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December 2, 2003
Beyond Good & Evil - Review
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A trio of friends led by Jade.
UbiSoft really have become a powerhouse developer on Playstation 2, and other systems. In the last month alone they have released the stunning Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and the fantastic cel-shaded First Person Shooter XIII. Early next year they will be releasing Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Jungle Storm which will be online compatible on the Playstation 2. Yet another stunning title is this game, Beyond Good & Evil from Michel Ancel, the mind behind UbiSoft's mascot character, Rayman. This game is a lot darker however, but no less impressive, especially with the storyline.

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Gorgeous graphics!
The planet of Hyllis has fallen under siege by a ruthless alien race. Despite the assurances of the Alpha Section defense squad, the war drags on, terrorizing the once-beautiful planet and crushing the faith of the people. From the rubble of a tiny island rises Jade - a rebellious young action reporter left traumatized by a brutal attack. When Jade is hired by the rebel organization IRIS, she learns that the Alpha Sections are secretly trafficking humans to the enemy. Still wary of who to believe, she sets out to expose the gruesome conspiracy and bring proof to her people. Armed with her camera, dai-jo staff, and unflinching resolve, Jade plunges into a sinister web to untangle the truth and restore justice to her planet. But as she earns the trust of her beleaguered people, Jade discovers that sometimes, in order to find the truth, you must look beyond good and evil.

Gameplay is certainly not in short supply in Beyond Good & Evil. As an action adventure game played in the 3rd person perspective there were always plenty of things that could go wrong with the game, but UbiSoft have made some great titles in recent years, and this continues the trend. 20-year-old Jade is a complete joy to control and acts immediately to your commands. She carries with her a dai-jo stick for close range attacks, light discs for distance attacks and a camera that is required throughout the game to gather evidence and also to scan the surroundings. In fact the camera plays an integral role in the gameplay as you'll have to take photos to gather evidence of the conspiracy.

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Cruising in the hovercraft.
Stealth also plays a large part in this game. In some missions you'll have to sneak past the enemies rather then attack them, and this can require some skill. The puzzles also require mention and quite often your colleagues will be required to help you progress. Pey'j (the half man half pig) will help you in many missions as will Double-H, a member of IRIS, a secret underground organisation out to prove that Alpha Section are also the enemy.

The other main section of gameplay in Beyond Good & Evil concerns the hovercraft. Although it starts out rather degraded (and hardly running) it can be upgraded, and will need to be, in order to progress through the game and battle the enemies on the seas. Upgrade parts can be purchased with Pearls collected after defeating enemies. The craft is responsive with the left analogue stick used to steer and accelerate while the R2 button provides a speed boost. Weapons are also available to take out the enemies for safe passage on the waters.

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Jade peaks around the corner.
Problems in this game a few and far between. Some people may object to the relative short length of the game - most people should be able to complete it in around 12 hours or so. The map could have also been improved somewhat as the multi-story levels are hard to distinguish on the 2D map, despite being split into levels. Still, these are minor quibbles in an otherwise brilliant game.

Graphically, Beyond Good & Evil shows once again how strong UbiSoft have become in mastering the Playstation 2's complex hardware. Using every cycle of CPU power this game has some of the most visually striking levels and detailed characters ever seen in a game and is certainly a game to show off to your friends. The texturing is splendid while the frame rate only drops on a few rare occasions. The animation is equally impressive and Jade runs and moves in spectacular fashion. Her facial expressions, particularly during the cut scenes, convey her mood perfectly while the effects such as smoke and weapons look wonderful. One interesting thing to note is that the developers have made this game in widescreen format giving it a more cinematic look during gameplay. To top it all off the game includes progressive scan TV support - very nice indeed.

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Check out the lighting...
Upon booting this game it is immediately apparent that the highlight of this game in the sound department is the wonderful voice acting. Not only is the dialogue witty, but the voice actors have put a lot of effort into making this game sound terrific. The music is also varied and ranges from electronic beats to orchestral sounds giving the game locations even more variety. The effects are also high quality and the whole package is emphasised through Dolby Pro Logic II sound.

Overall, Beyond Good & Evil is a fantastic platforming title. It's not as engrossing as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time mainly because the puzzle element isn't quite as strong, but this is still a stunning title that will have you engrossed until the end. Michel Ancel really has a knack for creating good characters, and those in this game are equally impressive, but it's the story that will have you captivated as you help Jade on her quest.

Review By: David Warner

GRAPHICSStunning texturing graphics and animation will impress anyone.
SOUNDThe best speech ever heard in a game. Music and effects are solid.
GAMEPLAYA very fun and tightly controlled game. Very addictive until the end.
VALUEAbout 12 hours, but once again this is quality over quantity.
OVERALLBeyond Good & Evil is yet another stunning title from UbiSoft. These people know how to make games, but more importantly add in a decent storyline. This game is certainly worth purchasing.

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