Aug 15 2017

Late Beyond Good And Evil Review

In anticipation for Beyond Good And Evil 2, which isn’t slated for release until 2019, I wanted to get an idea of what the game universe was about by booting up the original game that started a fan cult. It certainly does have a charm to it that still shines even 13 years after release.

I believe I played the original edition of the game for PC and not the HD version that was later released, though I don’t think there is much difference in anyhow having looked at pictures online, maybe in textures but for a game that was released originally on the PS2, it’s forgivable if there are some stretched textures. Originally booting up the game, there was some graphical glitches, which required going into the settings to change some compatibility issues. Ultrawide gaming was supported to some extent, with stretching of the graphics, though I decided on playing in regular 1080p. What I did find though was that between each time I loaded up my save file, I would have to toggle the multi-threaded processing option. Nothing major but something that I had to diagnose, and hopefully this is a fix for those out there that are experiencing glitches and random texture popping after loading up their save file.

The essence of the game is that you play as the character Jade, a would be photographer turned journalist as you work for an undercover rebellion organisation alongside your companions to unroot the corruption that is plaguing your world. The game plays out, in some sense similar to Jak & Daxter, with platforming and combat aspects, though not as open planned and with limited combat maneuvers, which is OK as the emphasis of this game is a tailored story campaign with action and puzzles spliced inbetween. It also has that oddball feel of Borderlands, with the various characters and a Universe that is capable of intergalactic space travel with colonies on other planets. There isn’t much space travel in this game, but that’s something I’m definitely looking forward in BG&E2. There isn’t much in the way of exploration, as a lot of the maps are linear in progression, though there will be collectables along the way, such as a few outlying pearls that are used as a certain currency in the game for upgrades for your vehicles, and also a multitude of animals that need their picture snapped. This is where the game shines as you pull out your camera to document everything around you. Animals, characters and plot objectives don’t escape the lens of your camera, as you shift to camera mode to adjust to the correct zoom and snap a photo to be sent off. Some of these camera shots will require quick reflexes as you have to take them in the middle of combat or there’s just a small critter that actually is camera shy, requiring you to be sneaky with your shots.

Now a reason why you’re having to photograph the characters aswell, is because they’re animal/human crossbreeds, in which you will encounter pigs, cows, sharks and rhinos all living normal lives in the city. Completing rolls of camera film will reward you with pearls and eventually a nice little minigame. Upon progressing in the game, you will unlock side areas that will reward heavily in pearls, usually requiring your skills in being able to sneak around guards. There aren’t any levels of difficulty to choose from other than what the game has to offer first hand, so most of the puzzles that require Jade to be maneuvered around the level aren’t difficult to crack. I did enjoy that I was able to essentially achieve 100% completion in this game, though I did have to resort to the Internet for a special web code and a pearl which I probably could have worked out if I had just spent more time on it. There are also achievements to gain if playing the HD version of the game, which as I’ve mentioned, I sadly wasn’t. The mini games are a blast to play, with the racing on point and could have easily been expanded into an entire spin-off game of it own, if the developers had caught on at the time.

Combat is nothing but pressing a single button whilst pushing in the direction of the enemy you want to hit. There is a strong attack you can try to use that will hit multiple enemies around you, though you never really get a chance to initiate it as enemies will constantly break your charge. You can also dodge attacks by right clicking if your playing via mouse and keyboard, which I found myself doing as the sensitivity of the XBOX ONE controller was too high to control. If you’re accompanied by either one of your companions, Peyj the Pig or Double H the reporter, you can use their secondary attack to stun enemies that will help you get a late hit on them or blast them into the environment. The end boss is the only time the combat does become slightly challenging, with the boss changing fighting style quite a few times, with the most difficult being when he reverses your directional controls, with what follows a minigame in which you either have to workout out or memorize the series of reverse actions needed to defeat the boss. This one actually took me a few goes as it kept catching me out and there isn’t really a time limit on actions, which I didn’t realise, so for a little while I was hurriedly mashing buttons until I released that I could take my time. I was lucky that I’d been saving up quite a lot of health kits for the final fight otherwise I would have had to repeat this 5 minute exercise.

Ofcourse I’m not one to spoil the story, so I’ll leave that for you to enjoy by playing the game yourself. What I will say is that there are some charming elements, it does actually get quite dark at times, which wasn’t something I was actually expecting from a game which does have a bit of a childish look to it, but I think that’s only because of the dated graphics that caught me out. I think if I had played the game at the original time of release, I could maybe have gotten much more behind the game and possibly understood why this is a cult favourite amongst many, but from my experience, it was a fun, interesting game that I was glad to play, just not something that would go on my top 20 list. The additional ending after the credits was a bit of a cliché, leaving it on a cliff hanger that will undoubtably not be covered for a very long time, seeing as the next game to be made will be a prequel to the events that transpired. The music that is used throughout the game sets the atmosphere brilliantly, really well composed and an absolute joy to listen to. The soundtrack is something that I could download and listen back to at a later date. I love the airships that fill the sky from as soon as you start the game, a throwback for me to Final Fantasy 9. I do feel at times that BG&E tries to copy quite a few of the themes from FF9, not really achieving the diversity that FF9 managed, but all-in-all a good enough attempt. I do absolutely love the chinese references, another throwback to Firefly, so there is a great mash up of themes going on in this game which I’m sure will later be expanded on.

Having learnt that the original game took 3 years to develop, I’m not sure how I feel about this and the story in the game. I feel that the overall experience could have been slightly more enriched, but the backstory was interesting enough, and I’m sure there will be plenty of room to expand on this just as what happened with the Star Wars series. I honestly love that there are animal hybrids in this Universe, I’ve never gotten into a series that has this theme, so would love to delve deeper into this, hopefully in future being able to use their unique abilities to the player’s advantage.

From what I’ve heard, the second game will play more like The Division, allowing you to customise your character as well as recruit party members to explore the world with, looking for loot whilst completing the campaign and exploring many planets. This is something that I’ve been looking for in a game for years, so am super hyped to play it and will probably be preordering my edition, just not sure for which console. Maybe it’ll be a PS5 Day One release by then. I do wonder about the developers though, in the sense that the original game took them 3 years to develop and this second game has gone through so many restarts, with an announcement years back of a sequel that never materialized, only to change gear and now announce a prequel, after like 15 years of messing around. I think that the creators are pretty lucky that the game is under the wing of Ubisoft, who have a great knowledge of creating vast open worlds, all with multiplayer/coop features as I’m sure they will help to carry most of the burden of the work, hopefully leaving the original creators to get on with their creativity and create a story that will please the fans and us newcomers to the series.


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