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Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods

RTS problems remain, but yay for the zombie monkey and great new maps

Right, you, back there. Yes, you Mister Giggles, do you have something you'd like to share with the rest of us? What? You think I was wrong about Black & White 2? Well I'm glad you said that because it just so happens that I have here in my pocket a bulleted list of reasons outlining why I was right all along. Bullet point one...

Actually, forget the bullet points - Black & White 2 is outstanding for four reasons: it's different, it's beautiful, it's breathtaking and it's compelling. Of course there are flaws, just like the Mona Lisa has a wonky horizon and lots of tiny cracks in the paint and whatnot, but the day an artwork is debased by a broken frame or a fantastic game by some cumbersome RTS aspects, is the day I stop preparing my bulleted rebuttals in advance.


Battle Of The Gods improves the original game's RTS facet by some undeterminable multiple. Pitching you against a new and aggressive rival god, the expansion is clearly focused on combat between your Greek armies and your enemy's undead skeletal warriors. The unit AI, it is claimed, has been improved, but it's barely perceptible (if there at all). No, the real improvements come by way of the expansion's islands, which were specifically designed to be strategically fun to play.

Example: the first island sees you racing to improve your city and expand your boundary of influence enough to place some decent fortifications and man them with archers, especially important as your new foe will attack relentlessly. Worth noting is the inclusion of a giant zombie monkey creature, which will no doubt have all you naysayers standing to attention. That's right, a zombie frickin' monkey. Lionhead didn't miss a trick here.

However, old gripes remain, only to be pronounced by the expansion's newfound RTS direction. Troops won't go where you want, selecting targets is awkward and combat is visually unexciting when no creature is involved. There's little content on offer here either, with only three islands and four new miracles making this hardly an essential purchase.

The verdict

A shade of grey

  • Undead army is very cool
  • Zombie monkey
  • Excellently designed maps
  • Cheap
  • Not a lot of content
  • RTS problems remain
Sim / Strategy