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Why Beyond Good & Evil is one of the greatest games ever made

Some video games aim to redefine, taking established concepts and improving them with surgical precision. Others innovate, creating new foundations upon which future experiences will inevitably be built. Then there are games like Beyond Good & Evil, a title that has no interest in reinvention or innovation. It doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. Instead, it cares only about presenting an accessible experience that anyone can enjoy. It’s Beyond Good & Evil’s wonderful mix of varied gameplay mechanics, humorous cast of unique characters, and politically charged narrative that make it one of the best games ever.

Beyond Good & Evil doesn’t waste time with formalities, instead opting to throw you into the thick of things almost immediately. Within a few hours, you’ll experience a taste of the simple but enjoyable combat, the sneaky stealth encounters, the addicting photography segments, and plenty of hovercraft racing on the open waters of planet Hillys.

Check out GamesRadar's Game Club, where GR staffers played through BG&E for the first time

All of these mechanics are showcased throughout the game’s multiple puzzle-laden dungeons, and even in its small open world. There are a ton of secrets to find in these places, too, namely hidden areas full of pearls, a black market currency that can be used to purchase upgrades for Jade’s hovercraft from Rastafarian rhino-people.

Most importantly, all of these mechanics are well-executed, culminating in a diverse sequence of events that will keep you on your toes throughout. One minute, you’ll be sneaking into an enemy base to gather evidence against Hillys’ corrupt military organization; the next, you’ll be chasing down looters in a high-speed side mission. All of a sudden, you'll be running towards the camera in a daring chase that'll remind you of Uncharted (despite being released four years earlier). Oh, and you’ll also take a lot of pictures of the animal/human hybrid inhabitants of Hillys, and sell said photos to some creepy collector for credits and other surprises. 

Each game mechanic is essential a tool for Jade, a journalist tasked with exposing the Alpha Sections--the “protectors” of Hillys--as loyalists to the DomZ, an evil alien race intent on messing things up just for funzies. Every few minutes it'll feel like you're being introduced to a new tool, but none of the game's elements are as useful as the charming and quirky friends you’ll make throughout your journey.

First there’s Pey’j, Jade’s lovable half-pig, half-human uncle, who very obviously cares for his niece. He’s always lending her a helping hand, wielding a wire-cutting wrench, a series of one-liners, and his trademark jet boots fueled by a fart tank he wears on his pants (because why not?).

7 comments

  • Octaviux - August 30, 2012 9:10 p.m.

    I tried to play this game on steam a couple years ago because I heard so many good things about it. I got about 20 minutes in with the janky controls and was like Eeeeeehhhhhh....... nevermind. I think it's one of those that you had to play back in the day to appreciate.
  • KidKatana - August 30, 2012 1:34 a.m.

    I enjoyed the game for its mechanics and level/creature design, but I'm just gonna throw this out there: there was some glaringly appalling character design. I'll agree that Jade, Peyj and Double H were all endearing in their own way, but most of the other characters were offensive stereotypes, incredibly irritating, or both. Particular bile reserved for Segundo, who seems to think he's the absolute dog's bollocks despite his inability to even work out which hammy European accent he's trying to butcher. He's also used a lazy deus ex macchina; I would complain about that but at least the fact that he's only remembered when the plot requires him means that he got less screentime.
  • Chronicus_Pr1me - August 29, 2012 1:40 p.m.

    This game have trophies? Also I kind of agree with channel4, this site sure pimps the shizz outta Beyond HD. Guys must be gettin' a cut.
  • Channel4 - August 29, 2012 1:07 p.m.

    Played this last year and I didn't really enjoy it much. I just felt it was a boring Zelda clone and none of the characters or story were particularly interesting. It wasn't bad, but as soon as I realised that you had to go on a boring pearl collectathon to progress the story I just decided it wasn't worth playing anymore. Getting a bit sick of hearing about it on this site tbh.
  • RedOutlive. - August 30, 2012 5:25 p.m.

    It does bear a similarity to Zelda, but not as much focus on puzzles/combat, it's more about story/characters and the world (and veterans of LoZ series can probably already describe regions, and the story before even playing a new game). The closest thing to BG & E to me is a very old adventure game called Little Big Adventure and its sequel LBA2. It's just too bad UBISOFT is clueless and released this game along with PoP Sands of Time so it was easily overshadowed. Rayman Origins had to compete with UBI's own Assassin's Creed Revelations and also Call of Duty. Michel Ancel's games get no love from UBI.
  • Longnuts - August 29, 2012 12:46 p.m.

    Bought this when it was cheap as hell on XBLA (~240 points?) and still haven't played it. Dunno when I will either, bleghhh.
  • wadesmit - August 29, 2012 1:05 p.m.

    You really should. Despite it having aged a bit, it's still so fresh to play.

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