c0l0nelp0c0rn1's Beyond Good & Evil (PC) review

A few missed opportunities don't spoil this hidden gem!

Beyond Good & Evil is hailed by many as a classic that never was, a hidden gem that was buried under the rough that was the games industry circa 2003. Rough not only because there was a lot of samey FPS games, licensed games (the ones that set the trend of them being bad), and sports games, but also because there were a lot of games to distract people from the bad ones. For every Enter the Matrix you had Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. For every Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter you had Ratchet and Clank: Going Command o For every Madden NFL 2004 you had ESPN NFL Football. Mind that all these games are on the PS2 alone, so you can probably see why many people didn't play BG&E when it came out. The question then facing us today is: Is this seven year old game still worth going back to in 2010 or even 2011? With the HD remake coming soon, I shall make an attempt at answering that question.
 
 So Beyond Good & Evil starts out with an unexplained bang. Jade (our main

 Jade and the orphan meditating.
character) and one of the orphans she lives with are meditating on outside the lighthouse which they live in. All on a sudden things start going bananas. Aliens begin dropping from the sky and attacking Jade and her wards. Jade's Uncle, Pey'j (pronounced page), tells her to put up the shield. Jade attempts to do this, but her account is out of credits (the local currency) and the shield is refused them by the power company. Jade then has to fight the aliens, called the "Domz", instead of warding them off with the shield. When Jade fails to defeat all the monsters, the Alpha Sections show up to save the day. This sends Jade on a quest to basically get a job, but what follows is much more than that. The story is a very personal one about the devastating effects of a totalitarian government relationships. However, I found that the world in which this story takes place wasn't fleshed out enough. The wildlife photography mechanic (more on that later) seemed to indicate that there would be a bestiary for you to look through, but no such feature exists outside of looking at pictures of the animals. The Domz are never explained, there's no info on how the Alpha Sections came to power, and no reason for why or how the resistance group IRIS exists. Certainly a missed opportunity. 

While the world may not be the most detailed one, it certainly doesn't skimp on stuff for you to do. There are 88 different pearls to collect in the game, and while some of them are grouped together others have to be found individually. How do you obtain these pearls you ask? Well, for one there are hovercraft races to compete that net you a pearl for first place. There are "looter" chases that will also net you a pearl each. Combat missions, however, will get you far more pearls than just one. After completing all these objectives though, you still have to complete the main story. Doing that will net you a lot more pearls, and it plays out like Zelda, Pokemon Snap's baby if she did Metal Gear Solid right up until the birth. The Zelda traits shine through when you're going through a Domz infested dungeon. Like Zelda's dungeons you have to complete puzzles to access areas previously inaccessible. However, you don't collect new items in the dungeons to unlock new areas (save for the disk launcher), instead you have rely on your ally (usually your Uncle Pey'j) to get you through the stuff you're not man enough for. When you're infiltrating the Alpha Sections, you have to keep it slow and steady or else you will alert the guards. Herein lies the worst part of Beyond Good & Evil, and while it is by no means terrible it certainly doesn't hold a candle to what it aspires to be (...*cough*Metal Gear Solid*cough*...). Once you get past these sections you are required to take pictures of things to send back to the IRIS network, a newspaper seeking to uncover the truth about the Alpha Sections. These elements add up to make BG&E a really fun game to play.
 
While BG&E is a really fun game it doesn't hold up that well graphically. The spectre of "jaggies" is ever present in this game especially in the pause menu. The camera also gets hung up on the environment often. Regardless of graphical problems, though, the game's art design is very colorful and really stands out among the games of its day. The Domz look menacing with their one giant eye in the middle of their floating bodies. The Alpha Sections are particularly rigid and stoic in their appearance and robotlike in their movements. There are also tons and tons of animals to find and photograph in this world. Little dinosaurs, large eels, walrus men, rats, and all types of insects. Most are well designed and different enough from their real-world counterparts to be memorable. The music is also a high point, kicking into high action beats when combat takes place, playing particularly frantic pieces of music when you're running from the Alpha Sections, and putting on a somber piece during the more dire parts of the game.
 
With BG&E HD on the horizon, and Beyond Good & Evil 2 beyond it, do you really need to go and play this version? The answer, in my opinion, is not really, at least not this one. With BG&E HD's achievements and trophies, HD graphics, and (presumably) a first look at Beyond Good and Evil 2, the original release has been made largely obsolete. However, this doesn't mean you should pass this game up a second time, and while it may not be the shiniest or newest games out there I think it holds up well enough to be made shiny and new all over again.
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