A great game! Too bad it's a tad bit short...

User Rating: 9 | Beyond Good & Evil PS2
Beyond Good And Evil is another amazing game from Ubisoft. It features a lot of gameplay mechanics similar to some of its trademark games, such as stealth sections reminiscent of Splinter Cell and platforming from Prince of Persia. But it's a wholly different game in many respects.

The game stars Jade, a young photojournalist who, by some epic turn of events, gets sucked into a tale of intrigue and heroism. She is joined by her pig-uncle, Pey'j, a mechanic who runs a lighthouse that serves as a home for orphans. This adventure takes place in the fictional planet called Hillys, where the world is intermittently attacked by another, uglier race of aliens called DomZ. From the beginning of the game, you'd notice that the graphics is top-notch, even for its time. The game's engine really put the PS2's graphical capabilities to greater heights, and it works really well in-game and in the cinematics. The character animations are wonderful, as well as the locales. The graphics has a fine texture to it that few PS2 games can deliver.

The story isn't really a long one, but it features a lot of serious stuff, like government conspiracies and gripping and emotional storylines. Not to worry though, because this tale is kept within child-tolerable limits, so that it wont be too tedious to understand. The story is just a little too straightforward, it really doesn't explore much backstory, and it just tends to just push players much into the main plot. Sometimes, I even thought that the game was going by too fast, it seems as though any moment would actually bring the climax and the inevitable roll of the credits. This proves that Ubisoft is again effective in delivering a superb world to play into.

Jade is plunged into a conspiracy involving an elite department of the military called the Alpha Sections, which is the main defense party against the DomZ. It turns out that they're not a very effective group-just arriving at invasion sites mere minutes after the attacks have been subdued by the citizens themselves (that is to say, Jade and her uncle). Town talk eventually reach your ears that a rebel faction ingeniously named Iris, is on a trail to find out what the Alpha Sections are really at. There's a good point at actually doubting the military, with more and more sections uptown being guarded by the military, with no adequate reason at all. And after every DomZ-attack, citizens disappear all of a sudden. Chaos is everywhere. What were the military playing at? Jade eventually stumbles into the Iris Network, and lands a job with them, as a photographer who will capture and evidence that would foil the acts of the Alpha Sections, should there be any. Well, the story becomes predictable in the middle, but it's still a great one to tell.

BGE is not your typical platformer. It's more of an action-oriented stealth game, with platforming and puzzle-solving elements wedged in between. Sure there's some cool platforming segments, but the emphasis here is the stealth. To reach different places, Jade and Pey'j must ride a hovercraft and drive it to designated points in the map. At first, you get to fight aliens using Jade's trusty combat stick or Daï-jo. The fighting segments are very fun to look at, but you're only pressing one button for the attack, and another for evade. Did you expect a lot of cool combos, with matching combo points? There's no such thing. The combat works fairy well, though. You can remotely control your Pey'j, albeit another solitary button, so that he'll perform a super attack. Later in the game, Pey'j is replaced by an ex-Alpha Section soldier names Double H. On the other hand, Jade must find her way through the sections of the map where missions are placed. Mostly you have to find ways to proceed to different objective points without you being discovered by guards. Sometimes, alternative routes are given, but otherwise, you just have to control Jade and help her make her way deeper into the maps.

Jade has with her a camera that would help her capture whatever evidence she could find within the Alpha Section-controlled locations. What are the merits for this job? Completing a mission and killing a boss or a special type of enemy yields blue pearls that can be used to trade with these garage Rhino-humanoids for vehicle upgrades. The hovercraft needs upgrading so that Jade can reach later levels and collecting and trading the pearls is a definite must. Killing typical threats, however, yields these pinkish crystals that serve as the main currency of the game. These are used to purchase health and health packs (in the form of food or repair kits), for Jade and the hovercraft. Jade can lend health packs to her partner as well, and they use it sparingly, which is good. Jade can increase her health bar but her two partners in the game have their health 'hearts' limited to two. They can still handle themselves well, though.

There are a few mini-games, as well, such as hovercraft racing, and a peculiar tabletop game that's also fun. These mini-games all reward Jade with a pearl if they win, so there's more reason to delve into these diversions. Sadly, it doesn't help the game's length too much. Still, if you're into a great action-adventure game with a great story, well, BGE is a game for you. The stealth bits can be a little jarring for some gamers, but it's still a great accomplishment to get through these clever game sequences. The voice work is incredible, and each character brings with them an emotional resonance that's effective in this game. The music, although great to listen to, tend to be repetitive, depending on the activity that Jade is doing in the world. Still, the soundtrack and sound design is great. It's not lengthy, and there's not much backstory, but it's a great package all the same. Pick up this game up and enjoy!