Who, if we are being honest, hasn't wanted to be a god now and again, if only for a little while? Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods once again makes you into a nameless god whose very existence depends upon having devoted worshipers.
Predictably, Black & White 2 picks up after the events of the original Black & White. Just when you thought you had gotten Eden under control, the Aztecs raise a new undead god through huge numbers of human sacrifices, complete with an army of undead skeletons and an undead new creature to lead them. As before, you must crush this rival god on various isles by nurturing your followers and building a flourishing civilization that lets you either convince the Aztec god's followers to defect to your side, or allows you to take them over militarily.
The core gameplay in this expansion remains pretty much unchanged from Black & White 2, though you do get a few new islands to battle it out on, some of which are actually huge when compared to those seen in the original. If you still have any old games saved, you can actually import your creature from Black & White 2. But don't fret if you either didn't play or didn't keep any old games on your hard-drive, as this expansion lets both old and new players hit the ground running. First, you select a starting package that is either good or evil, which will give you a variety of miracles and bonuses. You can also elect to start off as neutral and fine-tune your own starting package if you know specifically what kinds of things you want. There are two new creatures to choose from as well, which bring the total number of creature options to six. Whether you import an existing creature or start anew, you'll begin Battle of the Gods with a ton of tribute points that allow you to purchase the buildings and powers you will start with.
It is easy to improve the cities of your followers, as virtually the whole game can be played without messing with the keyboard. The mouse allows you to do pretty much everything, from laying out cities to picking up and dropping citizens around the map. The Battle of the Gods expansion includes a handful of new buildings that add a few more tactical options, such as a blacksmith that can upgrade your soldiers and hospitals, letting you save the manna you would normally spend on healing for use on other miracles. The mouse also allows you to punish or reward your creature for its behavior at the click of a button, so you can quickly train it to do what you want, from fertilizing fields with its manure to knocking down enemy walls.
It's possible in Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods to simply assimilate your enemies' followers peacefully by building a city of such grandeur that they want to defect. However, the sheer size of some of these maps can make this a long and drawn-out process, since you would require such a huge and impressive city. And besides, who really wants to be a completely peaceful and benevolent god? Instead you send your creature into the fray to defeat the enemy god's undead creature and crush the Aztec armies, thereby letting loose the platoons you have been building in order to seize and capture defenseless Aztec towns.
One other change is the addition of more mini-game challenges that you can pursue for additional tribute points, and which let you unlock new buildings and powers. These challenges provide short diversions from the main focus of the game, as you solve puzzles, participate in ice curling, target practice on zombies with lightning bolts, and more. Whether you pursue a peaceful or militaristic approach, you'll find that it'll take you hours of enjoyable gameplay to get through each map, and, especially for those of you who already loved the unique world and gameplay of Black & White 2, that is all that need be said.
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- Wage epic warfare on 40 expansive, detailed maps online or in singleplayer mode.