Play this - Beyond Good and Evil (2003)
Directed designed and written by Michel Ancel - Developed by Ubisoft. cert. 7+
I own three damn copies of this game. Originally it came out in 2003 for PS2 (my version) pc, Xbox and GameCube. An HD remaster popped up as a downloadable title on the 360 eight years later which I jumped on immediately, with a PS3 port appearing shortly after, and then - finally - the reworked version appeared on the Steam platform for PC.
The man behind it was Michel Angel at Ubisoft, also responsible for the incredibly popular Rayman series and you can see the influence in the character designs and environments - but this isn't as much of a platformer; instead the stress is on exploration, basic combat and racing.
Jade is a reporter on the planet of Hillys, a place where humans and Aliens peacefully coexist. The planet comes under regular attack by a force known as the DomZ, who regularly kidnap citizens of Hillys for unknown reasons. The Hillys defense force seem to be particularly inept and Jade comes to suspect they might be in league with the enemy…
The title Beyond Good and Evil comes from the title of a book by Friedrich Nietzsche, in which he argues that there is no such thing as purely good or evil, only actions that fall somewhere in-between. Which is about as pretentious a title as you're going to get for a videogame, but that's neither here not there.
Jade, with friends in tow
You don't just control Jade, she has friends you sporadically take control of - but for the most part you spend your time with her, travelling longer distances (say, from your lighthouse home into town) by water in her speedy hovercraft. You also compete in races in this vehicle for Credits and there's even some Arcade/betting tips games you can play if you're feeling lucky. The variety of creatures and designs make it a very engaging place to be, and you'll occasionally find yourself taking off to the far reaches of the map just to see what might be hidden there.
A sequel has been promised for years and is still officially in development, but in my opinion you're just as likely to see Peter Molyneux finish Godus, or Valve deliver Half Life 3. Instead, enjoy it for what it is - a still very beautiful beguiling world that you can really lose yourself in.
The story may never resolve, but still it remains a classic. It bombed at the time of release but steadily, over the years, gathered an audience who discovered it and fell in love.
All the love came too late, I fear. But what we've got is still pretty amazing.
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