't seem to want to do much about it most of the time and he's definitely not that aggressive.

How does it look?

Graphically nothing has really changed since Black & White 2, except for the new content, which is no surprise given that the primary purpose of an expansion is to add content to the original game.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Battle of the Gods is exactly the same as Black & White 2, in terms of its deaf gamer friendliness. The game is subtitled, subtitles have to be enabled though, and as a result you'll have no problems whatsoever in following the game's story. The cutscene subtitles are once again colour-coded. Messages from the evil god are shown in text too. Once again your creature's thoughts and desires are placed in text making it easy to understand him (or her). Your objectives are also displayed in text so you'll always be aware of what needs to be done. The manual covers the new features quite nicely and throws in some tips on combat and defending your town for good measure.

Final thoughts.

Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods is a decent expansion pack to what was an enjoyable game. It's really an expansion pack for those who didn't grow weary of Black & White 2 though as there's nothing here that dramatically changes the formula. It's shame the expansion is light on content and that there still isn't any multiplayer game to speak of. If you enjoyed Black & White 2 though, the chances are you'll appreciate what Battle of the Gods has to offer even if there isn't as much here as you would have liked.

Overall Game Rating: 6.8/10

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Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods is a decent expansion pack for Black & White 2. The new features are welcome but in all honesty there could have been more content included and a multiplayer mode was really needed. Sadly though, this expansion doesn't offer one.