I had HUGE hopes for Black and White. I love moral discussions, and this game had some of the best advertising I'd seen. One ad said something like: (good) Your loving wife makes you breakfast in bed / (evil) You eat it with your mistress. It made it seem like you'd really have these sorts of decisions to make.
Instead, when you play, you have a cutsie little angel and a cuddly little devil, both making fun comments. The devil's comments are always promptly slapped down by the angel. The "evil" you do is more like Dungeon Keeper than anything else - drop things on peoples' houses, bug them if they're not doing what you want to do.
You only get to start with a choice of three 'creatures', and these creatures have got to be some of the slowest learners on the planet. You tell one to pick up a drowning person, and he pops the person in his mouth and starts eating him! Eventually when they DO learn something, half the time it's not what you had been training them to do.
The graphics are GORGEOUS. The whole interface with the game is beautiful, and lots of fun. There was so much potential as to how the game could have played, but somewhere along the way I think they got swept away in the graphics and lost track of what they were doing. Now dumb sailors tell you one at a time the things they need, farmers lose their cows even though there are only 2 to watch, and game crashes mean even things that work aren't necessary going to last very long.
A number of people encountered crashes, bugs, and gameplay issues. This will always happen with a game that stretches the envelope, so I am more tolerant of those sorts of issues. We did not encounter those types of problems on our machine, which granted we keep at fairly high end specs in order to do our gaming reviews.
If you're a Populous fan (like I am) I'd get it just to see how far they have come, but don't be expecting miracles.
Buy Black and White at Amazon.com