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Beyond Good and Evil - 20th Anniversary Edition screenshot

They don’t make games like Beyond Good & Evil anymore

I have a confession to make: I’ve never played Beyond Good & Evil before. I know, I know: it’s just one of those that was always on my back log, you know? Eventually it just got too old to go back to. But now, with the release of Beyond Good & Evil – 20th Anniversary Edition, I have no excuse. And actually, I’m rather glad I waited. It may be old, but this adventure is still well worth jumping into.

Originally released in 2003, Beyond Good & Evil follows Jade, a photojournalist working to uncover the truth about an alien invasion. She’s accompanied by Pey’j, her boar-shaped best friend whose heavy load comes in handy for a variety of tasks. Pushing the action button will get Pey’j in motion, whether it’s to do a hefty ground-stomp that affects the environment or help Jade out by pressing a button.

Jade’s pretty capable on her own, too. Sure, she likes taking photos (as do I; capturing each of the individual species of animals in Beyond Good & Evil is a fun Pokémon Snap-like side-endeavour), but she’s also pretty capable with her weapon and fairly nimble on her feet.

Beyond Good and Evil - 20th Anniversary Edition screenshot
Screenshot: GameSpew

Being in control of her does show the game’s age somewhat, though. The camera is a little sluggish to follow you around and, in the way that early 2000s adventure games had a tendency to do, you’ll occasionally find yourself unable to see as you move around a corner and need to wait for the camera to catch up.

But it’s understandable: this is a 20-year-old game after all, and Ubisoft hasn’t spun this re-release as a remaster. It is tidied up, though. We wrote last week about some of the enhancements you’ll find here and in practice, it all feels in very good shape for a game from two decades ago. Its visuals hold up surprisingly well: if anything, their blockiness is charming rather than irritating. As are some of its other quirks of the time: you’ll need to use physical save points rather than rely on autosave or checkpoints. But as long as you remember they’re there (they seem well distributed enough), it’s not a problem.

Beyond Good and Evil - 20th Anniversary Edition screenshot
Screenshot: GameSpew

What stands out most about Beyond Good & Evil – 20th Anniversary Edition, though, is that it is very much a relic of the past. Games like this just don’t really exist in the same way anymore. It’s been a long time since Ubisoft made a linear adventure game like this, instead favouring huge open world games filled with towers to conquer and new parts of a map to unlock. It’s refreshing, in a way, to take a step back in time.

So: if you’ve never played Beyond Good & Evil before, give it a try. Yes, it’s aged — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is still a solid adventure game with likeable characters, a great storyline and some wonderful gameplay ideas. And if you have already played it? It’s well worth jumping back in for all the new content. There’s a speedrun mode, re-recorded audio tracks, an Anniversary Gallery and even a new mission that ties into Beyond Good & Evil 2.

Beyond Good & Evil – 20th Anniversary Edition is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

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