I’m typically a fan of strategy games for one simple reason; I’m a power-hungry dictator.
No, seriously; my men/ships/monsters are under my control, following my orders, marching to glorious victory or agonizing defeat. Battles of epic scale are carried out on blood-soaked earth, silent space, and faraway lands. Strategy games all have these attractive qualities, to some extent…
But Black and White 2 is the first game that’s actually made me feel like a god.
This is largely because that is precisely your role within the game; a divine being come to aid the Greek people in their time of need, the beginning of the game (after the tutorial island,) consists of you hauling their mortal butts out of the fire as their civilization is all but destroyed by an invading force. After you’ve gotten a fair number of them safely away, via godly portal, you are to do what you can to help them rebuild their forces, either by convincing allies to join you or conquering everybody else on the map.
Some elements of Black and White 2 are pretty standard; you’ve got villagers you can instruct to collect resources, build buildings, and as your population grows you can turn the excess men into soldiers to fight in your name. To help them further is an avatar you have sent, a humanoid animal, (you can choose from different animal types at the beginning,) that will either act as a fighter or a builder, depending on how you train it. As you complete primary and side objectives, you obtain points you can use to buy new building schematics, spells, and other godly perks.
Where this game gets most of its enjoyment factor, for me at least, are the feats you can perform as a god. Your cursor is literally represented by a giant hand, and with it you can perform various miracles within your sphere of influence, which expands as you build more homes and temples. Such miracles can range from various spells that can heal, cast down fire or water, etc, to tasks of sheer godly strength, like wrenching trees from the ground to convert to lumber for your people, drawing grain from their very fields, or speeding up the construction of a particular building.
Personally, one of my favorite activities is gathering a nice pile of boulders and tossing them, one at a time, at any army that tries to mess with my city. Or, sometimes, just letting loose and seeing if I can bombard the enemy city from across the map.
The enemy AI can be fairly aggressive in the campaign; one level, I had only been there for a few moments, without so much as a defensive wall established, and already I found my citizenry under attack. The side quests are also pretty fun, as they make fairly creative use of the unique interface and abilities you possess, adding a level of depth to the standard strategy game fare.
All in all, a very enjoyable game, one I recommend whole-heartedly.