Ubisoft’s forgotten arse-kicking female protagonist
A good adventure game has to have certain elements: exploration rewards, believable and captivating characters, awesome combat mechanics and beautiful environments. Beyond Good & Evil definitely has all of these in surplus.
Released in 2003 by Ubisoft, it portrays the story of freelance-photographer Jade (who’s also a kick-ass martial artist) as she finds herself working for the secret resistance organisation, IRIS, to uncover the local governments’ corruption and its connection to the Domz monsters invasion.
Set in the year 2435 on a small mining planet of Hillys, citizens are concerned over the recent and increasing mysterious disappearances of residents. Authorities appear to have no acknowledgement of these disappearances but to the select few who have their eyes and ears open, it becomes obviously transparent that the local population are being lied to, and at worst expendable. This is where Jade Reporting comes in, using her skills as a photographer to evidence the whispers of corruption and scandal and present the truth to the people.
Her mission takes her through a wide range of environments, from sneaking through restricted areas to kicking hovering-skeleton-sarcophagus asses with her judo stick. The inclusion of hovercraft races is a fun extra, who doesn’t love a bit of friendly racing with plasma cannons on top?
As well as using her camera to document scandals, the player has a side quest to photograph all the local wildlife that call Hillys their home. These range from easy-to-spot ones like the noisy seagulls or the playful dipnoids that jump and leap over your hovercraft, right up to the majestic whales that are particularly difficult to photograph, and even the secret deep-space frozen whale needs its picture snapped! This provides an interesting challenge for the player, resembling Pokémon where you strive to catch’em all.
As well as making this a fun collectible quest, the player is rewarded with credits ( the local currency) which can be used to buy goods and upgrades from the local market, or to use to gamble on mini-games in the bustling Akuda bar. These are fun inclusions that also keep you immersed within the game, and a chance to meet the shady characters loitering in the shadows.
The sense of freedom is apparent when you’re walking the streets, discovering hidden alleyways or mingling with the local residents. Overhearing the odd whisper of rumour or the passion in a group of protestors voices creates an immersive world, where your actions really do have an affect on the NPC’s way of life. What makes BG&E stand out is the absolute beautiful environment, with gorgeous sceneries and creative fictional wildlife. Characters are believable and each have a unique sense of character and purpose in the story.
A much anticipated sequel was in development but later got cancelled. However, its been rumoured that Ubisoft might be blowing the dust off BG&E 2. One can only hope.
By Molly Colyer
Available on Amazon on PS2 and in this nifty Ubisoft Classic pack for PC: Ubisoft Classics (5 game pack) (PC DVD)