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AshrakAiemain Blog

Beyond Good and Evil, or How Happy Endings Aren't Always Good

 Beyond Good & Evil is a game that no gamer should go without playing at some point in their lives. I think it is an absolute essential piece of gaming history, and it's one of my absolute favorite games of all time. I do not say this lightly, it's a goddamn masterpiece. That being said, the ending is really rather a let down. This might have to do with it originally being planned for a trilogy, but the sales scrapping that plan. Though, I feel this can not be the whole reason. The ending does the most foolish thing it possibly could, it goes against the very ideals of the rest of the game. This is a game about a photojournalist in war time on the planet Hillys. Jade is uncovering a vast conspiracy concening an alien menace being in control of the government. This alien force is taking citizens of the planet by kidnapping, and using them for their own nefarious gains. This is some heavily weighted stuff, and is handled as such throughout the game. It deals with themes of loss and destruction, and how a peaceful place can be turned into a hell by war. So, how does such heavy stuff get under-minded? Near the end of the game, the player learns Jade is actually somehow a secret weapon of the alien leader, who has been looking for her. She has hidden powers, which is just fine for a story. The power we get to witness is her ability to seemingly bring back the dead. Whilst I was happy as anyone to see Pey'j alive and kicking after witnessing him die, it does bring about an issue. At the finale of the game, we witness Jade not bring back the life of one person, but of dozens. If she can just bring people back at will, where is the weight? Every orphan at the lighthouse shelter just manages to get brought back to life? In a game with themes of war and the destruction it can bring, of governments holding secret agendas and costing lives in the process; we're led to believe that Jade never really loses anything at all. It's all well and good by the end. There is a tag after the credits that seems to hold some promise, but can't Jade just learn another godly ability? This is where the game fell apart for me. Not every story needs a happy ending. Beyond Good & Evil was a bittersweet story the whole ride, and a bittersweet ending should have been the perfect payoff. If you agree, let me know. Validation is always nice. :P If not, let me know in the comments how wrong I am. I don't mind being set straight if I'm wrong. And as always, constructive criticism is appreciated.