Retro Review | Beyond Good & Evil

Retro Review | Beyond Good & Evil


In the year 2435, photojournalist Jade discovers the truth about their so-called protectors, the Alpha Section


 

Name: Beyond Good & Evil

FormatNintendo Gamecube

Released: February 27, 2004 (Europe)

Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier, Ubisoft Milan

Publisher: Ubisoft

 


Beyond Good & Evil takes place in the year 2435 on the remote planet of Hillys, situated in the far reaches of the galaxy.

The planet is populated by a myriad of creatures including members of the human race. One of the human inhabitants is the photojournalist Jade who will be the protagonist of our story.

Life on planet Hillys is far from perfect. Every so often the population comes under attack by a race of beings known as the DomZ. These evil beings either capture their prey and drain their life force or convert them into slaves.

This is where the game begins with an attack on Jade’s home which is a clifftop lighthouse. She shares the home with the orphans whose parents have been lost due to the multiple attacks from the DomZs.

Jade runs to the power switch to activate a shield that will protect the structure of the lighthouse and those residing within. However, when the shield fails to activate, she realises that the power bill hasn’t been paid.

The DomZ attack the lighthouse and you must defend the children from attack. Despite Jade’s best efforts some of the children are still taken.

The Alpha Section arrives but far too late to help. The Alpha Section is a military presence who claim to be trying to protect the residents of Hillys from these attacks by the Domz.

Jade realises she must take up a job to earn credits and pay the bills. Picking up a camera, she decides to photograph the inhabitants of Hillys both large and small for the science museum who will catalogue her findings.


Beyond Good & Evil

Jade may only have her staff but it’s all she needs to defeat these creatures!


Her photography skills are soon noticed by IRIS, an underground resistance movement who are convinced that the Alpha Section is working with the DomZ. They recruit Jade to collect photographic evidence for their theory, so they can prove to the inhabitants of Hillys the truth of their situation.

Beyond Good & Evil is primarily a third person action adventure with many elements of puzzle solving and item collection.

You will spend most of the game as Jade but there will also be times when you will control her friends such as Pey’J, an anthropomorphic boar who has been an uncle figure in Jade’s life. This will come into effect usually during the solving of puzzle elements or when their special skills will help Jade during combat.

Jade doesn’t use a gun but instead fights using martial arts and a staff. Dispatching bad guys will leave behind crystals that can be used to purchase inventory items from various shops. These include food items to increase health.

When Jade uploads her photographs to the science museum she is rewarded with pearls. These are harder to come by and are used to buy the bigger and more expensive items in the game, usually ship upgrades.

Beyond Good & Evil features a linear story set within an open world. There are many locations to visit, all of which are represented as different islands. To travel between them, you will be given the use of a hovercraft. It is this vehicle that will benefit from the upgrades bought from your acquisition of pearls throughout the game.

You can travel to most locations at nearly any time, but you’ll soon encounter a problem that can only be solved by earning more pearls or gaining an item by completing a quest elsewhere on the map.

The hovercraft will also be used for racing. Whilst these are initially just a way to earn more money, one of the races will become essential to the main plot of the game.


Beyond Good & EvilThe hovercraft is used to go from island to island. However, this Alpha Section patrol craft doesn’t like you sticking your nose in where it doesn’t belong!


I originally bought this game on its first release for my Nintendo Gamecube back in 2003. Unfortunately, my Gamecube and the collection of games I had acquired were stolen in a burglary, so I didn’t manage to progress very far into the game.

Playing it again recently via the Nintendo Wii and I found I had become hooked. I had forgotten how much fun this game was.

Unfortunately, the game doesn’t support the progressive scan mode of the Nintendo Gamecube which would allow a High Definition output of 480P, but this doesn’t detriment from the game.

Developed by Ubisoft France, Beyond Good & Evil certainly does have a distinctive visual look that still holds up today. The graphics have obviously dated a little but not so much that you would call them ugly.

The characters in this science fiction tale have all been created with an exaggerated comic book style of art which made the game stand out from other titles from the time. Even though the graphics are nowhere as detailed as those of today’s titles, they still look very good.

In terms of gameplay, I have to say it was enjoyable from start to finish. I’m a little bit OCD so I didn’t mind trying to photograph all the inhabitants of Hillys to earn the extra pearls.

The missions in the game were a lot of fun and the mixture of puzzles and action feels just right. Towards the end of the game, there is a bigger stealth element that comes into play as just trying to kill bad guys gung-ho becomes an impossibility.


Beyond Good & Evil

The main cast of Beyond Good & Evil. Double H, Jade, Secundo and Pey’j.


Unfortunately, the game’s story is left hanging by the end. We discover part of the truth about who Jade really is, but not a completely satisfying answer. There is also a post-credits stinger that not only made me feel sorry for one of the characters but wondering where this story will go next.

Despite being critically acclaimed, the game was considered a commercial failure at the time of its release and this is why we have been left without another adventure with Jade for so long.

There have been many rumours for a sequel to Beyond Good & Evil for many years. A trailer first appeared in 2008 but Ubisoft remained quiet ever since.

In 2017, Ubisoft announced Beyond Good & Evil 2 at E3 where it was confirmed the story would take the form of a prequel. As of yet, there are no confirmed platforms or release date.

If you want to play the original Beyond Good & Evil, which I recommend you do, it can be found on the Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo Gamecube.

If you have a Microsoft Xbox360 or a Sony PlayStation 3, a remastered HD version is available from the respective online stores.


An excellent game that I enjoyed from start to finish. It may be fourteen years old now but it’s still worth playing today!


Beyond Good & Evil trailer.


 



John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves the movies and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990's. Whilst the web page idea became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. Now he's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.