We all know the process: a game is announced, we watch the first trailers, watch interviews with the developers, read detailed preview articles and then, the game finally comes out. As we were following the title ever since it was first announced, we decide that it’s a great idea to buy a copy on day one. Then we play it, we finish it and we realize that it wasn’t as good as we thought it was going to be, the only thing that’s left is a feeling of unfulfillment, like something important is missing. We are all familiar with this situation, but it’s also possible that the exact opposite happens. Rare as the opposite feeling may be, it does eventually occur. What about that feeling of waiting for a video game for years, playing it and get to the conclusion that it has lived up to the hype?
Beyond Good & Evil came out in 2003. I played it last week. The fact that Beyond Good & Evil is considered one of the greatest games of all time is no secret as many popular websites tend to create this type of lists every once in a while and others update their existing ones on a regular basis. But no matter what other people state about games, I know I’m not going to like every single game just because it may be universally regarded as one of the best. For example, the original God of War is usually considered one of the greatest action-adventure games ever created and even though I definitely enjoyed playing it, it certainly isn’t one of my favorites.
Somehow, Beyond Good & Evil was different. In fact, everything about the game is quite dissimilar to other titles in the genre. Consider the visuals, as even though they exude this childish vibe the game manages to tell one of the most mature stories I’ve ever encountered in the medium. Human trafficking is one of the main ongoing themes. Humans are captured, tortured, slaughtered and used for the Domz’s benefit. Jade, the main character of the game is in contact with that. She isn’t a mere observant; she is extremely involved and wants to do anything in her power to revert the situation. We are also part of that, we are involved. The title is extremely engrossing and provides a great sense of immersion even when the main plot contains so many fantastical elements.
It’s worth pointing out that Beyond Good & Evil wasn’t a huge success when it originally came out. Still, the few who were fortunate enough to get a copy of the game absolutely loved it and as a consequence, the title quickly gained a cult status. In my opinion, this has been one of the most underappreciated games of the 90’s. The storytelling is gripping, the characters are extremely likeable, visuals are captivating (note that there is an HD version for the PS3 and Xbox 360,) the world is meticulously detailed and the whole experience is very cohesive. There may be many elements that seem to have been taken from similar games in the genre (mainly The Legend of Zelda series,) but still, Beyond Good & Evil is quite different to anything else and only those who take some time to appreciate the game’s story will manage to see why its legacy has been so important even after years of its release.
Even after writing this article, it’s very hard for me to think of any other title that has surpassed the expectations I had for it. Some that come to mind are games such as Resident Evil 4 and the original Metal Gear Solid which were games that I thought I was just going to enjoy for a few hours but eventually became some of my favorites. So what about you? Have you ever played a game that has lived up to your expectations? If you have, feel free to share your personal list in the comment section of the site.