Beyond Good & Evil is one of the favorite games of the legendary Bearded Uncle™ Alex Ptytsya. He fell in love with its heroine, the green-eyed Jade, and tens of thousands of Home PC readers across Ukraine fell in love with her. So, of course, we couldn’t pass by Beyond Good & Evil 20th Anniversary Edition, because we really wanted to go back to this year and remember our friend who is no longer with us.

But first, let’s give the floor to Alex himself, whose review of Beyond Good & Evil, published in DPK 3/2004, is still well remembered. Below is his modern Ukrainian translation.

Please note that both the translation and the appendix about Beyond Good & Evil 20th Anniversary Edition are illustrated with screenshots from the 2024 version, both my own and some official ones (I don’t have much time to play because of the damn Muscovites and the power outage). The word of Sasha Ptytsia.

Game Beyond Good & Evil Original (2003) and Beyond Good & Evil 20th Anniversary Edition (2024)
Genre action/adventure
Platforms Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube (Original – 2003–2004 роки); PlayStation 2, Xbox 360 (HD Remastered – 2011 рік); Windows, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One / Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch (20th Anniversary Edition – 2024)
Languages English
Developers Ubisoft Pictures, Ubisoft Milan, Virtuos Games, Ubisoft Montpellier
Publisher Ubisoft
Link
Ubisoft

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

A jade tale of conspiracy, Alex Ptytsia, HPC 3/2004 (Beyond Good & Evil)

 

Her lips and green beautiful eyes
Her world is secret and bizarre
I’m walking around in love
I want to write poetry about Jade.

 

The poems were born by themselves. It was love at first sight. A long time ago, more than a year ago (2002 – ed. note), when I saw her portrait on large posters, and then “in the flesh” on the monitors of the huge Ubisoft stand at E3 2003, I realized that I, as a boy, had once again fallen completely and irrevocably in love.

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

They say it right: “A gray hair in the head is a devil in the rib”. Forgetting about my former favorites April Ryan (The Longest Journey – 1999 – ed.) and Kate Walker (Syberia Advent – 2002), I indulged in the exhausting wait for a meeting with Jade… Numerous PR materials and previews in the online and print press attracted and intrigued me, but could not give me the most important thing – the impression of what surprises the most talented French (actually, he is a Monegasque-French designer, the small principality has something to be proud of besides Formula 1 racing – ed. editor’s note) game designer Michel Ancel.

You see, games made by the “descendants of the Musketeers” exist for me in two forms: assembly-line adventurous products according to the standards of the now-deceased Cryo. And an artificial product with its own personal, unlike anyone else’s face, which is completely out of the ordinary – Omikron: The Nomad Soul, Outcast, and other gems.

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

A huge merci beaucoup to Ansel and his team for going beyond the conventional standards and fusing together a lot of seemingly perfect things that don’t seem to fit together, creating something that defies rough analysis, but evokes a storm of emotions. So forgive me, gentlemen, if I am a bit confused or inconsistent. This is the nature of feelings, and it is very difficult to tame them, but it is necessary to do so at least to begin with in order to clearly describe the situation in the island country of Hylia at the moment the game begins.

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

No, not a game, but a real interactive cartoon, where episodes with the heroine you control are so skillfully intertwined with scripted videos that the seams between them are not even noticeable. The same can be said about polygenre: environmental exploration (in the Adventurous style), arcade fighting, hovercraft racing, puzzle solving, role-playing elements. I can’t even list them all, it’s easier to name the genres that didn’t share their elements with Beyond Good & Evil. But let’s get back to Hylia and meet Jade and her entourage.

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

…She is 20 years old. She earns her living as a freelance photojournalist. Together with a flock of orphans whose parents died as a result of raids by the hostile alien race of the DumZ (in the original, it’s actually DomZ, with a capital Latin Z, what a coincidence – ed. note), she lives in an old lighthouse, from the very top of which incredible views of the water surface with white martins flying in the sky open up. Nearby is a workshop where the laughing man reigns, and at the same time, the handyman, the pig-humanoid PJ, is her boyfriend and handsome. I can’t help but note that Michel Ansel has a certain nose for charismatic friends of the protagonists of his games. Connoisseurs, hey! Just think of Reiman’s inseparable companion (friend), the big blue Globocaster. Well, PJ is even cooler. Being very talkative in life, he accompanies Jade during all her dangerous adventures and can’t help but make witty comments and give advice to his pet. And our piggy has that right (in a good way), because he was essentially her foster uncle, as he raised and educated little Jade after her parents mysteriously disappeared many years ago.

