Cult classic Beyond Good & Evil was never great business for Ubisoft. A killer combo of lofty
ambitions, silly release scheduling and a noticeable lack of marketing drive meant the Zelda Lite adventure flopped on release like a beached whale struggling to breathe, and promptly died an
ungraceful death soon after. An absence of quality however was never an issue and, as this spruced-up re-release proves, what plus points it was packing on launch have turned out to be a rare thing indeed in games: timeless.
A new higher resolution Jade model married with the old spangly PC visuals makes Beyond Good & Evil HD a more appealing prospect than the Xbox original but, barring the odd change in checkpoints and the obligatory Live Leaderboard functionality, this is identical to the game we fell in love with back in 2003.
The open world's a little smaller than we remember - likewise, the combat's a little simpler, the exploration's a little easier and the racing's a little more rudimentary - but then Beyond Good & Evil always was more than the sum of its parts.
As nobody bought it first time round it's our duty to bring everybody up to speed: loveable photojournalist Jade runs an orphanage alongside her uncle Pey'j (an anthropomorphic pig) and needs to earn quick cash to shield her children from alien attacks.
To do so she starts photographing the wildlife of planet Hillys for a local science museum by way of an off-rails Pokémon Snap game, and soon finds herself drawn into an underground resistance movement where her skills are better spent snooping out all kinds of odd government conspiracies.
Time is subsequently spent split between basic dungeon crawling, stealthing, hovercraft racing and collectible hunting, with regular boss battles and mini-games liberally thrown in for good measure.
No one feature is close to outstanding, but the blend of them all proves to be pure magic - especially played out against the backdrop of paradise world Hillys and to the sounds of an eclectic soundtrack that rightly bagged all kinds of awards for Ubisoft.
At full price and in its original format Beyond Good & Evil was a solid 8/10 title, too quirky to appeal to the masses, but with its updated looks, polished features and an astonishingly generous 800 Microsoft Points entry mark the HD version deserves a bit of extra gratitude and is well worth your time and money.
A monster adventure at a stunner of a price. People who don't buy this shouldn't call themselves gamers.