Review

Beyond Good & Evil HD Review (PS3)

A few years ago, you were seeing this girl. She was pretty, intelligent, and had a great sense of humour. The only thing is, hardly anyone agreed with you. Despite your praise, she was never accepted, and moved out of town without an impact. The love you shared was banished forever, as people simply didn't give her the time she so rightly deserved. I was one of those people.
 

Jade battles against giant serpent vaginas once more...
Well, now she's back. Strutting into your life with a smattering of lip gloss, and shall we say, a more appealing exterior, Beyond Good and Evil gets a second chance to make your heart pulsate. It's been too long, but not much has changed in the eight year absence. Sure, a bit of blusher might make her cheeks look rosier, but if she's still the same person, is she going to change peoples' mind?

Metaphors aside, Beyond Good and Evil HD underlines why the downloadable market is so vital to the industry. The cult classic has been given a new lease of life, and with it, a chance to shine. A wacky world full of bizarre characters and unanswered questions await, starting with heroine Jade's uncle, a pig. Jade is something of a photographer, and as the game begins, is tasked with snapping as many weird and wonderful creatures as she can find.

Of course, Jade's ability doesn't stop right there, as Beyond Good and Evil HD's appeal would be significantly lower if the player only went on a Sealife Safari tour. She's partial to solving a mean puzzle, and loves to kick beastly butt. Her weapon of choice? A staff that's good for whacking any critter who dare cross her path. She's a lady of many talents, and one that is shrouded within an intriguing amount of depth. Her transformation is a gradual one, but Jade slowly underlines that, for a female protagonist to work in video games, they don't need to house two bald midgets under their top. Besides, that would be impractical for exploring the wonderfully insane world of the Hillys, which is always an interesting land to traverse. Plenty of objectives will get you out in the big wide world, and provides the chance for Beyond Good and Evil to flutter its new HD eyelashes.

It's certainly a charming game, too. There's a warmth and vibrancy about Beyond Good and Evil HD that's often missing in this, the age of the monochrome. Locations are memorable and distinctive, giving the player a sense that they're constantly making progress, despite the quality of their pictures. As you're graded by how well you capture each creature, there's nothing quite like getting it perfect. As a beautifully coloured bug scuttles across the floor, lit up by a neon-tinted background, Beyond Good and Evil HD underlines why it's been re-released.
 
There's plenty of hovercrafting to be done, so bring your gear
On a narrative level, you're pretty much on your own, as Beyond Good and Evil HD says “make what you will of this.” The game barely takes a breathe before you're pushed into solving puzzles, bypassing fences and capturing a legendary beast on film. Luckily, this works rather well. As your bacon-coated family member helps you through tasks, introducing the game's excellent notion of team work. This is a world where man and talking animals stand as equal, so it's no coincidence that good ol' Uncle Pey'J is as helpful as he is tasty.

If you've experienced Beyond Good and Evil before, then everything here will be mightily familiar. Despite the game looking prettier, it does show it's age in some areas. Camera's aren't particularly helpful, and will make you realise how good we have it these days. Combat, although simplistic and entertaining, is less fluid than what we've gotten used to over the last few years. With that said, the title must be commended for sticking to what made it such a revered formula in the first place, as no complications were added to sour the mix.

The fact that Beyond Good and Evil HD has been released is a testimony to the original product. The 2003 title just didn't get a fair crack of the whip, and is brilliantly placed to take advantage of the downloadable market. There's something here that's a little bit bonkers, as a blend of genres creates something memorable. This is a great look back at an era that has only just passed, but seems to distant, and reminds us how strong the depth of the last generation was.
 
Combat is simple and easy to get to grips with, but it does show its age

Beyond Good and Evil HD boasts enough variety to keep it consistently entertaining, and so that you never know where you will end up. It's likely you'll get to race against unearthly creatures, swat some flies and explore a fascinating universe all in one sitting. If this title is ever going to be held as anything other than an esteemed cult classic, the time is now.

Top Game Moment: Discovering the wonders of the Hillys.

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