Remastered and better than ever?
Everyone has a list of games that they should have played. Games that are considered classics but were somehow passed over for a variety of reasons. Beyond Good & Evil is one of those games for me. Despite hearing great things about it when it was released, I just never got a chance to sit down and play it. So when Ubisoft announced that they were re-releasing the title in a remastered HD package (via XBOX Love Arcade) I knew I had to jump at the opportunity to play the title that so many people have raved about for years.
The big questions emanating from me included whether this game, which is now eight years old, could hold up against more modern releases, and would I be able to enjoy the title without having nostalgia to lean on? Fortunately, the answer to both these questions is yes, although I say that with some reservations.
The story so far...
Hillys, the world of Beyond Good & Evil, is being attacked by an alien race called the DomZ. Hillys has a security force, the Alpha Sections, that is tasked with protecting the inhabitants of the small planet but they seem rather incompetent, always showing up too late to save the local populace. Early on, none of this is a concern to the main character Jade, a freelance photographer, as she sets out to make some money and restore the shield to the lighthouse where her Uncle Pey'j runs a foster home. Beyond Good & Evil HD starts out a bit slow but it does not take long before things start to ramp up and Jade gets involved in a world filled with intrigue and conspiracy.
Stewing pot of gameplay elements
Beyond Good & Evil is an open world adventure game. While the Zelda franchise was an obvious influence on the game design, the game incorporates a variety of game styles into one giant pot. Stealth, platforming, puzzle solving, racing, photography and even space combat all make their way into the mix and surprisingly, despite being quite rudimentary in execution, they are all done quite competently.
The core mechanic is stealth. In many games the stealth mechanics are a detriment to fun as they often times rely on unforgiving trial and error situations. Unlike a Splinter Cell game, Beyond Good & Evil takes a simplistic approach to the stealth, making the sections more of a traversal puzzle than anything else. Beyond Good & Evil is also far more forgiving than most stealth games and one will never find themselves having to rework through large sections of a level because they made a mistake. In fact, the check-pointing throughout the game is quite impressive and one of the best I have ever encountered in a game. While newer games featuring stealth could learn a thing or two from Beyond Good & Evil, the rest of the mechanics do feel like they come from an eight year old game.
Engaging story and characters, great graphics and sounds.
Some gameplay elements - especially the camera - show their age.