Beyond Good & Evil

When all is said and done, Beyond Good & Evil will stick out as one of the more memorable games to come out in this day and age.

By azn_pride, Posted 26 May 2010

Most of the government's activities are undeniably a great, big mystery to us. One must wonder if the everyday news we receive is actually the truth, or a heap of rotten lies designed to control what we believe. Before you dismiss this review as a hulking concept of controversial proportions, consider the adventure game that is Beyond Good & Evil. Written and designed by Michael Ancel, (Rayman series), BG&E's premise is full of those propagandized elements that will prove controversial for many, but an experience that you won't forget any time soon. Though it does have its share of minor setbacks, Beyond Good & Evil is an entertaining escapade jam-packed with momentous cinematics and factoids, keeping you on your toes and deeply enthralled with the narrative from start to finish.

The game's story immediately throws you in the middle of the action. You play as Jade, a young reporter who is thrust into a world of conspiracy where she must uncover the truth about the mysterious alien beings called the DomZ. Additionally, the Alpha Section, a branch in the Hillyan military is suspected to be in league with the latter. However, Jade is not alone in her dangerous mission. She is joined by her uncle Pey'j (a humanoid pig) and the rebel underground group called the IRIS Network in exposing the government's lies. It's a heartfelt and meaningful story worth playing through it again and again, but I was disenchanted that my time in Hillys was all too brief.

Beyond Good & Evil Review
Jade is not alone in her mission to uncover the truth.

On her daring mission to uncover the truth, Jade is nothing without her trusty Dai-jo combat stick; her only hope of defeating the DomZ. Beyond Good & Evil's combat mechanics can be a little mash-y, so the repetitiveness of attacking your foes with the same button can get old over time. That doesn't mean it's a complete no-brainer though. At times, figuring out the enemies' attack patterns and evading oncoming attacks at the right time is essential, as it can keep you from dying. Jade is also joined by one or two party members to help accomplish her mission, whose main purpose is to provide support on and off combat. That includes feats such as performing super attacks to temporarily stun enemies, or open passageways to progress through the game's assorted levels.

The combat mechanics are pretty responsive, though the main problem I had is how clunky the controls were. Sometimes the controls were relatively latent that left me feeling irritated, especially during the most critical situations in the game. The camera work wasn't much of a help either, as it created more harm than good. Thankfully, you cannot fall to your death in Beyond Good & Evil. Otherwise, platforming in this game would be a real pain to deal with.

Although the controls aren't one of Beyond Good & Evil's finer points, the easy difficulty provides a great counterbalance. Aside from mashing your way through the DomZ and the many other creatures throughout the game, Beyond Good & Evil also has an element of stealth. It's like solving a simple puzzle--one step at a time, though it ultimately doesn't punish you for failing. That said, it's not always an automatic 'game over' when you immediately alert the guards; you actually have ample time to escape and start over without dying. You can, however, still disable their oxygen tanks with your Gyrodisk Glove or take them head-on, though the latter is the most challenging approach. Either way, it doesn't modify anything story/gameplay-wise, so it's up to you to decide how you want to approach the situation.

Beyond Good & Evil Review
Say what you will; Beyond Good & Evil is a darn good looking game.

While Jade is busy getting closer to her objective, there are other sidequests she can try out before proceeding further with the main storyline. With the hovercraft at her disposal, Jade can freely explore the world of Hillys to find additional items that will otherwise prove essential on her journey. Pearls are the main currency in the black market and can be purchased within select stores, but majority of them lie in several caves and dungeons throughout Hillys. Collecting these precious gems is well worth it, as they give you access to additional weapon/vehicle upgrades to either help you get around places easier or move the game's narrative forward.

Of course, Jade's mission is meaningless without her trusty camera. Taking pictures of Hillys' flora and fauna gives her huge opportunities to earn money, so exploring the untapped sanctuaries of the planet is well worth it; the bigger and rarer the creatures you discover, the richer you become. The camera is also an essential factor of the main game, as it can reveal additional map information, detect and/or activate unreachable devices, among other things. More importantly, taking pictures of the government's dirty secrets will certainly get the Hillyans to fight on your side. Depending on how much of completionist you are the minigames and sidequests extend the enjoyment, potentially making up for the main storyline's short presence.

That being said, Beyond Good & Evil should take the average player a mere 10-12 hours to finish, but I was especially left disheartened towards the end. The game's most intriguing mysteries suddenly felt much larger than you could anticipate. Also, the conclusion was left up in the air and did not reward me with at least a tiny bit of an explanation with the expositions at hand. There was no hint at a sequel or something indicative that I can at least look forward to. Though that is mostly the case, the time I spent with the game was enjoyable, as I had grown incredibly attached to the main characters well enough that I was always eager to see what would happen next, even though I felt some of the storyline elements in the game's conclusion weren't handled properly with care.

Beyond Good & Evil Review
Meet Hillys' creatures. Aren't they lovely?

Visually, the noticeable choppy frame rate created quite an unnerving experience for me. At times I was so distracted by it that I was having slight headaches on many occasions. But when you look at it from a distance, Hillys is a marvelous world full of interesting creatures and rich, detailed environments that complement the game's somewhat nature-based, steampunk aesthetic. The many places you visit feel very much alive, especially with the Hillyan citizens going about their business, and the exotic wildlife roaming peacefully on the countryside. It gives you a definite sense of place, leaving you with the thought that if Hillys were an actual planet, it would certainly be a great place to live in.

Aside from the game's visuals, Beyond Good & Evil's soundtrack is definitely one of its strongest points. The many ambient and orchestra themes fit the game's atmosphere, and the fierce battle themes give the fights an electrifying intensity. Overall, the voice acting is solid; at first I was turned off by some of the characters' voices, but they eventually grew on me as time went on. Furthermore, the audio design is absolutely well-done, as the various footsteps, crowd noise, etc. sound realistic and felt just right.

I wish I could explore more of the game's seemingly vast and captivating universe, but I was left with an air of disappointment mainly when the game's final events were left ambiguous and somewhat anticlimactic. Despite my minor qualms about the issue, I'm quite excited to return to the world of Hillys again-when Beyond Good & Evil 2 comes around eventually. When you look at the big picture, there's nothing else quite like it. When all is said and done, I have a feeling Beyond Good & Evil will stick out as one of the more memorable adventure games to come out in this day and age.

David Gabriel, NoobFeed

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  • I remember seeing this in a gameinformers magazine.  It was about the top ten heroines in game history.  This reminds me of Tak for some reason.

    Posted May 26, 2010


General Information

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
Developer(s): Ubisoft Montpellie
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Fantasy
Release Date: 2011-03-02

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