Beyond Good And Evil
I wish the animal people in BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL were my friends
Bhas only grown more attractive with time. It was always lovely, the world of Hillys, despite being a dystopia where the threat of war has left a population of animal people to the mercy of a military autocracy. I’d choose to live there if I could. The world could go to shit but you’d be just that little bit happier if your uncle/ best friend/hovercraft repairman was an anthropoid pig with fart-powered rocket shoes.
The game’s worldbuilding really stands up, as it happens. It’s both likeable in the way that 3D cartoon adventure games starring animal people tend to be likeable, and it has something to say in the way that games about grim alien dystopias tend to have something to say about, er, that specific problem. This is the only game to ever consider marrying Half-Life 2 to Banjo-Kazooie, which isn’t necessarily a surprise, but it does go some way to explaining why the 14-year absence of a sequel has made everybody in the world angry.
This is also a profoundly romantic interpretation of what it means to be a freelance journalist. Jade’s day job is taking photos of animals for an appreciative scientist, who replies to each submitted image with an
interesting fact, a note of praise, and immediate transfer of payment. Not content to simply exist within the digital ecosystem as a thoughtless generator of #content, Jade uses her money to maintain the electric forcefield that protects her lighthouse-turnedorphanage-turned hovercraft hangar from the alien invaders that pound her homeland on the reg.
She’s physically fit, a master of backflips and combat with a bo-staff. She meditates and can sprint indefinitely. She is regularly entrusted with commissions that actively improve the lives of the people around her. She looks good in green. I’m not sure if I hate Jade or if I’d like to be her. The only thing she has in common with every freelance journalist I’ve ever met is that she subsists entirely on wedges of yellow cheese, but in Jade’s case this actually makes her less likely to die.
Spice of life
Beyond Good and Evil is straightforward, as open world-ish adventure games tend to go, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Its photography and vehicle combat systems are good examples of how to include variety in a game without giving in to feature creep, and they never get in the way of the story or characters – everybody would probably clap if Ubisoft went back to this model for the next Assassin’s Creed, which they absolutely definitely won’t.
Instead, they fit seamlessly into a breezy, pleasant, and consistently imaginative romp with a good story. I should have probably picked a better word to describe Beyond Good and Evil than ‘romp’, to be honest with you, but I know what a real journalist looks like now and it’s entirely beyond me so I give up.
Jade’s day job is taking photos of animals for an appreciative scientist
Ah, the life of a professional journalist.
Jade likes green, unsurprisingly.
‘Modular hovercraft’ is fun to say out loud.