Beyond Good and Evil Review
All that could, of course, have been said of the original game too, so why should you pick up this remake of Beyond Good and Evil over the old version? After all, while the XBLA port is certainly cheaper than a full release, an eBayed copy of the old PC version is always going to cost a couple of pennies less.
It’s only here that Beyond Good and Evil HD disappoints, unfortunately. Ubisoft has re-mastered the entire game, upping the graphics and improving the soundtrack a bit, but it’s not enough to satisfy those who loved the original, which still holds up very well visually. In fact, this HD remake doesn’t seem like that big an upgrade when compared to our fond memories, either audibly or visually.
This HD release looks good, of course, but the changes are so subtle as to be entirely missable when compared to the PC original. If you’ve played the game before, then you’re going to be left feeling short-changed too, as there are no improvements beyond the aesthetic; no new content, no developer interviews and no new art gallery to peruse. There is
a ‘Making Of’ video, but it’s the same one that has always been there and is still far from revelatory.
The flipside of this, however, is that Ubisoft hasn’t broken anything in the process of changing or updating it. Jade looks just as pixie-ish and expressive as ever, while her deranged compatriot Double H still sounds like he just stumbled off the set of The Princess Bride. Nothing has been added, but nothing has been broken either.
On a purely functional front, this means Beyond Good and Evil is sometimes just as aggravating as it was beforehand, especially when it comes to coping with the third person camera. Prone to catching on corners and bouncing off level geometry, the camera is still an occasional pain in the ass, as is trying to get the focus of Jade’s own camera right when she’s taking snaps of Hillyan wildlife for extra credits.
The search for truth: it's got to be around here somewhere...
It’s a testament to Beyond Good and Evil’s strengths that none of these issues actually matter on the grand scale, however - as existing fans will already know. The camera may occasionally handle like a watermelon on a broom handle, but the energy of the action sequences and the fierce focus of the story-telling always make it worth ignoring for those few seconds when it might really bother you.
In fact, you know what? Forget we said anything about the camera, because it’s not really valid at all. Beyond Good and Evil has a few faults in it, sure, but focusing on them is like looking back at an ended relationship and complaining about how messy your partner was or how they never did their share of the cooking. It may be technically true, but those little flaws are, in fact, insignificant. They don’t change the fact that you were in love.
And it's worth falling in love with Beyond Good and Evil.