|Beyond Good and Evil|
|Platforms||Xbox, PS2, Gamecube, Windows|
|MtAMinutes to Action||3|
|Score||8 Gameplay: 8
Fun Factor: 9
|Buy from Amazon|
Beyond Good and Evil: the most overrated underrated game of all time? So many people say this game is underrated, I have to wonder if that's really true. But that's not the point of this post, the point is to rate The First Hour of Beyond Good and Evil. Warning: absolutely no overrating or underrating ahead. I'm beyond that.
(minutes are in bold)
00 - I once again start up a new game and the timer starts. One hour of underrated gameplay ahead I hear. Instead of opening up with a sweeping view of a city or some creepy voice over, we see a newscaster reporting on the latest happenings of the land. He informs us that there's a war going on! This is a pretty original idea for an opening scene as we get filled in on what's going on with a snarky journalist.
01 - The camera pans over to what appears to be the main character and her fox/goat friend doing Tai-chi on a cliff. But it doesn't take long for an explosion to rock the sky and bombs or meteorites start falling from above. The girl starts running and the game does that freeze-frame shot of her with camera clicks in the background. I always liked that cheesy stuff. Turns out her name is Jade, by the way.
02 - Jade runs to what appears to be a shield generator for the lighthouse. Does she really live in a lighthouse? I guess you don't see that too often. The button she presses mocks her for being out of money to pay the electric company so the shield can't restore itself!
03 - Some meteorites land by the lighthouse and a bunch of little animal kids fall in the holes. Why weren't they in the lighthouse like our disaster plan said?! Anyways, some alien capsules rise out of the earth and I get into my first fight! Action in just three minutes!
04 - So the game feels a lot like the latest Zelda games, which is definitely a good thing. I easily jog Jade around the battlefield and tap A to whack the machines. Jade also throws some martial arts in with her bowstaff for good measure and fighting is actually fun.
05 - I defeat all the machines pretty handily but near the end the battle started crawling along. I'm not able to tell if it's being artistic and slowing me down intentionally or if the frame rate was actually that bad. The game is beautiful looking but it's not doing any complicated lighting or particle effects.
06 - I fall down a hole somehow and get yelled at by some tentacle monster. I'm really not sure if he's speaking English or not (a trend in this first hour). A large pig jumps down and saves me and I get to fight this "boss". The pigs name is Pey'j (luckily there's voice overs or I wouldn't have known what to do with that apostrophe).
07 - As I whack and defeat the tentacle creature, the pig just stands around yelling about super attacks and such. Do your own super attack!
08 - I win an orb that is the size of my head and pocket it Guybrush Threepwood style. My talking belt says I can sell it on the black market. At least I think that's what he said, his Spanish accent was incredibly heavey!
09 - I go back up to the surface to find a bunch of soldiers and a news crew, I like this sort of storytelling where you really feel like you're in the world.
10 - Suddenly Jade faints! This is the necessary plot decision to move me into the house. I wake up surrounded by more animal children and a GIANT white dog. Scary looking!
11 - Spanish belt man pops out again (he's a hologram). This time I have no idea what he's saying, I can't even tell if he's speaking English. Should have turned those subtitles on I guess.
12 - Pey'j hands Jade her camera and we take our first picture of a horned ladybug. The more pictures I take, the more money I get to pay back our electric bill. And when I submit eight pictures of distinct animals, I get a digital zoom!
14 - I pick up some "Starkos Energy". Is it a piece of cheese? I also notice that jogging around in this game is a lot slower than Zelda. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though, it feels a little more realistic.
15 - I take another picture of some horned fox (why are some animals wild and some children living in my lighthouse?) and am able to pay back my electricity bill. Our lighthouse's shield regenerates and I guess we're safe from pterodactyls.
17 - I head downstairs to Pey'j's (that's awkward) workshop and am able to save my game. I also receive my first mission! I have to go to Black Isle Mine.
18 - Piggy says it's a trap! But since I'm the boss, I say we go there. I guess we need the money too. Beyond Good and Evil really makes it a point that we're poor.
21 - My first "puzzle"! I push a generator five feet into some sparks. Woo! The game feels more like Zelda every minute, but with a much more unique flavor.
22 - Looks like I get to drive a hovercraft. It looks pretty crappy but after driving air ships my whole life, I'm ready for something new.
23 - WOOOO! I'm cruising around the bay on my hovercraft, and I can shoot! Always a must on vehicles in video games. There's also a great compass feature that unobtrusively pokes me in the right direction. It doesn't take long though until my hovercraft dies and I get towed to the shop... There goes my fun.
24 - Mamago (a Jamaican rhinoceros?) explains his shop to me, boring. I don't have time for this in just one hour of underrated play!
26 - I buy a new engine with the orb I picked up before. Turns out with only 30 more orbs I can buy a space engine! Sweet! 34 minutes to collect them!
27 - My souped up hovercraft leaves the shop, only to run into a scripted boss battle! The bad guys attack again, this time with a giant water snake. Now, many games with vehicles try to pull off vehicle battles and a lot of them are really bad. This was actually really fun though, if easy. Cruising around the bay shooting at the lizard as he swam around. I'm not sure if I got hurt, but I only have two hearts of life anyway.
