Hello, everyone. And welcome to Hidden Gems, where we take a look at games that have fallen into obscurity that no one has heard of, and see if those games deserved to be forgotten of it they should be more well known. And for the first episode of Hidden Gems, I want to talk about one of the best and most beloved obscure games out there. We all known Ubisoft for making games such as Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and a bunch of very buggy and untested games. But when less popular games, they seem to be less buggy and more fun, such as games like No More Heroes, Red Steel, and today’s game, Beyond Good and Evil. An obscure game that is very, very French
Beyond Good and Evil was a game released for the PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and the PSP… An obscure game for an obscure console, because of course. Beyond Good and Evil took place on a distant alien planet called Hillys, where humans and anthropomorphic alien creatures lived together, and were under the threat of a parasitic alien life form known as the DomZ, which, in one way or another, are connected to the military group Alpha Section, who are known for using propaganda and setting up curfews around Hillys. The game follows Jade, a young photojournalist who is a new member to IRIS, a journalism group who does what they can to find out the secrets of Alpha Section. She is helped by her non-biological uncle, Pey’j, an anthropomorphic pig with an ability to repair and build things, like jet boots. Later, you run into a character named Double H, an IRIS operative who isn’t exactly the smartest guy, but is definitely a strong asset to the group. Having both of them on your team really helps out, allowing you to use them in battles to fight enemies or help you solve puzzles, as Pey’j can use his jet boots to hit a button or use his wrench to cut through wire fences, and Double H can smash into enemies to stun them or run through steel gates to knock them down. And always having them around to communicate to really gives Jade and the two a personality. And a great one at that.
So, what is going on in the world of Beyond Good and Evil? Well, it’s one massive conspiracy that you have to discover, using your skills as a photojournalist to capture every moment, some of them being terrifying, such as brainwashing, trafficking, and torture. As you get more and more involved, more things in this game start to build up, and you learn that there is more to this than you’d think. What are the DomZ? What is Alpha Section hiding? What can IRIS do about it? What is the backstory of Jade and Pey’j? This game really makes you want to know the answers to these questions. But another thing that this game makes you want to do… Is take pretty pictures. This game isn’t all about taking pictures of conspiracy stuff. You also have to take pictures of the game’s wildlife. Jade takes so much pictures, she makes Frank West look like he’s never held a camera in his life. To be fair, she doesn’t get as many crazy shots like taking selfies with zombies, but she does get paid for what she takes. When you take pictures, you get paid. The more rare the creature, the more money you get. And if you fill up an entire roll, you are rewarded with a Pearl. Pearls are rare in this game, and are used to upgrade the hoverboat you drive around in, which is essential to getting anywhere in this game. You get Pearls by taking pictures, taking them from Looters, finding them in random spots, buying them, or by helping IRIS’s mission in finding out secrets of Alpha Sector. The game really does reward you for exploring and doing side missions, like the races or playing table tennis with a shark… I am not kidding. You can also find them in some creative ways, like taking a picture of a man’s room number in order to put it in the code to find a Pearl in his room. Like I said, this is a game where you must take the time to explore. But when you do need to get involved with the story… Boy, does it get really interesting.
Okay, so it starts right away with you fighting enemies, with no tutorial, no hints, nothing. Just hit every button and let yourself learn how to fight. This game doesn’t tell you anything. In fact, it tells you absolutely nothing from the start. Thankfully, it doesn’t take long to understand the world of Beyond Good and Evil, so you’ll have no trouble understanding it. When you do get into though, you will eventually be thrown into combat. Now, combat in Beyond Good and Evil, I will say, isn’t that complex. Just one button fighting, not much else. But the way you can dodge, and have Pey’j and Double H help out really makes it feel like it’s a very good combat system. The way Jade swings her staff at her enemies in a combo really adds an extra feel to it. It’s no Devil May Cry, that’s for sure, but it manages to be satisfying. But the real fun comes into the bosses. The bosses in this game are a real treat, as they manage to be less of a boss fight, and more of deadly puzzles you have to solve. And that isn’t a bad thing. You have to strategize and plan what to do before you lose health… Wait a minute. Thinking of strategies to beat a boss, without just mindlessly striking at it… That’s what Dark Souls does. And I love Dark Souls. So it’s nice to see that a game from years ago has managed to be this fresh with the bosses, even today. There is one boss I don’t like, but we’ll get to him later.
