From the same creator of the Rayman games, Michel Ancel delivers a new game with the same attention to stunning details and top-notch gameplay that made his pervious games so successful. The game starts off when aliens invade the peaceful planet of Hillys and the Alpha Section’s intervention troops seem unable to hold them off and continue to protect the planet. You take control of Jade, an attractive young reporter, who must reveal the truth and discover the secrets the government doesn’t want her to know. Beyond Good and Evil has some of the best gameplay mechanics I’ve seen since The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. You control Jade, armed with her camera, dai-jo staff, and her loyal companions, as you travel through huge, detailed environments on your quest to uncover a government conspiracy. There’s so much to do in this game that it’ll keep you busy for quite a while. Similar to Zelda, Jade is able to run, jump, roll, crouch, and climb. When you’re able to do all this the levels can become much more interesting and interactive. Aside from the complex plot you follow, there are also many mini-games to complete that add hour of extra gameplay.
The main currency for money is in credits that are used to buy items and upgrades to aid you during your investigations. You can even collect Ap-1s (which add a heart to you or your companions energy level), special detectors (used to find animals or pearls), and other items – such as a starkos, which is used to restore 1 heart of you energy level. Aside from the normal credits, you can also collect pearls, which are a rare form of unofficial currency accepted on the black market. You can collect these by beating bosses, mini-games, or complete other various tasks.
The main tool you have in this game is your camera. You can take, store, and transmit any photo you take using the camera. It also receives e-mail and scans maps to help you find your way around. You can even make some money by taking pictures of animals and sending them to the research department. Once you finish a roll of film you can receive a bonus, such as a pearl. The camera is also used to snap pictures of important evidence needed to complete specific missions.
Controlling Jade is easy enough, by not as easy as I wanted it to be. The control stick is used to move and the R button is used to run. The C-stick controls the camera, which is a huge advantage because you sometimes end up with some odd camera angles. The Z button switches to camera mode, which allows you zoom in and observe details in your environment. The L button causes Jade to crouch and the B button causes her to jump and roll. The control pad selects items and the X button uses the selected item. The A button is the main action button and is commonly used in the game. It allows you to perform an attack, shoot, validate an action, or snap a picture. Controlling Jade is a bit choppy, but it doesn’t cause too many problems.
The game has a very good fighting system. Jade mainly uses her dai-jo staff to fight off many enemies at once. Jade can also perform several special attacks by charging up. She can also jump and flip all over to confuse her opponents. The fighting system is well designed, easy to learn, and great fun.
Jade doesn’t have to progress through the game by herself. She meets up with several other friends who help out and aid her in battle and exploration. For example, if Jades trying to move an opposing object and it’s too heavy for her to push by herself, you can press the Y button to signal her partner to come and help you out. This comes in handy down the line and is an important aspect of the game.
Another key part to this game is traveling over water by way of a hovercraft. The controls are similar to controlling Jade: The R button is used to accelerate, the L button us used to stop, and the A button is used to shoot. You can also purchase upgrades for your hovercraft, using pearls, to increase its armour/resistance and gain other advantages, such as jumping. Driving the hovercraft is all great fun. You can even choose to participate in races and competitions to win prizes. The controls aren’t perfect and take a while to get use to, but it’s well worth it for all the fun.
The visuals are stunning. They’re not always perfectly smooth, but they’re incredibly detailed and very impressive. The visuals don’t overwhelm the game, they support it. The graphics are not the focus, but they’re necessary for every game. I was fairly impressed and satisfied with the game visually, but I’m going to praise the gameplay way more than the graphics.
The music and effects in this game are also well done. The music is much better than most games and the sounds are also very professional. The music really gets you into the mood of the situation. The sound effects are realistic, but still possess an unreal quality that always draws me in.
If you’re familiar with any of the 3-D Zelda games, you’ll notice many similarities in Beyond Good and Evil. They’re both different games, but they have a similar set-up. Beyond Good and Evil is just like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, only designed for adults. It has in-depth gameplay, a perfect level of difficulty, and some great ideas to keep any gamer busy for a long time. This is without doubt one of the best games of the year and is highly recommended.