29 - I beat the snake and get another orb! 29 to go until my trip into space!
30 - I got an email! Cool! This kind of interaction is interesting.
31 - I try to head down towards the Black Isle but keep getting picked up by The Man. I don't think I'm going this way. In my frustration I destroy a civilian ship! Whoopee! Too bad I get fined, err. Grand Theft Auto guys don't get fined when they blow up cars. I only get fined 250 credits which I find out later is the price of a piece of cheese.
32 - I head into the city for a spectacular sight: there's hovercrafts and flying cars all around! Nice! Too bad I don't have time to enjoy the sights - instead I cruise through towards the Black Isle.
34 - I arrive at Black Isle without problems and get off my hovercraft. I meet an interesting handle-bar mustached man who tells me my mission is to take a picture of an elusive animal: Pterolimax. Sounds like my motor oil.
37 - The game really starts showing off its textures, it really is a beautiful game.
39 - Since I'm with Pey'j the pig, we get to do a lot of partner puzzles. This is another thing that can be either fun or obnoxious, but Beyond Good and Evil keeps them simple enough that I don't get annoyed. Mostly just telling Pey'j to step on a switch or lift his fat body off the ground.
40 - Pey'j shows off his jet boots, which run off methane and are run by contracting your abdominal muscles. Hilarious!
42 - I see a map and take a picture of it where it's then stored in memory. Great idea to the old concept.
43 - I get a new combo attack! Pey'j somehow causes time to slow down with his ground pound as I take aim at an enemy. Then that enemy flies across screen into something. I shoot some bad guys into barrels of TNT. They really shouldn't leave that stuff around.
44 - I take a picture of my eighth animal and receive a digital zoom. Seems like there's more rewards for more pictures, this is the kind of stuff that gets me coming back to games again and again.
46 - Pey'j yells "Sweet Jesus!" I have to laugh as I believe that's the first time I've ever heard that in a video game.
48 - Pey'j finds a giant wrench so now we can tear down chain linked fences. Man, the pig gets a sweet weapon and I get a larger zoom? Lame.
50 - Jade and me kind of get lost in the cave for a minute... I'm running past battles to keep the game moving.
52 - Shimmy! I've discussed my hate for shimmying before, but Jade moves pretty quick so I'm not bothered too much... but still enough to mention it.
53 - More decently fun partner puzzles.
54 - Pey'j gets mauled by some giant flying insect, I have to laugh at him.
55 - Whoops, I stepped on some baby slugs, I have a feeling something large is going to appear soon.
56 - Using my partner combo attack, I'm able to knock enemies off cliffs!
57 - I finally find the creatures I'm looking for, two little cute round things. I publish the picture to the internet I guess.
58 - Unsurprisingly (but still looks cool), the two creatures turn out to be the eyeballs of a much larger creature. He's another snake like creature and he goes in and out of holes while trying to drop acid on me. I manage to get a picture of him that's worth 3000 credits! That should cover the permanent burns on my body.
60 - At the last moment (by my own stringent time limit), I deliver the killing blow to the Pterolimax! Jade and Pey'j share a big hug (I really hope that's all there is to this relationship) and I receive another orb! Only 28 to go for my space engine, but I'm out of time!
Here's my ratings for the first hour of Beyond Good and Evil, out of 10.
Minutes to Action: 3
If you're going to borrow from games, why not borrow from the best. Beyond Good and Evil plays like the recent Zelda games at a slower pace similar to Prince of Persia. This is a pretty good combination and the game benefits greatly from it. Sometimes it is a little too slow as Jade's dives through the air seem to battle the laws of gravity. The photography aspect of the game isn't original, but it is fun and rewarding. Many games just give you a camera and there's really no point in using it.
Fun Factor: 9
A very fun, pretty fast paced first hour. This isn't God of War 2, but there's a lot more to do than constant battling. Having a partner in battle is nearly worthless, but it opens up new avenues for puzzles, which are executed decently. Beyond Good and Evil is just a fun game to play though and really has a great first hour.
The textures and animations were great. Jade looks good and isn't over-sexualized like the current trend of female protagonists. The frame rate suffers sometimes though but overall the game looks great.
I really enjoyed how the story was presented through newscasts, emails, and almost zero cutscenes. This kept the game moving at a quick pace while starting to flesh out what seems to be an interesting and mysterious conspiracy laden plot.
Overall First Hour: 8
This is a fresh adventure game in a genre that seems bogged down with unoriginality and sequels. The first hour of Beyond Good and Evil presents a whole slew of things to do and opens up a world I can't wait to explore. The game is much more open than both God of War 2 and EarthBound and much more varied in things to do. I'm not sure if this game is underrated but the first hour at least, is well worth playing. Beyond Good and Evil is available on a variety of platforms (PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, and PC) so it's likely you have the means to play this game. If you see it, pick it up as it's well worth the trip, at least the first hour is.