Beyond Good & Evil
By Zach Patterson Friday, 23 Jan 2004

Beyond Good and Evil, for whatever reason (I’m saying bad marketing) did not sell well at all when it was released. Well, unfortunately, the game is being cleared out of most stores. The good part is that I got it for only 10 bucks and it is a pretty good game.

First and foremost, this game has a very distinctive style. You will notice this almost immediately. Your partner for the first half of the game is a fat, talking pig named Pey’j. You are a hip, styling girl by the name of Jade. Later you meet Double H, a big bumbling agent with a heart of gold. and those are the main characters of the game. They are very well rendered and looks as though the game had a great artist working for it. Even the enemies have a cool, cartoony look that still maintains an adult feel.

The graphics, on the other hand, vary drastically throughout. The cinemas shine and use the in game graphics (I believe) to keep a great continuity to it. They look really sharp there, but in game the quality tends to dip frequently. I think it is mainly due to the PS2 hardware, and as a result they use less polygons in the actual game. It’s not too distracting, but enough to make you notice. On the plus side, the engine handles a lot of enemies and people onscreen at once, and renders a rather lush world nicely. It’s nowhere near the size of GTA style environments though. In fact, there really is only one town, and it is a little tiny. That is ok though, because the overworld is pretty big and allows you to boat, hover, and fly around it. And this game is not trying to be GTA, just in case you were wondering. There is a little inspiration there, but nothing obvious.

The controls are great, and work perfectly for this game. The battles are fun with your killing stick, and taking photos for research/espionage is a breeze as well. Also, when you have a companion they never seem to get in your way or act stupidly. The AI seems pretty solid for them, and competent for enemies, though they really just follow a set pattern most of the time (ie guards patrol and forget about you quickly, bosses have strict pattern of attacks, etc.). It is good to have precise control here too, considering a lot of the game is based on stealth, inspired heavily by Metal Gear Solid. You need to use shadows and boxes and other objects in the environment to your advantage, considering you are just a small human and you are infiltrating past all these huge guards. When you are spotted, the game changes modes and puts you into more of a Legend of Zelda OOT fighting system. It is quite reminiscent, actually, aside from z-targeting. The game also works on a hearts system like Zelda too. But apart from its derivativeness, it is still quite fun.

Music is really good in it too. As a matter of fact, it is one of its strongest points. From the laidback Mammago Garage theme to the tense stealth music to the epic theme at the end, there is quite the diverse selection.

The game actually only has a few flaws, and it is in what many people consider its greatest strength, the story. For one thing, it doesn’t feel complete at the end. They seem to be rushing through the plot, ad for one as good as they developed, they definitely should have made the game longer and a bit more ambitious. The world is a bit too small and when you are trying to free the world from the mysterious DomZ, it seems too self contained that the one city in the world is the only place cheering you on. And don’t get me wrong, the idea behind the plot is brilliant and refreshing, but it needed to be built upon. It never really felt like an outrage that they were using humans as soldiers like it should have. Also, when you finally are able to fly, after a lot of build up, it really had no impact and seemed rushed. I mean, going to the moon is great and all, but you cannot really do anything except confront the end. And then there is the epilogue, which is VERY unsatisfying, almost to the point of pissing me off. It ends on such a good note and then they have to throw some stupid plot twist in there like that. Bleh.

So yeah, all in all, it was a pretty fun game that kept me intrigued and interested for the entire time. It has quite a few minigames that are actually fun, and it helps break up the almost monotonous stealth parts at times. Some of the escape chase scenes are absolute classics. Unforunately, this game is a bit too derivative and unsatisfying plot wise in some parts. However, don’t let that deter you too much from picking this game up, it is definitely an overlooked, quality title from this generation.


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