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Beyond Good & Evil (PlayStation 2)

88
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Pixelspeech (955)
Written on  :  Feb 04, 2012
Platform  :  PlayStation 2
Rating  :  1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars

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Summary

Waiter, there appears to be a Metal Gear Solid in my Zelda.

The Good

I like the fact that the protagonist in this game, Jade, is not really a hero by default. She is not like Link, Dovahkiin or any other fantasy-store protagonist who somehow becomes the Chosen One. Jade is a photographer who knows a tiny bit about combat, but not enough to justify calling her a fighter. The story goes that she becomes embroiled in the troubles of a resistance that seeks to expose a corrupt government by photographing their secrets and by doing so saving the world, I like the idea of the everyday hero and the idea itself is really clever.

Working with the camera is fairly interesting. You can use it to see the world from a First-person perspective and scan your surroundings more accurately, but the camera also identifies objects and organisms. For example: Aiming the camera at a door would tell you, Fi-style, that the object you are looking at is indeed a door. In a more useful situation though: The camera revealed to me what a very strong enemy's weak-point was and this became essential to me when fighting that enemy.

I really like the character of Jade and her uncle Pey'j. The two of them have a very lovable relationship and the dialogue between the two seems very realm which helped endearing the two characters to me despite of Pey'j been more of a comic-relief type that I would normally hate. Jade is more serious though, but it was mostly her design that I didn't really like. Once again it is proven that character is more important than looks, I suppose.

After a rather action-packed opening sequence the game calmed down a bit and I learned that fighting was a rare pleasure and not an everyday occurrence. Most of the time you will be exploring the world, solving puzzles, doing side-quests, gathering items or taking pictures. I also give credit to the producer for putting that in the demo for the xbox 360 HD-release, as opposed to BrĂ¼tal Legend which never showed it was an RTS until people bought and played it.

The game has a lot of different mechanics: moving, combat, driving and photographing just to name a few. This makes it all the more surprising that all the mechanics function very well (except for one I didn't mention and will get back at) and allow you to do everything as fluently as possible. I could also walk around for a while and then step into a vehicle, without suddenly having to figure out the controls all over again, which is a nice extra.

The Bad

The game is terrible at immersing the player into the world it is trying to create. Whereas good games like say... Dragon Age 2 would provide you with written information about the world around you or even explanations within dialogue, this game just kinda drops you in the middle of everything and never explains a damn thing. Why is Pey'j a pig? Why are there talking rhinos? Where am I? Who am I fighting? How does this world function? All basic questions that the game failed to answer, this is not immersing, this is what you get when a five year old writes the story for your game.

The big moment when I stopped playing this game was in an enemy facility when suddenly and out of nothing I was faced with sneaking sequences. I would say "introduced", but that word couldn't be more inappropriate. The sneaking comes out of nothing and not even a hint regarding the controls is shown. The game just automatically assumes you know how to sneak in videogames and when the enemies spot you. I am a bit of a gaming veteran, so I figured this out fairly fast, but even then it barely worked and I stopped having fun. The very first enemies you have to sneak past are heavily armored elite soldiers who throw grenades at you and kill you in two hits and don't tell me "You just suck at sneaking" because I played sneaking classes in Oblivion, Skyrim, Alpha Protocol and quite a few other games, I can sneak, but not in this game.

The game has a problem that I left unmentioned in my review on Kingdom Hearts, namely that the game switches between spoken dialogue and text-boxes. It. Drives. Me. INSANE. Have some damn consistency and either use text or use spoken dialogue, not both. I simply hate it when I talk to a character and I am treated on a few lines of dialogue before the game switches to a cut-scene where the characters speak.

Another small problem I have is with the name of the world, it's called Hyllis. While that is not really a problem, it's a fine name, it does mean that the inhabitants are called "Hyllians"... Sound familiar? The game is already very similar to a Zelda game, but this is just taking the piss.

I also didn't really like the way the inventory screen works. When you press start it show you a menu with your objectives, some items and other stuff, but not the actual inventory. To open the inventory you have to click on a specific slot which contains some weirdly named... thing and then it shows you the items that you are carrying. This first became a problem when I had to type in a code located on a ticket (God forbid that just having the ticket is enough), but I couldn't find the ticket anywhere and spend one and a half hour rigorously exhausting all the possibilities in an attempt to find out where it had went.

The Bottom Line

One of the easiest ways to farm some dislikes on a Mobygames review is to have a very negative opinion on a game that is critically acclaimed and generally considered to be an underrated gem, but frankly I don't give a damn because the truth deserves to be heard. While Beyond Good and Evil starts off pretty decent and allows you to enjoy a pretty simple fantasy adventure, it just poisons itself when it introduces sneaking mechanics to an already overloaded game.

If you are the kind of hipster gamer that will religiously defend anything as long as it's not mainstream then get this game and start sending me hate-mail. Everybody else can turn right and buy Wolfenstein 3D or something, everything on the XBLA or PSN is better than this.