Some games generate a passion that isn't reflected in their sales figures. Eight years after it was first released, Beyond Good & Evil still inspires a lot of retrospective love.
The HD subtitle is a bit cheeky - after all, the PC version was 'HD' back in 2003, and this is a faithful port. It plays, looks and sounds exactly the same.
The cartoon world of Hyllis is filled with strange stereotypes: a camp, holographic Spaniard, Walrus Rastafarians, and your adoptive uncle - a mid-State American pig called Pey'J. It also wins huge kudos for its female lead, Jade.
She's not artificially inflated for teenagers. She's not sassy. In a hopeless display of maturity, she's an average, green-lipped woman.
In the first 15 minutes of the game, it squirms around, defying you to get what it is. On one level it's Pokémon Snap, asking you to photograph the many creatures of the world. This is something you should bear in mind - it earns you several of the 88 pearls that you use to slowly upgrade your ship from a hovercraft to a spaceship.
Mini-games range from pub games to racing challenges, and while it's not the most accomplished racer, it's a welcome break in pace. The racing music - and the rest of the award-winning score - is excellent. You're an hour in before the game's truest nature - a puzzle-platformer - kicks in.
The world expands naturally, treating you like an adult. This does mean you'll waste some time working out where to go next, but Hyllis is so tightly designed, and opens up so intuitively, that you'll quickly figure it out and feel all the more satisfied for it. Be honest, where's the satisfaction in slavishly following markers on mini-maps?
The passion that BG&E inspires makes it too easy to gloss over the flaws - it'll take you a while to get used to the hyper-sensitive camera, the acting is choppy, and Jade's fighting style is uninspired. But this is a game in which killing comes second to the story, puzzles, the world, and the characters - it's 10-15 hours of genuinely compelling pleasure. Buy it. Let Ubisoft know we deserve nice things.
Our chance to put old mistakes right
- Great characters, script and story
- Varied gameplay
- Outstanding soundtrack
- Doesn't mollycoddle you
- Over-excitable camera