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

The world of Hylia has long been dominated by a tense and oppressive atmosphere. Its inhabitants are fully confident that the elite Alpha Section troops will repel the evil aliens if necessary. But not everything is as simple as it seems at first glance.

How would you react if you found out about the lies surrounding you? What would you do to uncover the conspiracy behind the government? By the way, doesn’t this remind you of some of the motifs from my once favorite X-Files? Aliens, conspiracy, “the truth is out there”, “trust no one”. Our heroine is faced with the choice of her future life path.

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

The people from the IRIS underground organization, convinced that the Alpha Section was not doing what the local propaganda claimed, had been watching Jade for a long time and concluded that her fearlessness, journalistic observation and trusty camera would be useful in counter-propaganda and exposing the corrupt leadership. The girl actively took up the case, but it turned out that everything was much more serious than she could have imagined at first. We will not deprive you of the pleasure of understanding the further twists and turns of the plot on your own and will smoothly move on to other matters. For example, I would like to sing the praises of Jade and her creators once again.

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

Jade

Age – 20 years
Gender – female
Place of birth – Hillys
Eyes – green
Hair – brown
Marital status – orphan
Pseudonym – Shauni
Known “accomplices” – Pey’j (adoptive uncle), Double H (IRIS member)
Toolkit – a camera, Dai-Jo’s battle baton, a Gyrodisk launcher

Short biography
Jade grew up on the streets of the poor neighborhoods of Hillys, where she attended a good school, gained self-defense skills, and was deeply imbued with a sense of human solidarity. She never met her parents, and was raised by her uncle PJ, who later took in orphans whose parents were killed by alien aggression.

Jade is a photojournalist for the rebel organization IRIS, which is at the forefront of the struggle and publishes its exposés under the pseudonym Shauni. In them, she reveals all the secret activities of government conspirators who make full use of the media to deceive the masses (hmm… hasn’t this happened recently? – ed. note).

Джейд бореться за право свого народу знати правду, навіть якщо вона перебуває за межею добра та зла.

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

I would even draw some parallels with cinema, and there are many in game design. You’ve probably noticed how sometimes good directors, while building scenes in their own films, openly admire the lead actors who play them. In BGE, the situation is similar. Hundreds of close-ups, subtle nuances of facial expressions, the camera’s desire to show Jade in the most successful angles (unfortunately, sometimes the camera’s behavior is quite wayward, which somewhat reduces the pleasure of the gameplay). Believe it or not, my fingers were reaching for the key responsible for taking screenshots, and by the end of the game I had a very solid collection of them.

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

By the way, Jade’s real-life activities on the photo lanes are one of the essential components of the gameplay. Firstly, the material she (i.e. the player) shoots is used by the IRIS underground as evidence of the government’s illegal activities and the Alpha Section’s corruption, and secondly, it is the girl’s main source of income. The fact is that Hillys is home to many different fantastic creatures. The local Academy of Sciences conducts something like an inventory of all living things on the planet and pays Jade a lot of money for “photographic portraits” of representatives of different species. So sometimes, before engaging in combat with an attacker, you have to first point the camera at him, and only then grab a kung fu pole (not without magical properties), which Jade wields very deftly. Watching her fight choreography is a pleasure. After that, fights in Hong Kong action movies seem like “kindergarten on the lawn.”

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024
It turns out that there was a red Jade.

By the way, there is another nuance that evokes additional movie associations when playing Beyond Good & Evil, and it doesn’t look like originality for the sake of originality, but fits in with the concept and style. We are dealing with the first ever widescreen game! I can only imagine how cool its console version must look on a 16:9 TV screen (yes, on PCs in 2003-2004, with monitors mostly with a 5:4 aspect ratio, it looked very unexpected – ed.)

While we’re on the subject of consoles, I should mention another unique detail. In my memory, this is the first multi-platform game in which the lack of a gamepad in the PC version does not cause any discomfort. A mouse and keyboard are more than enough. From control issues, an associative chain leads my thoughts further to reflections on the interface. What can I say about it? A model of thoughtfulness, friendliness, and convenience (no, it doesn’t seem so now – ed. note).

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

I simply cannot evaluate the graphic design of Beyond Good & Evil. It would be dishonest to put algebra to harmony. Tell me, have you ever thought of analyzing what kind of paints they used to paint and what kinds of brushes they used to create their masterpieces while standing in the Hermitage (sorry, those were different times – ed. note) in front of the picturesque canvases of great masters? It’s the same here: beauty cannot be dismembered into pixels, shaders, and texture quality. It’s better to just relax and have fun…

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

Music is another object of pleasure. Every day it’s impossible to get rid of the melodies that pop up in my brain. I would love to have an audio CD of authentic reggae from a smuggling black market rhino rasta outlet, soft rap with the refrain “Propaganda” from the Akuda bar, and other musical themes in my collection.

