The lights are on
Beyond Good & Evil: HD
Xbox 360 Arcade/ PSN(May 11')
Cost: 800 Microsoft Points
Release Date: March 2nd, 2011
Beyond Good & Evil is one of those games that only a few of your friends played, but bragged endlessly about as you ignored them. While being flooded with titles, this little gem from Ubisoft snuck in under the radar around November of 2003. The underground success and word of mouth has helped the game live on, until a remastered HD version hit the Xbox Live Arcade for a mere 800 points. Having missed it the first go around, I thought it would be worth a look.
They Don't Make Em Like They Used To
The biggest question you can ask about the game is if it still holds up to today; the short answer being, Yes. The story, characters, worlds; it all has a unique touch that allows the game to shine. Being a completely new game to me, it felt like an authentic arcade release title that had quite an extensive bit of work added to it.
After completing the first few missions it became clear as to why this game was a success; it was well ahead of its time. Open world exploration, side-quests, set pieces, an intriguing cast of characters; the game has it all. There were points in the game where I could imagine my surprised reaction eight years ago. Though the impact is lessened nowadays, it still was enough to raise an eyebrow.
Cop Drama in Space!
The story is engaging, and becomes more interesting as the cast of characters expands. Favorites are quickly chosen, from the lovable angst of Pey'j to the hilarious physical comedy of Double H.
Little of This, Little of That
The gameplay acts much like any action/adventure you have picked up. You will do some fighting, lots of collecting, and tackle the occasional puzzle. The game shifts these elements enough to make sure nothing becomes too stale for too long. The additional stealth rooms also serve as breaks in the button-mashing action.
The world functions like a typical open world game, in which your hovercraft navigates to points of interest. Trecking off the beaten path warrants hovercraft races, photography potentials (netting you cash), and chase segments; all of which rewarding your curiosity. You'll soon find yourself scouting new areas, checking every corner for a possible photography setup.
You progress by upgrading your hovercraft with pearls. Adding on weapons, a boost, and a jump can unlock additional areas. It's lenient enough to allow you to sweep through the game and skip some of the side content if you choose.
A larger surprise turned out to be the relative difficulty of the game. While the beginning had me under the impression that I was in for a simple breeze through another title, the latter portions of the game provide some truly difficult stealth rooms and battles that require more than the conventional button mashing to surpass. It is a challenge that can still make the most confident of gamers sweat.
Someone Pay The Camera Man
The only real gripes with the game lay in the aspects that have not aged well. The biggest problem being the camera. In any tight spaces, you are basically blind. The camera will zoom in too far if pushed against a wall, struggle to help you peek around corners, and hover in a position to insure you never see any of the action. It's something that has been addressed by Ubisoft and a fix is in the works, but in the mean time; the camera remains your biggest enemy.
Other small troubles include a save system that requires you to check into a machine to save. In lieu of the traditional checkpoints we have become accustomed to, this becomes a bit of an inconvenience and it loses the pick up and play feel.
There were also the occasional glitches, where in one instance I completely fell through a stage and was forced to reload a previous save to continue.
If you can manage to suffer through the camera, Beyond Good & Evil is a surprisingly enjoyable game. It has aged well, and acts as a nice break from the slew of other titles available. Fans and newcomers alike have something to take away from the title. I can safely say that after playing it, I wished I had managed to pick it up back in 2003.
Great review and you nailed my thoughts of the game. I would have personally gave it a little higher score. Good job.