Argh! This game is going to be a low scorer for all the wrong reasons. You see, I like this game. I like this game a lot. It as a lot to offer. And still…
So where did it all go wrong? Well, it’s the controls. Awful. Just plan awful. To the point of being completely unplayable. The idea seemed to be take a fully open 3D world and layer on top a real-time-strategy god game controlled entirely by the mouse. Everything is based off the left/right, up/down movements of the mouse roller and the click of its two buttons. There are no other controls and everything is entirely context sensitive based on the positioning of your God Hand on the screen.
The main issue is camera and movement. Everything else would work if these were move to the keyboard, and lets face it every PC this game is playing on has a keyboard. Instead I found 90% of my game play involved correct and fighting with camera positioning. Often times finding the view either too zoomed in, or too zoomed out. Rotating the camera is an art form and movement breaks as you hit areas of mountains or open water.
Get past the controls and there is a really good, fun engaging game at the core. You can see and feel the evolution in Peter Molyneux’s career. The roots of Black and White are very much in the Amiga classis Populous series married with the humour and story telling that Fable would bring to later XBox systems.
You control the hand of God. As God you must perform miracles that will provide for your followers. The more followers you gain the greater your godly powers become, the more miracles you can perform, etc. Most of this takes place in a very real time strategy like micro management. Pick up followers and place them in locations to make them experts (forester, builder, farmer, etc). Move wood and food to locations for your followers to pick up. Create water, wood and food out of thin air using miracles.
As I say the core game as a lot to commend it and is laced with that British Humour Molyneux’s games have become known for. It’s just a shame it is all brought to its knees by a control system that is not fit for purpose.