It’s a pity that Beyond Good & Evil was released at the end of last year. It definitely deserves a few Game of the Year nominations. We will try to correct this injustice in the next voting.

…Джейде, я люблю тебе.

GAME FORMULA

Adventure + action + fighting + arcade + racing + puzzle + collection = Beyond Good & Evil

 

 

It’s like visiting an old friend, Oleg Danylov, Border June 2024 (Beyond Good & Evil 20th Anniversary Edition)

Back in the day, Alex Ptytsia got me hooked on a lot of cool games. And, of course, Beyond Good & Evil was one of them, because Sasha could really talk about Jade for hours. That’s why I played the original BGE twice.

For the first time right in the year of release, almost together with Alex, for us it was 2004. And then again after the HD remastered release in 2011. And yes, it’s one of my favorite games as well.

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

That’s why I’ve been following the sequel to Beyond Good and Evil 2 since the very first announcement, which is not actually 2016, but rather Ubidays 2008, when the sequel was first talked about. Well, BGE 2 was out of luck. The game went to production hell, Michel Ancel got carried away with Rayman Raving Rabbids and Rayman Origins with sequels, and in 2020 he left Ubisoft and the gaming industry in general to work on “animal protection”.

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

At the time, Ansel announced that his two current projects, Beyond Good & Evil 2 and Wild, were in good hands after his departure. But a week after that, Libération (by the way, this is not just anything, but one of the three major national newspapers in France, founded in 1973 by Jean-Paul Charles Charles Aimard Sartre himself, a French philosopher, writer, screenwriter, public figure and, unfortunately, a Marxist – ed. note) published an article stating that Michel Ancel was being investigated for toxic leadership during his time at Ubisoft. Ancel confirmed that he was aware of the investigation, but denied the allegations against him and called Libération’s report “fake news.”

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

But god forbid Michel Ancel, he may have been a famous designer, but time goes on. As it turned out, Beyond Good and Evil 2 is still in development, and the Beyond Good and Evil 20th Anniversary Edition even has small additional missions / Easter eggs with references to the prequel, so BGE 2 is not a sequel, but a prequel.

But, in fact, I don’t really need BGE 2 anymore, because Beyond Good & Evil 20th Anniversary Edition is even cooler. It’s like a time machine that can take you back 20 years, to the time of the war and two revolutions. To a time when your friends were still alive and everything ahead seemed so simple and possible. This is worth a lot.

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

Although it actually costs only 429 UAH, it is available on Steam, EGS, and Ubisoft Connect from the start. With updated textures, lighting, and 4K graphics, the game looks both the same as it did on a GeForce MX4000 graphics card on a 1024×768 monitor and quite modern. It’s a near-perfect remake that hasn’t broken anything old and added something new.

For example, a built-in art book with stories about different stages of development, sketches, character designs, promotional materials from 2003 and 2024, etc. Or the new Speedrun mode. Plus, we’ve fixed the controls, cameras, improved the sound, updated the soundtrack, achievements, etc. There will be a separate physical edition of The Limited Run Collector’s Edition. The original game remains in all stores (now it costs 75 UAH). It’s perfect!

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

Yes, Beyond Good & Evil 20th Anniversary Edition is still a bit of an archaic game, after all, the development started in the last century, in 1999. It has tiny levels (memory limitations), a clumsy interface with a manual disk save system by modern standards, a slightly naughty camera… but it’s still a very nice game, which was made by a toxic leader, but he did it with a piece of his own soul.

Unfortunately, due to the damned Muscovites, power outages, and wrist problems (more on that later), I didn’t have much time to play. But, I know for sure that I will play Beyond Good & Evil again, because it’s really like coming back to visit an old friend.

Beyond Good & Evil. Beyond Good & Evil Original and 20th Anniversary Edition – DPK 3/2004, “Border” June 2024

And maybe, like Alex Ptytsia in 2004, I’ll say that I want to stay longer in the open world of BGE and start waiting for Beyond Good and Evil 2 with renewed vigor.

Does Beyond Good & Evil 20th Anniversary Edition deserve the same Editor’s Choice as the original Beyond Good & Evil 20 years ago? Absolutely! For the nostalgia, for the careful treatment of the original source, for the emotions it brings back. Thank you Ubisoft, it was from the heart.