Beyond Good & Evil

by Wencke Schuncken
author awarded score: 90/100

Beyond Good & Evil Review
Published By: Ubisoft
Developed By: Ubisoft
Format Reviewed: PC
Review by: Wencke Schuncken

Although Ubisoft already has a good reputation of releasing good games, they gain even more credits with Beyond Good & Evil. Not only due to the lovely leading female character called Jade, but also to experience the different kind of adventures in a wonderful styled world. Jade is a determined investigative reporter who is going to deal with a variety of tasks. And which better partner could she have than you? Take control over Jade, lead her through the adventures and discover the secrets.

Beyond Good & Evil Review

Jade is a strong female character but nevertheless she’s been taken to a place called Hillys by her uncle Pey’J as it was too dangerous to stay on her previous planet which was threatened by an imperialistic alien race; the DomZ. Jade and Pey’J live in the Lighthouse, a shelter for other orphaned victims whose parents were kidnapped as well by the DomZ. Pey’J may be presented as her uncle but has no resemblance as he is a piggy styled character and Jade humanlike. After a while it seems that Hillys is no safe place either to stay as it gets attacked by the evil DomZ as well. A strange phenomenon is that the towns army, the Alpha Sections, are always too late to block the Domz attacks. Jade doesn’t think that it is a coincident and doesn’t trust the Alpha Sections army. She joins the IRISnetwork, a group of people who also have second thoughts about the weird actions happening on the planet Hillys. They even publish a Iris-newspaper to inform people about the real facts, what’s going on in their neighbourhood, what the Alpha Section is up to and even recruit members to start a revolution against the Alpha Sections and the DomZ. Jade takes action and armed with her camera, Dai-Jo staff and fierce determination and tries to uncover the truth behind the truth behind the prolonged war. Step into the adventurous world and find out if Jade’s discoveries be enough to free her people in the end.

Actually with this game you’ll step from one adventure into the next one. The variety of gameplay and actions is huge. It’s an action adventure with lots of bits of all adventure genre games. You’ll need to investigate, take pictures of strange species, knock out guards, sneak and hide, solve some puzzles and even participate in a hovercraft race. The hovercraft is a very important transport vehicle but always needs to be upgraded to unlock new areas or to complete certain quests. Upgradeable parts can be bought in a garage by exchanging pearls. These pearls can be gathered in a number of ways including simply finding pearls in crates, filling the camera film with pictures if all Hillys creatures as well as winning certain games such as hovercraft races. The factory for example is a place which is not accessible as it is guarded by a robot you cannot exterminate. Therefore a hovercraft upgrade is necessary, one which can exterminate the robot to gain access and destroy robot enemies in the future of course! Like most action adventures this game also includes a large selection of “boss creatures” that have to be defeated before any progression can be made. All of these bosses are very strong and have a certain pattern of attack which can be followed and countered using the skills both Jade and her friends have. Note that if you are having trouble bringing a boss down, you should pay more attention to his behaviour and action pattern before making your moves to conquer it!

Beyond Good & Evil Review

Due to the different kind of adventure solving quests, it’s a very pleasurable and entertaining game. It gives you the feeling of being an adventurous reporter, trying to publish the best pictures and uncovering the truth. The controlling in each action is quite simple to handle. But I would prefer to use a PC controller stick instead of using the keyboard / mouse. Maybe I prefer that more as I already played this game on the gamecube and love to control a character with the analogue stick more than using arrows or specified keys to walk. Nevertheless it still is quite acceptable to play with the keyboard and it won’t take long before you’re adapt to the controls (which key does what). You have a certain number of weapons, including the camera, the staff and a disc to make your way through the game but also Pey’J is going to be your partner during some boss fights. Note that he’s hardly controllable by you but has some great artificial intelligent to prove to be a good partner.

The graphics are simply awesome. The cartoon designed characters, the human-like and beautifully styled Jade, the weird phantasm creatures, the breathtaking environments. Three hip hip hoorays for the designers, especially for having the guts of giving the leading role to a girl! And what a girl. She’s been designed in a way that nobody can complain. She fits to the story and adventures without being styled with a DD cup, a very small waist and 2 meter long legs. No they kept it normal and therefore Jade is one of the most appreciated leading character if you ask a female gamer. Also Jade’s emotions are made realistic, seeing her when she’s worried when she finds out something disturbing catches the gamer emotion as well. The same happens of course when she achieved something pleasurable such as beating an enemy or solving a puzzle. Just lovely!

Beyond Good & Evil Review

Regarding the sound in Beyond Good & Evil, there’s nothing to complain about. The background music is orchestral and changes fluently when you enter a new environment. Also the sound adapts to the gameplay handling. For example if you are sneaking towards a guard but hit something that creates a noise, the music will go into dramatic mode to give you an even stronger feeling that something is wrong. The sound effects are realistic and the voice actors should have received an extra bonus for doing a great job. Their voices really fits to the characters and it seems that they just read the lines but lay emotion in their voices / characters. Brilliant is the word to describe All of the music in the game, from the beginning scene to the final battle is very well done including all of the musical transitions.

The female point of view is obvious; female gamers are proud of Jade. She’s a new female character which represents an intellectual, brave and normal looking girl. Not only is she appreciated by female gamers, but male gamers also seem to be very fond of her. I loved to control this character and do all sorts of activities such as taking pictures, racing, gathering pearls, sneaking around, etc. If there is ever going to be an election for best female leading role / character, Jade would be the proud girl to go on stage and grab that price, I’ll take care after her camera and shoot a picture while she proudly holds her trophy! That picture is surely worth at least a billion pearls!

Beyond Good & Evil Review

A great story, diversity in activities, a great female character performance, perfect graphics and sound and still no number one position in the global videogames rating? Okay there are some minus points I didn’t want to reveal earlier. Actually there is only one big minus point; the length. It’s a marvellous game but its length is too short. To compensate it the retail price was lower than the average game, but you get so caught up in the game that you don’t want to end it, especially not after ten to fifteen hours! But if you want some quality gaming hours, you better check out Beyond Good & Evil! I had two good reasons to appreciate this game so much and rate it with a nine: Jade’s performance in style and action is superb and I’m very fond of different kind of activities. It keeps me motivated to keep on gaming and having lots of fun without getting bored. Whether I needed to sneak around, race with the hovercraft or trying to make the most beautiful snapshots of crazy creatures. All was just fun to do and contributed to the story which needed to ended in a good way, beyond good if possible. If you never played this game before, please do. You’ll not regret it. Actually if I was rich I would give away these kind of games for free to all gamers as they’re plain good and need to be played and experienced!