So, last week, I talked about space strategy set to one of the best soundtracks ever.
This week, we look at a game from the GameCube/PS2/Xbox era, a gem that everyone likes to talk about, but like 50 of us actually played.
Beyond Good & Evil was released back in November 2003 for PS2 (December for GC and Xbox). The game cast players as Jade, who lives with Pey'j (a sort of half boar-half man). They care for orphaned children on the planet Hillys. Children whom are orphaned as a result of constant attacks by the DomZ, aliens who abduct the Hillys inhabitants to turn them into slaves. Needing money to keep up the shield that protects them from DomZ attacks, Jade lands a job photographing the various animals on Hillys for a museum.
Jade soon finds herself contacted by the IRIS network, a group of activists who are trying to expose the secrets of Alpha Section, the military force that protects, and by extension controls, Hillys.
Jade's photography comes into play in the game. You snap pictures of the various species on Hillys for money and Orbs, another form of currency that can be used to upgrade your hovercraft, for example. Later on, you get the ability to shoot disc-like projectiles from your camera, which is great for distracting enemies or even outright defeating them under the right circumstances.
But it's not the main form of combat. Jade fights with a staff that allows you to perform simple, yet effective combos. Combat is pretty basic, which is par for the course for most adventure games from this era. You see an enemy, then hack at it with the staff, dodging as they attack.
It's a fun combat system, but not terribly complex. It gets the job done.
There is a stealth element in play as well. You can opt to sneak in and out of Alpha Section's various bases and factories, albeit to a limited degree. Mostly, you'll find points where you can slip by unnoticed, and points where there will definitely be combat, no question. But it's cool to have options.
For me, the game's all about the art style. There's an obvious Disney/Pixar/Don Bluth style going on in BG&E. Seriously, check out the guards in this shot:
It's like they stepped right out of The Incredibles or something. Particularly Double H, the big dude to the left of the next shot:
It's a game oozing with personality. And the story takes a lot of twists and turns before it reaches its epic conclusion.
The only sad news is, nobody really played BG&E. The game was yet another "critically-acclaimed, commercial failure." Released during the 2003 holiday season, the game failed to find an audience. Likely due to lack of marketing, or lack of visibility during a crowded release schedule. Just two months after release, it was common to see this game as low as $20 for a new copy. I myself was only dimly aware of the game at the time, having finally picked it up at a local Blockbuster for about $10.
And I'm glad i didn't miss it.
Of course, UbiSoft released an HD version on Xbox 360 and PS3! So you can check that out now, in high def. I'm happy to say, in my opinion, that it's a flawless port, but be warned-the game is just about ten years old. Games played differently back then. Personally I feel BG&E has aged quite well, but some of the dated elements are still there, like static hallways and constant, though brief, load times.
But the amazing story, and the great characters, hold up well. Better than some triple-A releases that come out today, in fact.
Have any questions, comments, or just wanna talk about games? Hit the comment section!
Thanks to Wikipedia and IGN for the images.
Next week, we look at a more recent title. One with an awful lot of angry screaming. YYYYAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!