On a recent visit to Ubi Soft's booth at ECTS, we got to check out a few levels from the PS2 version of Beyond Good & Evil. The game is 90-percent complete at present, but the version on display essentially consisted of just a handful of levels taken from various stages of the game.
The first level we played was stealth-based to begin with, requiring us to make our way through an industrial building of sorts without being detected by any of the aliens that were guarding it. The gameplay was quite simplistic for the most part, since the only moves at our disposal were moving and crouching, and because none of the guards seemed particularly alert. The only really interesting moment in this entire stage was when we were crawling through a tunnel inhabited by large rats that, if we got too close to them, attacked us and made enough noise to arouse suspicion in nearby guards. Thankfully, the rats' movements were very predictable, so beating them was simply a matter of studying their patterns. You're also able to take photos of all the different species that inhabit the various levels in the game, which can then be sold for money that goes toward hovercraft repairs and such. Once we made it through the stealth area safely, the action took a dramatic upturn and we found ourselves being pursued across rooftops by alien aircraft. Running toward the front of the screen, we not only had to evade enemy fire, but also perform jumps across rooftops, forward rolls, and swift changes in direction as the layout of the rooftops dictated.
Next up was an entirely different level in which we got to race Jade's hovercraft around a small oval circuit made up of both land and water, with a couple of fairly obvious shortcuts. The hovercraft was equipped with a gun, but we didn't actually need to use it to win the race. However, we did put the gun to good use on the next level, when our hovercraft entered an area in which fishing boats were under attack from a giant serpent-like dragon that floated above the water. The dragon proved to be a fast-moving but very large target for the most part, difficulty really only coming in the form of all the fishing boats that we weren't supposed to hit, though since we were required to destroy this enemy segment by segment, each destroyed segment of its huge serpentine body dropped into the water in front of our ship, so we were required to do a bit of quick dodging while we finished it off.
The Ubi Soft representative we spoke to about Beyond Good & Evil told us that the final game will allow players to explore a lot more than the ECTS version suggested, and that the levels on display won't necessarily be presented as such in the final version. Right now all we've really seen are a handful of very different levels that, if we didn't know better, could very easily be mistaken for levels from three or four different games. The third-person stealth and action levels showed some promise, but the hovercraft-based levels really looked and felt like they'd come from a completely different (and, at this point, somewhat unpolished) combat racing game. For more information on Beyond Good & Evil, which is currently scheduled for release in November, check out our previous coverage of the game.