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Black & White 2 Review

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More rigid structure makes for easier gameplay, but detracts from the realism of the first instalment.

★★★★★

Like its peculiar predecessor, Black & White 2’s dizzying blend of epic battles, complex city building and virtual pet-care is a refreshing alternative to the Identikit strategy titles littering the shelves. But whether or not you enjoy this ambitious sequel completely depends on your feelings towards the first game…

Anyone alienated by the original’s confusing, open-ended structure will welcome Black & White 2’s coherent story, a device that gives players specific goals to achieve and makes it easier to push the mythical plot forwards. The adventure’s behemothic pet creatures have also been tweaked, giving players a chance to see what their monsters are thinking and use this information to make training decisions, allowing you to keep your beast on the straight and narrow and prevent it from picking up bad habits.

But if you relished the freestyle nature of the first game and the freedom it gave you as the god of a virtual world, you’ll be disappointed by how the new version steers you down a narrow path and limits your chances for divine mischief. And although it’s less frustrating to be in charge of a creature who’ll follow your commands, this edition’s obedient pets lack the unpredictable charm of their predecessors, whose surprising behaviour made them feel like real animals rather than the product of advanced artificial intelligence.

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