Home
Twitter
RSS
Newsletter
Cian Hassett
14 Mar, 2011

Beyond Good and Evil HD Review

360 Review | Don't ignore me, buy me!
Hey you! Yes... you, it's all your fault! Why didn't you play Beyond Good and Evil back in 2003? Huh? That's right, there's no excuse. Fortunately, for the foolish folk out there, Ubisoft has given you a second chance to experience what all the hype was about for only 800 MSP (AU$13). It's updated, looks better than ever and still retains everything that we loved about the original. Eight years have passed since Jade and Pey'j first explored the organic world of 'Hillys', and to this day, we're still waiting patiently for a conclusion to their story. Beyond Good and Evil didn't earn enough money for Ubisoft, and even Michel Ancel's name couldn't boost sales. But now you have an opportunity to say sorry and buy one of the most original games of the past decade.

Based on the idyllic planet Hillys, Beyond Good and Evil HD has an intriguing plot full of wonderful characters. The beautiful protagonist, Jade, is accompanied by a not-so-beautiful pig, Pey'j, during a quest to unravel a government conspiracy. When aliens attack, chaos follows immediately afterwards and the mysterious Mr. De Castellac contacts Jade, at which point the story kicks off and you learn more about what's happening behind closed doors. Soon enough you'll be working for the IRIS Network, as they try to discover the motives of your enemey - the 'DomZ'. Missions are activated using discs at specific machines, but you're generally free to roam without any restrictions. Hillys is a character in itself; an original, quaint, self-contained community with plenty of vistas to gaze at. Unlike a nuclear wasteland or a cosmopolitan city, the world of Beyond Good and Evil prides itself on natural landscapes and imaginative inhabitants.

This beautiful thing could bite. The flower, not the woman, obviously...

This beautiful thing could bite. The flower, not the woman, obviously...
Close
From a visual standpoint, the game holds up extremely well. Aside from the obvious blemishes (two-dimensional trees and textures lacking detail), the team at Ubisoft has done a brilliant job of making Beyond Good and Evil HD feel at home on a big screen. The most impressive part of the visuals are the water effects. After exiting the lighthouse at the beginning of the game, you'll be allowed to navigate the seas on a little hovercraft thingymabob. Carving up waves and boosting across rippling shores might sound trivial, but it's easy to lose yourself in the beauty of it all. A majestic soundtrack, mostly comprising of piano loops, gives Hillys an extra layer of atmosphere that really evokes the sense that you're wired into something special. Jade's animation is still fluid, particularly in combat. She can attack multiple enemies at the same time, stylishly linking combos with the help of Pey'j and his fat arse. Not only is your companion a witty and entertaining character, he's also a vital part of the gameplay.

Beyond Good and Evil HD combines a number of different genres inside a tidy package. There's a solid fighting system, plenty of exploration and collecting, mini-games, races and competent stealth mechanics. Photography is easily the most memorable element, and you won't be able to complete the story without it. By taking research photos of animals, you'll gain valuable pearls and credits. Currency is extremely important around Hillys, it's essential for purchasing items at vending machines and upgrading the hovercraft. Try to pick up as many pearls as possible - many of them are cleverly hidden, but you're going to need lots of them before you can reach the final chapter. Jade's fight against the government is well paced and benefits from this variety. The control scheme is identical to before, and it performs brilliantly, particularly when it comes down to the inventory. Radial menus are everywhere these days, but Beyond Good and Evil was one of the first to use it. Navigation through the menus is smooth and the HUD never interferes with the action. Overall; it looks great, feels great and will definitely please the hardcore fans.

Transportation according to Michel Ancel.

Transportation according to Michel Ancel.
Close
While lots of good has been transferred over to this Xbox 360 version, we're still faced with a few problems. The camera angle isn't too bad, although you can't do a full three-sixty degree rotation around the hovercraft unless stationary, which is irritating during open battles on the water. Similarly when you're fighting indoors, the camera will often get too close to Jade and enemies become obscured. The upgrade here is purely visual, so you still have to deal with a lot of loading screens around Hillys. It would have been nice to travel freely without having to wait between each area. At the very least, these loading times could have been cut down. Finding faults with the gameplay is tricky, but if anything, some of the objectives could have been made clearer. The compass and map will do their best to guide you, but you might feel a bit confused in places. That being said, there's a lot of game in here. The bulk of the story can be completed in ten or so hours, but if you want to see and do everything, then you can almost double that. And trust us, you won't need any encouragement to explore.

Beyond Good and Evil HD is a terrific version of an already great game. The price tag means that it's essential for everyone on Xbox Live, because it's an important part of video game history. Ubisoft hasn't ironed out the flaws that slightly dented the original, but we're hoping that's because their workers are focusing on giving us closure after that cliff-hanger ending. This was an inspiring journey in 2003, and even though fans are going to miss out on that jaw dropping first time experience, Beyond Good and Evil HD is just as relevant in 2011. What are you waiting for? Start downloading it now.
The Score
Whether or not you've played it before is irrelevant, Beyond Good and Evil HD demands your attention. So, where's that sequel? 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Content

Beyond Good & Evil HD announced
01 Oct, 2010 So very, very good. A little evil too. But mostly good!
Rumour: Beyond Good & Evil 2 footage leaked
10 May, 2009 Could this be our first glimpse of Jade in action?
17 Comments
3 years ago
Awesome game. Finished the original on Xbox then twice on PS2. I will pick this up as soon as it is out on PSN. Does anyone know when that will be?
3 years ago
bought it for the third time as soon as it came out (Once on PC when it came out, then again when I found a copy on DVD instead of 4 cd's)

Now I just need to find time to play it.

