A classic game returns in HD.
When a new triple A game is released, the publishers invariably throw everything at the game, sometimes to the point of complete overkill, ensuring the players cannot move for seeing the game advertised to the full. The sad fact is that this means many really good games are overlooked, lost in the promotional rush. I can think of a couple of games in recent months at least that just haven’t had the coverage and love that they deserved. But this is not a recent phenomenon. In fact, back in 2003, a game came along that was largely overlooked by the gaming populace – Beyond Good & Evil.
Ubisoft can’t be blamed for this. At the end of the day, budgets can only be stretched so far and of course they want to promote the hell out of the games that they think will sell the best. But the sad thing about all of this is that Beyond Good & Evil was a magnificent game. It developed a following and many of these fans still clamour for the release of a sequel. Well, a sequel still has yet to be confirmed or denied, but at least the original will be getting much more love as it has now been given a graphical overhaul and released as the third entry into this years XBLA House Party.
Although many gamers out there will be wiping a nostalgic tear from their eye at this point, there will also be a whole lot more gamers that don’t know what all of the fuss is about. The story basically revolves around Jade, a freelance photographer. Besides taking photos for money, she also looks after orphans of the current struggle between the Alpha Sections and an alien race known as The DomZ. Oh, and she is also accompanied by her piggy uncle, Pey’J. The story is one of the highlights of the game and sees Jade, and Pey’J, thrust into an intergalactic conspiracy where nothing is as it seems.
The game manages to melt a number of different genres together into an easily enjoyable package, with simple combat, puzzle solving and exploration all well represented and tied together. But it should not be forgotten that this is a polished version of a last gen game, and as such new players may well find that the game does not offer the level of polish that they would expect.
With the exception of the visuals. This is the one area of the game that will astound the returning player and possibly even leave the newcomers feeling somewhat impressed. The HD that has been tacked onto the end of the games’ title represents the work that has gone into the graphical overhaul, bringing the game up to date with what one would expect from a decent arcade title. Things look positively stunning as the player works trhough the game. All of the environments are bright and colourful, and the water effects are amazing. There are still a few graphical anomalies to be seen, and the animations still seem aged, but this can easily be overlooked when immersing oneself in the game.
For all of the polish to the visuals, the game is still last-gen and whilst many may remember the game with a fondness and a lump in their throat, gamers have come to expect more from their games now. The combat is simple, too simple, and will see the player indulging in far too much button-mashing. The controls do not feel as slick as maybe they once did, or maybe again I have come to expect more.
But let’s not forget that this is being offered up as an arcade title, and in that light the game performs incredibly well. At 800 MSPoints, the game is a bargain and should be heartily snapped up by anyone who enjoyed it the first time around. Those who never played it should also pick the game up, just to see what all of the fuss is about and enjoy what is a damn good game. Let’s hope that this current revival will lead to a sequel.