Recently one of my all-time favorite games, Beyond Good & Evil, was re-released on the Xbox Live Marketplace. I was ecstatic to see this overlooked classic re-released for a whole new audience and with a fresh new coat of paint. It’s been quite some time since I gave Jade’s epic journey a run through. Originally, I didn’t catch the game during it’s initial release window because I was distracted by a ton of other Xbox titles. However, once I starting digging through back catalog titles like Indigo Prophecy, Deus Ex: Invisible War, and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, I was hooked. To this day, Beyond Good & Evil remains one of my favorite games of all time.
In case you missed this game the first time around, Beyond Good & Evil is a third-person action game that features a female protagonist, Jade, and her talking pig companion Pey’j. Yup, you’re reading that correctly, you’re a chick with a pig for a teammate (only a Frenchman could think this one up, right?!). Jade is a rebellious hero who takes pictures of creatures for money and winds up bringing revolution to the planet of Hillys. The game features a unique (at the time) mixture of action-based gameplay with a collect-them-all photo hunt quality. For its time, Beyond Good & Evil was both revolutionary and engaging.
Now nearly a decade old, the big question that comes to mind is whether or not this iteration lives up to the hype. For me, the answer is a mix of yeses and nos. Not everything got better with age; but some aspects of Beyond Good & Evil remain exemplary.
The first big yes is the camera portion of the game. One of the side quests is use a camera to take pictures of any living species found in the game. This goes for good guys, bad guys, or just some flies buzzing around. Pausing a moment to take pictures of everything that moves is as relaxing and challenging as I remember. I get quite a thrill hunting down all of the different species in the game - especially when I have to stop in the heat of battle. It adds quite a bit of pressure to the fight.
The first big no is the camera for this game. It’s pretty apparent how well camera technology has advanced since 2003 and Beyond Good & Evil suffers because of it. Frequently, I found my camera hovering too close to a wall, angled in a wacky way, or just not in a spot where I could see enemies. It doesn’t make the game unplayable; nevertheless, it made me really look forward to the modern sequel that we were teased many moons ago.
Also in the no column, the character of Pey’j wasn’t as obnoxious in my fond memories of this game. I really was expecting a flawless story from my recollection and this guy knocked me out of that fog right away. Perhaps I’ve lost patience with early 21st century storytelling after playing some of the recent masterpieces.
In the yes column, I really loved hopping back into my hovercraft again. It provides a fun control scheme that brought back pleasant memories. Plus, the new HD graphics make the water so much better to look at and well worth buying this game again.
Overall, my experience with the re-release of Beyond Good & Evil is a positive one. I still enjoy the world and the gameplay with some reservations that pop up due to technology. I really hope that Ubisoft hit the sales mark they were targeting because playing this game just gets me more amped for the sequel.