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Beyond Good & Evil HD Review

danielrbischoff By:
danielrbischoff
03/16/11
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action Adventure 
PLAYERS
PUBLISHER Ubisoft 
DEVELOPER Ubisoft Shanghai 
RELEASE DATE  
T Contains Comic Mischief, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

To Infinity and Beyond!


If you already know what K-Bups, Starkos, and PA-1s are, you already understand how awesome BG&E is.

click to enlargeIf you don't know what those items are, where have you been? Cult favorite Beyond Good & Evil was released way back in the good ol' days of 2003, but it still sticks out as one of the best games you'll ever play. So when the prospect of an HD remake came along, fans like me were worried and thrilled at the same time. Remaking the game might have meant overhauling the combat, polishing up the visuals, or completely screwing the whole game up. No need to worry, BG&E vets, everything is coming up Jade.

This HD touch-up is truly beautiful. Some elements have been completely redone, like Jade and other key characters, or water effects while traveling around in the hovercraft. Other visuals are touched up just enough to keep up with newly supported HD resolutions while still reminding the player that the game has eight years under its belt. Beyond Good & Evil also benefits from its imaginative art style. Thankfully, things were stylized enough back then to look good even without the HD plastic surgery update. Ubisoft Shanghai has also done a wonderful job preserving Ubisoft Montpellier's soundtrack and sound design. Voices are crisp but retain the charm of the original recordings, while the music is as inventive and entertaining as it always has been.

Newcomers to BG&E may recognize Michel Ancel's name for his work on creating the Rayman series. Somehow Ancel has an ability to craft compelling stories around unbelievable characters (Raving Rabbids notwithstanding), and Beyond Good & Evil is no different. Players take control of Jade in the year 2435 on the planet Hillys. An alien force continuously attacks the planet, forcing the population to turn to the Alpha Section for protection. Soon after the game's initial attack Jade is recruited by the IRIS Network, and she learns about a conspiracy they've unearthed that links the Alpha Section to the aliens.

click to enlargeBG&E blends combat, stealth, exploration, and photography mechanics to create a seamless flow between the player's varied tasks. Photography pays the bills and earns you pearls, which can be used to upgrade your hovercraft. BG&E's dungeons and key locations are connected by a tangled web of waterways, like Hyrule's temples and dungeons are connected by Hyrule Field in Ocarina of Time. Players traverse those waterways via a hovercraft which controls as loosely as it did in 2003. As you explore different areas and uncover the conspiracy, players will come across more creatures to photograph and fight.

The easiest way to describe Beyond Good & Evil would be to call it a Zelda clone of the French mind, but that's a simple encapsulation of Beyond Good & Evil's elements. Lots of games can mix together combat, stealth, exploration, photography, and the occasional hovercraft race, but those games often fall flat when any one element isn't executed properly. Beyond Good & Evil doesn't excel in just one area; it succeeds in all areas. Combat feels fluid and intuitive. Stealth doesn't rely on arbitrary spikes in difficulty to challenge the player. Exploring dungeons and photographing creatures create the feeling that something new and exotic is around every corner. And hovercraft racing - well, that's just for fun.

Anyone could make the argument that BG&E takes Zelda's puzzles, dungeons, combat, and inventory for its own, but that's oversimplifying this amazing game. It does more by treating the player to humor and mature themes, with a plot that has a lot more depth too. Whether you're dealing with a Rastafarian rhinoceros at the hovercraft garage or helping a rebel group overthrow a massive conspiracy plot, variety is the spice of life.

Beyond Good & Evil gives gamers a timeless cast filled with originality, depth, and memorable lines including the "Chili con carne" battle-cry. The game consistently presents the player with different gameplay mechanics that never suffer for lack of variety. Despite being yanked from the edges of contemporary time, BG&E still delights like no other. This HD remake also saves everyone the trouble of having to choose between three gimped versions of the game on older consoles or the hassle PC drivers pose. Now when will we get BG&E 2?
A- Revolution report card
  • Looks pretty
  • Sounds pretty
  • It's pretty to play
  • Varied gameplay that's all done right
  • Ageless design stands the test of time
  • Only $10
  • Low replay value
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.

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