Absolutely amazing game with some of the best art design I've seen in a game yet.
3 years ago
Buying the HD version seems wrong until I can at least finish one of the 3 versions I currently own (Xbox, PS2 & Cube)... icon_sad.gif
3 years ago
Hrmm load times haven't been reduced? Is that a fact or just perception? I mean.. wow.. to not reduce them seems almost lazy. HD-ifying shouldn't be just about the graphics but moving the old classic into the realm of the new generation, backend stuff included. I acknowledge that you can't go rewriting the whole codebase.. but there's some stuff, like file I/O optimisation that should have definitely been included in the overhaul..

...still it's something I've been waiting for but for PSN not XBox.
3 years ago
considering the game we're talking about I think we should just consider ourselves lucky it even happened at all.
3 years ago
I don't. It's all about money in the end. They know this will sell well and that's why they did it, not to make you or I feel lucky. I appreciate the game is there and possible to be played in HD.. but that's where that fantasy ends, for me atleast.

Money, money, money, money.. money.
3 years ago
is it really guaranteed to sell well? I mean all that's happened since it bombed originally is the 20 people that bought it when it came out have kept bitching about it and you can buy it cheaper at multiple other places
3 years ago
light487 wrote
I don't. It's all about money in the end. They know this will sell well and that's why they did it, not to make you or I feel lucky. I appreciate the game is there and possible to be played in HD.. but that's where that fantasy ends, for me atleast.

Money, money, money, money.. money.
Money, money, money, money, money that will be invested in BG&E2, assuming this version does OK. Works fine for me.

(Plus, I think this was more of a "dipping the toes in the water" kind of thing; rather than spending tens of millions on a sequel they spend one remaking what they had.)
3 years ago
I agree that bringing older games to the HD generation needs to be more than a cosmetic job. As much as I loved playing through the Prince of Persia Trilogy again, the glitches and deficiencies highlighted that these jobs need more work than is being put into them. What's wrong with fixing aspects such as cameras, glitches, control issues and that like? Oh right, that would require a proper effort and money...
3 years ago
It's no different to restoring an old B&W film for a new release as far as I see it.

Especially considering that you're already introducing enough new bugs as it is porting an old crusty code base to a new platform. It's not an easy job. Especially if (in the case of God of War) you're dealing exclusively with PS2 code.
3 years ago
It's definitely not an easy job, but as a consumer, I'd prefer a product that is (relatively) bug-free and improved over a fresh coat of paint. Otherwise, I'm not plonking down the cash. To each his own, I suppose.
3 years ago
Benza wrote
is it really guaranteed to sell well? I mean all that's happened since it bombed originally is the 20 people that bought it when it came out have kept bitching about it and you can buy it cheaper at multiple other places
XBLA/PSN means that a whole lot more people will know of its existence. And then they'll be able to play a demo as well, so people that have never even heard of it will try it out and buy it.
3 years ago
I hope so, I see this as Ubisoft testing the waters for BEG&E 2 and my god, my want for that game is second only to Dungeon Keeper 3.
3 years ago
So, how does this stack up against the PC version?
Are the textures redone etc to a point where it is worth buying?
3 years ago
According to the review it's worth buying. Shockingly, its textures may not live up to the standards that PC fanboys hold, but I'm quite sure it'll be more than playable.
3 years ago
Nic_231 wrote
So, how does this stack up against the PC version?
Are the textures redone etc to a point where it is worth buying?
Haha I thought the same myself. Being the cynic I am, I guess it's probably just the (then) higher res PC textures ported to the more capable modern consoles.

Of course if you've not actually played BG&E before it's well worth a purchase. Brilliant little action adventure.
3 years ago
theory wrote
its textures may not live up to the standards that PC fanboys hold, but I'm quite sure it'll be more than playable.
Enjoying the objectively superior capabilities of a platform hardly makes you a fanboy icon_razz.gif
Add Comment
Like this review?
Share it with this tiny url: http://palg.nu/4AU

N4G : News for Gamers         Twitter This!

Digg!     Stumble This!

| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  02/03/2011 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  Ubisoft
Genre:
  Adventure
Year Made:
  2010
Players:
  1

Read more...
Currently Popular on PALGN
Australian Gaming Bargains - 08/12/11
'Tis the season to be bargaining.
R18+ Legislation
R18+ Legislation
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations Preview
Hands on time with the game. Chat time with the CEO of CyberConnect 2.
PALGN's Most Anticipated Games of 2007
24 titles to keep an eye on during 2007.
PALGN's Most Anticipated Games of 2008
And you thought 2007 was populated.