The player takes the role of a god called from the void (nothingness) to help the villagers who invoked them. The player must help develop their nature according to their good or evil desires. The player is physically represented in the world as an avatar-like creature, which takes the form of a giant anthropomorphic ape, lion, wolf, turtle, cow, or tiger. The creature can grow to an immense size, and adopt a good or evil persona. They develop their character as the player rewards or punishes their actions. In addition to the god simulation and city-building elements introduced in the original Black & White, Black & White 2 also features elements of real-time strategy gameplay, with the addition of controllable warfare and fighting units.
Black & White 2 features a more conventional heads-up display (HUD) system than its predecessor. Rather than the experimental HUD-less gameplay seen in the original game, Black & White 2 features HUD notifications that inform players of their creature’s state of mind, the effects of their actions on their creature, the status of villages, etc. The user interface is almost button-less. The player sees little else on the screen but the world, the player’s hand, and toolbars which the player can make disappear.
The only way the player can directly interact with this world is through the player’s hand, which can be used to pick up people, trees, food, and influence[clarification needed] the ground. The player can also cast miracles for a certain amount of “Prayer Power” (in essence, “Mana”), which comes from the player’s believers.