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Beyond Good & Evil (GameCube)

At times good games get overlooked and then tend to get massively overrated by the gaming community. I consider this the result of the desire to stand above the stupid masses. "This game's sooo good, but sooo few people played it. I belong to the elite who appreciates and recognizes high quality." - While this may be an exaggeration, it works like that. Beyond Good & Evil is such a game that got showered with praise after it had flopped.

European GC and Xbox owners benefited from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's decision to buy timed exclusivity for Ubisoft's new IP. Beyond Good & Evil bombed hard everywhere, so three months after the PS2 release, European owners of other consoles of that generation could pick up a brandnew copy on release day for a cheap €30 instead of the standard €60. I mention this because the Value category in my reviews judges the price value ratio, and this fact has unsurprisingly a positive effect. Not only on the category itself, but the final score as well.

Jade is a journalist and together with her "uncle" Pey'J - a hybrid between human and pig - she tries to uncover the truth about the supposed protectors of the planet Hillys, who secretly work together with the invaders, the Domz. The cinematic approach of the game is so consequent that widescreen is forced on players and the gameplay is rather shallow. Whether it's platforming, combat, stealth or hovercraft races, none of it is particularly demanding. This doesn't mean that the game isn't fun, but if you are looking for depth, you aren't going to find it in Beyond Good & Evil. The AI in stealth sections is ridiculously stupid, but I consider this a positive because I loathe stealth. Unfortunately, in the latter half of the game you get punished with instant death if you get spotted, whereas previously you can still try your luck in combat if you mess up.

The story goes back and forth between seriousness in the main portions and smartass comments after successful battles. Everything moves at a quick pace, but it couldn't be any other way considering the game's length. Even if you take the time to explore everything, you will get hardly more than ten hours out of Beyond Good & Evil. It's for this reason that I never considered this game an unfortunate flop. What plays part in this is how the game's story concludes. Shortly before the end it throws interesting tidbits at the player, that the whole thing is a lot bigger than previously assumed. Even IPs that already have a sequel 100% confirmed shouldn't do this, because it makes a game end on a sour note.

It's understandable that people are impressed by Beyond Good & Evil after only paying a few bucks for it. There's no real risk involved when you barely spend any money. But put this game up against other action-adventure titles that have a lot more meat and you realize that Beyond Good & Evil isn't a great classic, rather it's just a good game.

Controls 10 Jade is limited to basic actions in all aspects of the gameplay.
This works, but doesn't offer much depth.
Gameplay   Cinematic action-adventure with auto-platforming and stealth.
A hovercraft is used to explore planet Hillys.
Story   At times plot points feel either a bit forced or rushed.
The voice acting is well done.
Single-player   It doesn't get boring or repetitive. The latter is owed to the
short length of the game.
Multiplayer   Not
Graphics   Unique art style for an above average looking GC game.
Occasional slowdowns. Forced widescreen.
Sound   The soundtrack is in line with most other aspects.
Good, but rarely, if ever, great.
Value   Registering all creatures and finding all pearls results
in a playtime of only ten hours.
Replay Value   There's nothing new to see, nothing new to do.
Cutscenes are unskippable
Score 7 Beyond Good & Evil is fun while it lasts. The ending
provides more questions than answers.

Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club