Beyond Good and Evil HD is finally available on the PlayStation 3 now that Sony’s well publicized network trouble is mostly done with. Beyond Good and Evil is rightfully on nearly every critic’s list of must play games and is on everyone’s list of the best games no one played. You might ask why, if it’s so great, have you never heard of it, let alone played it? Beyond Good and Evil was released in 2003 by Ubisoft for the Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Gamecube, and Sony PlayStation 2 and developed by the creator of Rayman and the infatuation “smart” gamers have with this title is somewhat ironic as it was widely criticized at its showing in Los Angeles at the E3 expo in 2003 and this where its PR problems began.
As an adventure game, Beyond Good and Evil draws a lot from RPG adventures like Ico and the Legend of Zelda, but as with many Ubisoft games, it has a definite European feel.
Your character, Jane, is kind of an ordinary girl in a sci-fi setting. You’re broke and responsible for protecting a bunch of kids in an orphanage you run. Your vehicle is a beater of a hovercraft and you dabble in photography which luckily turns into a source of income. Besides the regular girl-type main protagonist, everything else about the story is very fantastic but accessible.
The gameplay is hugely varied and from standard action/adventure fare also includes stealth, driving, and of course photo taking/collecting. Jade’s weapon of choice is a dai-jo staff and you will have many occasions where you may be reluctant to use your camera before whacking enemies with your big stick. In a sense, Beyond Good and Evil is sandbox adventure albeit a smaller sandbox than Grand Theft Auto and its army of clones. Once you have your clunker of a hovercraft running, you can explore quite a bit of Hillys, although some areas will be altered in the course of your adventure so, be thorough.
Various mini-games and character switching to solve puzzles help keep the adventure from getting old. There are so many other aspects of classic adventure games incorporated into this gem, that everything has a way of feeling familiar. While you could easily call this game derivative, there is enough different about it as a whole to make it wholly its own experience.
The new HD edition of this game is a terrific boon to adventure gamers that would like a break from the more mature rated fare typically on this generation’s HD consoles. Hopefully, at $10 more gamers will give this little gem, packed with a couple of non-game extras a chance.
The only reservation some may have to this game is that even at the bargain pricing, this game is nearly eight years old. The HD treatment makes everything look smooth and shiny on your big HDTV, but the reduced polygon counts and last-gen gameplay will surely turn some potential buyers off. Unfortunately without a complete updating, the HD release may not do much to expose many more gamers to a genuinely good game. Although, as an added incentive to give this game a shot, there are regular reports that a full sequel is in the works.
Beyond Good and Evil HD is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Comic Mischief and Violence. This game can also be found on: Xbox 360.