Beyond Good & Evil (Xbox) review
"It's always a shame to see a game like this get passed up for the next installment in the Final Fantasy series. Or, as I like to say; ''Pretty boy and his pretty friends defeat overly pretty villan''. When pieces of gaming art like Beyond Good and Evil are passed up for the next in a line of cookie-cutter RPG's it makes me weep for the future. You'd be doing yourself a favor to pick up BG&E, it's bound to leave it's mark on you and become an instant classic in your mind even if it isn't recogniz..."
It's always a shame to see a game like this get passed up for the next installment in the Final Fantasy series. Or, as I like to say; ''Pretty boy and his pretty friends defeat overly pretty villan''. When pieces of gaming art like Beyond Good and Evil are passed up for the next in a line of cookie-cutter RPG's it makes me weep for the future. You'd be doing yourself a favor to pick up BG&E, it's bound to leave it's mark on you and become an instant classic in your mind even if it isn't recognized as such by most gamers. I honestly can not think of a reason why this game has been passed up so much. Perhaps the box art doesn't contain enough explosions. Perhaps Jade's breasts are four cup sizes too small. Whatever the reason, you can at least be sure you'll find this fantastic game at a great price. It launched at only $39.99 on the XBOX and the price only seems to keep going down from there.
We start with the planet Hillys. A planet under siege by an alien race known as The DomZ. These grotesque alien invaders capture men, women and even children from the planet, using them as sacrifices for thier High Priest. Led by General Khecks, the Alpha Sections arrive to fight back The DomZ. Oddly enough, they never arrive until after the battle has taken place, and even more people seem to have gone missing. People that are taken in and ''sheltered'' or ''hospitalized'' by the Alpha Sections are never seen or heard from again. Elsewhere, an underground network called IRIS seeks to unravel the conspiracy involving The DomZ, the Hillyan government and even the Alpha Sections themselves.
Elsewhere, a young woman named Jade lives with her Uncle Pey'j in a Lighthouse where they take care of children whom have lost thier parents during DomZ attacks. When the DomZ next attack Jade isn't able to get the Lighthouse shield up and many DomZ pods break through. After a dramatic rescue from Pey'j the two beat back the invaders and the Alpha Sections arrive to get most of the glory. Jade recieves an assignment shortly after and the adventure begins.
You'll take Jade through a Factory, a Slaughterhouse and even to the Moon as you fight back against The DomZ and unravel the conspiracy behind the Alpha Sections. It's got it's share of twists and turns and you'll continue playing just to see what happens to Jade next.
Through most of BG&E you'll be accompanied by a sidekick, be it Jade's Uncle Pey'j or a friend she meets later in the game. Your partner will follow behind you and aid you in solving puzzles and kicking DomZ ass (though mostly the former as opposed to the latter). Getting your companion to perform a simple action is as easy as tapping the B button. That's one of the things that makes BG&E so fantastic. Most anything you need to do can be done with a simple button press, making it easy to restore health or get your partner to use his Super Action in the middle of heated combat. Aside from the puzzles and the combat, when Jade is alone she'll need to use stealth. Jade is usually outnumbered and simply walking up to the nearest foe and smacking him one is a good way to catch a beat-down. So, you'll need to keep to the shadows and use objects as cover while trying to find a way past your opponents.
Not only that, there are a few other things to do on Hillys when you're not exposing conspiracy. You can take photos of the wildlife for cash, play a table game in a nearby bar, go shopping, or take part in Hoverboat races. Throughout the game you'll be collecting pearls for defeating certian baddies or accomplishing goals. You can use these to upgrade your Hoverboat, giving it an extra boost of speed, more firepower or the ability to jump. There's a ton of stuff to see, do and collect, and you're even given a special password as you play so you can rank yourself against others who've played the game.
As far as sound and music go in Beyond Good and Evil it's superb. The music seems to fit the mood at any point in the game and the voice acting is excellent, especially that of the three main characters. The actress behind Jade does an exceptional job, and she delivers her lines with feeling and emotion. One of the more dramatic scenes in the game might even make you cry. The music there combined with the fantastic voice acting and Jade's character model emoting so beautifuly makes me want to cry like a little girl. Don't let that get out though, I've got a rugged, Rambo-esque masculinity to maintain.
Like I said earlier, control is spot on. Most actions can be completed with the simple press of a button. Jade even jumps platforms simply by walking her up to a gap, so there's no worry about missing a jump and falling to your death. Controlling your partner is easy since they follow behind you and you can make them perform actions by pushing B. Use them to help you push things into place, stand in a certian spot, hit a switch or perform thier Super Action. In combat Jade attacks with a simple push of the A button and you can easily make her switch directions if she's about to be attacked from behind. Black activates your current item which is most often a health item. Standing next to your partner makes Jade give him that item. You can use your camera with the Y button and take pictures of anything you desire. Don't worry about using up all your film, this is a camera of the future! It never runs out, so go wild.
Visually, BG&E is also a treat. It's certianly no Splinter Cell or Halo, but it's excellent for a multi-platform affair. The models for the main characters are great, but Jade's stands out the most. She's even dressed in a fashionable shade of XBOX green! Green lipstick would normally look like crap, but Jade manages to pull it off. Kudos to Jade for being on the cusp of fashion. Speaking of Jade, the way her model emotes is fantastic. It's something that has to be seen to truly be appreciated. Hillys is a place that's transformed from a peaceful utopia to a dark and depressing war-torn planet as the DomZ lay siege to it through out the game. As you progress, more and more Hillyans will come out against the Alpha Sections and you'll see them protesting and chanting on the streets. The territory held by The DomZ is quite different. It has a great alien feel to it, with black organic archetecture, pods holding innocent people in suspended animation glowing a sickly green and endless chasams on either side of long and narrow bridges.
All in all, Beyond Good and Evil is a fantastic game that scores well in every category. It's got visual appeal, great voice acting, a wonderful story and gameplay that's second to none. It may sound a little strange, but I belive this is the best XBOX game to come out in 2003. Do yourself a favor and give Beyond Good and Evil a chance.
Community review by kramerica (January 17, 2004)
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