Beyond Good & Evil HD

(I’ve been a bit busy with random bullshit lately, but I’m getting this bloggery going again. Great! Expect more stuff soon enough.)

I just finished Beyond Good & Evil HD.

That was fun.

I don’t usually prefix my ramblings with information on where to get games. I just sort of assume the readers are capable of finding this stuff on their own. But now, I really need to make things convenient for you all: You can grab the PC version of Beyond Good & Evil off GOG (US$9.99), or get the HD remake for Xbox 360 off of Xbox Live marketplace (800 MSP, I think). Seriously, go grab the games. Not exactly expensive these days.

Back? Had fun purchasing that thing? Good. You just saved the bloody universe.

When the game was originally released, everyone apparently thought it was a brilliant game. Of course, the problem is that no one bought it. It sort of slipped under the radar.

So for love of all that is holy, grab the game now.

The game was quite an experience all around. We follow Jade’s brilliant journey to photograph some vile things that the government is doing, and uncover an interesting plot involving alien invaders. Also, hovercrafting. And more photography. Stealth is involved.

It’s kind of funny how I’ve tried to play The Witcher 2 at the same time as Beyond Good & Evil, and both games are basically The Legend of Zelda ripoffs as far as interface goes… and you can take a few guesses which game has managed to infuriate me less. The new games have managed to mess up some simple procedures. (…I guess it would be a good time to point out that I’m not entirely convinced about the direction The Legend of Zelda has gone on Wii either…)

If there’s anything really bad to be said about the Xbox 360 enhanced remake is that it occasionally freezes for dumb reasons (turning off controller rumble helps a lot) and that camera is bloody impossible to control (every other game allows me to invert right stick Y axis, this one doesn’t).

But everything else about Beyond Good & Evil is just brilliant. Memorable dialogue. Memorable characters. Not exactly the most complex and intriguing plot ever, but it’s well performed and thought-provoking. A lot of stuff to do. Beautiful locations, fantastic music and sounds. (The only real reason I bought the PC version is that GOG has the soundtrack. And, hell, a game this good needs to be bought twice, because it didn’t sell that well when originally released.) Level designers made it actually possible to go back to the places you’ve already visited so you can go for 100% completion. (However, not every location can be backtracked to so I didn’t get 100%, but at least you get fair warnings when that’s about to happen. I wish I had gotten the animal detector earlier… awwwwww, the animal detector can detect animals, that’s so cute…) It’s not exactly a huge game, but they’ve crammed tons of interesting stuff in a couple of gigabytes.

And it’s quite refreshing to have a game plot that includes a lot of stuff you don’t see in video game plots. Propaganda! Revolutions! Pigs talking sense and using rocket boots! Secret agents that go at things by the book and won’t try to James Bond their shit! Doing actions that actually net you public support, instead of robbing some poor bastard’s kitchen when you run into their houses and open every locked box, like Link and Geralt do! (Okay, Link is worse. Geralt won’t smash anyone’s pottery.) Action game that, while it does action shit beautifully, actually tries to make the stealth portions even more beautiful. Because Jade is supposed to be sneaky and do sneaky journalistic things.

The Xbox 360 port, aside of the few issues mentioned above, is pretty good and the HD remake looks pretty damn great. There’s a bunch of actually fairly interesting and quite doable achievements (the racing ones were fun to do, thank you very much). And a few ridiculously easy ones. Yawn. I wish this had been done in the 400 point era, though.

The end was a bit abrupt, though. I wished for a bit more explanations of what’s going on in the end. Actually, the end boss battle was abrupt - first I was getting bored, then I found the thing pretty damn exciting, and then it was randomly over.

So once again: Get that bloody thing. It’s going to blow your mind.