The puzzles in this game are also a lot of fun. They were never annoying or hard to figure out like an old point and click game, but they were never easy and straightforward either. They were also fair and fun, giving you subtle hints to find out and letting you feel like you actually accomplished something when you solved it, and having that sort of satisfaction isn’t something I’ve felt since Zelda games, which those had very satisfying puzzles to solve. But then you get to the stealth parts. And yes, I know everyone hates stealth sections in games where stealth isn’t the main focus. Look, if you aren’t Metal Gear Solid, and you have to sneak past enemies, people are going to hate it. But, don’t you worry, this isn’t Indigo Prophecy (Thankfully). These stealth sections are actually very well made. You have to sneak past massive guards, and if they catch you, instead of immediately losing or being sent back, you have a chance to either fight them or run away and hide. So it’s a lot like Metal Gear Solid… Until the one hit kill robots get introduced, then it gets a bit annoying. But I never died from them that much and it was usually my own fault for running out into an enemy filled area in the first place, so I think it was highly deserved. But, the best thing Beyond Good and Evil does is the exploration. I just love going around the world of Hillys, and looking at the wildlife and the caves and lands they live in. I think my favorite moment in the game was when I was in a very dangerous enemy filled area, and there was a small cave to the side. I decided to walk into it, and found nothing but a small creature in a shell. And as I stayed in this room, soft music began to play in the background. It was very calming, and I just wanted to stay in this room for hours. It managed to fill me with a sort of pleasure just by listening to the music, sitting in this one cave and looking at the little creature in the shell. And that, people, is how you do good atmosphere.
Alright, so the ending is where I kinda had a problem with this game. Not that I hated it, but I could have had a little more to it. So, in the end, you head to the moon base to find out what is really going on. As it turns out (Big surprise) Alpha Section was evil all along. They have been working alongside the DomZ for power, and have sent people who went against Alpha Section to the moon so that the DomZ could feed off of them. After a fight with the leader of Alpha Section in a giant spider robot, you head to find the DomZ High Priest, the final boss of the game, who tells you that Jade was created as a host to contain a power of the DomZ High Priest that was stolen from him so long ago… Huh? I thought this was a game about just playing as a photojournalist. Now she holds the power of the DomZ and possibly isn’t even human. I mean, they hint at it, but whatever. And then you fight the DomZ High Priest… And this fight SUCKS! He constantly moves around all the time, and will send clones of Pey’j and Double H to fight you. That isn’t the annoying part. The annoying part is when you have to hit the DomZ High Priest in a specific pattern before he hits you. And what’s worse is that, halfway through it, he reverts your controls, so now right is left, and left is right. This just makes me ill. And if he hits you once, you gotta do it again. I almost died here, but thankfully, I prevailed and was able to defeat him. Now, I have problems with this ending because of how abruptly it ends. Jade uses the DomZ power to free the prisoners and it zooms in to her face and… That’s it. Nothing else. It just cuts to credits. So what happened? Did they leave the moon? How was Jade after finding out the truth? What happened to Hillys after what happened with Alpha Section and the DomZ. Did they just leave the rotting corpse of the Alpha Section leader in the spider machine because he wasn’t worth the effort? H, but if you stay after the credits, you see a scene where Pey’j as a DomZ spore on his hand. That means that Pey’j is infected with a piece of the DomZ and could die or worse than that. But that’s only up for you to believe, as it may have been told in the sequel… The sequel that never got made…. OR DID IT!
The reason Beyond Good and Evil is so unheard of is because of how much of a financial failure it was. It didn’t sell many copies, and Ubisoft probably would have just forgotten about it. However, as time went on, word spread across the internet that Beyond Good and Evil was a really good game. Soon, people started finding copies for their old consoles and started to play them, and can agree that they are great games. So, Ubisoft gave Beyond Good and Evil one more chance, and released it on Xbox Live and Playstation Network, and it managed to sell better than in 2003. Because of this, they finally announced that they would be working on a Beyond Good and Evil 2, and even released a trailer. And you don’t know how happy that makes me feel, because Beyond Good and Evil is an amazing game.
So, as I’ve said, the ending is a bit “meh” for me. Maybe I’m just nitpicking, but I don’t know. But that’s okay, because everything else about this game is incredible. I don’t have much history with this game, since I only got it two months ago, but I can say for certain that I love this game so much. It’s one of the best obscure games I’ve played, and it’s a great way to start off the Hidden Gems series. So, let’s discuss the ranking. Bad games get the ranking of Bottom of the Bin, games with potential, but many flaws get the ranking of Hard Dig. Good games with some flaws get the ranking of Excavation Worthy. And amazing games with minor or no flaws get the Hidden Gems ranking. And, this isn’t even a debate. Beyond Good and Evil gets the Hidden Gems ranking. If you want to play an amazing game of exploration, combat, stealth, and one of the most interesting stories ever, then this is the game for you. I hope that you all support this game. It needs all the money it can get. Goodbye.