Beyond Good and Evil

Knock knock

Who's there?

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Beyond Good and Evil

Beyond Good and Evil who?

Beyond Good and Evil your graphics drivers are out of date so go to Nvidia's site and download some utility that automatically keeps your drivers up to date and update to the latest driver and then relaunch Beyond Good and Evil and lose all ability to set resolution which you could do perfectly fine before updating your drivers but you still try booting up the game anyways to see just how bad it looks and no surprise it's at some resolution from 1997 so you quit the game and then quit Steam and relaunch to try and see if that changes anything but no dice and the game still says your graphics drivers are out of date even though you have it on good authority that your shit is totally-up-to-date so you give your whole computer a reboot and repeat the whole process but nope still no resolution options on the dropdown so you open up Chrome and search but no other computer-ninnies seem to be having the same problem so you uninstall the game and download it again and that takes some time so you open Twitch and watch people gleefully ignoring their unplayed Steam library and look at your Steam library again and realize you've already spent 20 minutes in Beyond Good and Evil's graphics dialogue and it's recorded that as play time and okay it's at 91% now and now it's done and nope still no resolution selection so you give up and play at N64 resolution and all of a sudden you get really happy that you are only committing to playing this game for half an hour.

The good news is that once you get past this BS and get used to the janky graphics issues on the PC version, this game turns out to be pretty good. First impressions were not the best as a confusing plot about corporations, war, an innocent planet, and an orphanage are dumped on the player and a pig won't stop yelling "USE YOUR SUPER ATTACK, JADE" during the first combat sequence.

The game's cast is a multicultural parade featuring a racially-ambiguous and barely sexualized female lead (these are all good things) named Jade who runs an orphanage and takes photos of wildlife for money, a heavily-accented pig who sounds like Texas, a hispanic AI who lives in Jade's satchel and cutely calls her "Yade", and a group of Jamaican hippos who run a black market hovershop mechanic shop. At first I was like "are you serious?" but as the pig character says: "hey pop, stay zen, don't get your snout bent out of shape." What initially feels saccharine and artificial in its "eco" and "hippy" and "friendly" aesthetic ends up growing on you. You start to sort of care about the characters and they grow endearing surprisingly quickly. The world feels like a well constructed pure-world-that's-been-dirtied dying to be cleaned, an impulse that the plot plays off of.

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My main issue with the game is that there are too many types of gameplay. In the first hour and a half you are running, jumping, solving simple puzzles, having conversations, exploring environments, taking pictures, driving a hovercraft, whacking stuff with a stick, and shooting stuff in a hovercraft. I could have really done without the last two. This game simply doesn't need combat. Combat devolves into looking at stuff and clicking until it disappears. The hovercraft combat is an even less pleasant variation which adds "fight mediocre controls" to the point-your-character-and-click combat recipe. As with the Uncharted series, the combat simply feels tacked on as a filler to make the game last longer. I love taking pictures of new species, I love running around the dungeons, and I love exploring the world. In the universe where this game's essence is distilled and combat is removed, I love this game. Unfortunately we don't live in that universe.

Another side effect of living in this universe is that I won't live forever, but if I did I would certainly play through the rest of Beyond Good and Evil. Death, however, is inevitable. If I knew I was going to die in a year I would not keep playing Beyond Good and Evil. So I'm going to stop.

Join me on Monday as I talk about my time with Cave Story+ (and don't forget to say hi on twitter).