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Beyond Good & Evil HD: Why you can't miss it a second time

A new lick of paint for the greatest adventure you've never played...

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Aliens emerge from the fallen rocks and capture her children, forcing her to scoop up a nearby stick and battle back. Combat's a simple affair and herein lies another of Beyond Good & Evil's great features.

Remember one of Peter Molyneux's main goals for Fable II in 2008? It was to invent a system easy enough for the clueless to succeed by button-mashing, but with enough depth to allow those gamers who knew what they were doing to really shine. Beyond Good & Evil passed that benchmark half a decade earlier.

Its adventuring is basic enough for all-comers to understand. Rhythmic presses of the solitary attack button unleashes volleys of combos, munching nutritious snack items refills any lost hearts (Zelda, anyone?) and stabbing the special attack button calls your trusty companion into action.

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Jumps are automatic and stealthing, when called upon, is wonderfully intuitive. The game's combat is as involved as it needs to be without ever taking centre stage. Scraps never overshadow the task of exploring new zones or infiltrating secret facilities, letting the story and the characters really breathe.

When the first battle is over and the captured children are rescued, local news network HTV News arrives to record their own version of events. Jade and her uncle Pey'j (a slightly less crude version of Enslaved's Pigsy) are overlooked in favour of the late-showing Alpha Sections soldiers - Hillys' supposed peacekeepers - and mere minutes later the story's broadcast around the planet complete with doctored quotes from Pey'j to further enhance the propaganda.

The encounter serves to establish one harsh fact: Hillys' government isn't acting in the best interests of the people and it has the media in its pocket. At first, your goal in Beyond Good & Evil is simply to make a living. Eager to raise funds to keep the orphanage up and running, Jade begins working for a local science museum.

They need to catalogue every living species on Hillys and Jade must help out by taking detailed snapshots of every animal - placid and hostile - in the world with her trusty camera. It's an off-rails Pokémon Snap, and the promise of rare creatures is a great incentive to explore all the nooks and crannys.

Soon, bigger jobs roll in that require Jade to explore increasingly dangerous territories for her scoops and to battle towering monsters with her Dai-jo combat stick. Before you can say Friedrich Nietzsche, our loveable rogue tumbles into an underground resistance movement called IRIS network which needs help in freeing the people of Hillys by exposing the government as anti-Hillyan, DomZ collaborators.

PICTURE PERFECT
What follows is a poignantly handled adventure that juggles serious issues, such as treason, betrayal and morality, with feel-good messages of hope and fun.

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One minute you're sneaking into Alpha Sections facilities with camera in hand like Sam Fisher crossed with Frank West to try to help enslaved and tortured captives, the next you're taking part in races or tracking down elusive wildlife in the unlikeliest corners of the world or even upgrading your hovercraft with black market modifications to take to the skies in order to reach more locations.

Upping the number of explorable zones means there are more opportunities to bankroll both resistance and orphanage and eventually you'll even venture into space in search of answers.

All these disparate parts should, at the very least, feel a little odd when thrown together into one game. Beyond Good & Evil's lasting magic is that they seamlessly gel together to make a greater whole.

Ubisoft used solid gameplay as a means to shore up a good story in a wonderful world, and then used an eclectically assembled soundtrack to lace the different elements and pull them together as if with a tightly drawn shoelace.

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