Beyond Good & Evil 20th Anniversary Edition Review

Beyond Good & Evil has enjoyed somewhat of a rocky relationship with fans, and Ubisoft themselves. On the one hand, the original title was released back in 2003 and gained many favourable reviews and a cult hit status. It’s been referenced back to many times over the last 20 years, be it in the HD remaster on the 360-era consoles, and now in this special 20th Anniversary remake. On the other? Well, we’re still waiting for the mythical BG&E2, a game first announced in 2008… The ambition for the game is there, though it may prove to be too ambitious when it’s all said and done. 

Combat gets a big overhaul in feel, mainly due to the higher frame rate. It’s not going to challenge modern action games, but it remains fun to play

For now then, Ubisoft are filling time and retreading ground with this 20th Anniversary edition release. It’s a great way to play the game whether you’ve done so before or not, though it certainly can’t compare to the likes of Resident Evil 2 and the likes of reimagining in terms of changes. 

In fact, this is BG&E as it ever was. The story and details are identical, with a small nod added in to link this to the long lost sequel in the form of a small cutscene, as well as some new outfits for the main protagonists to wear. If, like myself, you’ve not played the game in almost 20 years, then be assured it’s still worth your time though. I enjoyed revisiting the narrative of Jade, Pey’j, HH and more, and seeing as it had been so long I found several moments of re-surprise at what was going on. It’s very much a game of its era in terms of writing and performances, but this edition clearly displays what made it such a cult classic. 

Jade is rarely without a co-op partner in tow, and can actually hit them by mistake – though damage is thankfully not counted

There’s a surprisingly well developed world here, with plenty of things to catch the eye and spark the imagination into filling in the gaps. It’s a world that is crying out for modern tech to fully explore, though again in this remake we get it as it ever was, which feels like a slightly missed opportunity, though an understandable one. 

I should back up slightly though. If you’re not familiar with BG&E, then allow me to set the scene slightly. We play as Jade, an intrepid reporter who has taken it upon herself to rescue and help people who are affected by attacks from an evil alien race known as the Doms. Alongside her uncle Pey’j, they hold up at a lighthouse with some orphaned kids. As the game starts, they come under attack from the Doms, who attempted to kidnap the children. Jade and Pey’j fight them off just before the Alpha Sections – the world’s defence force – arrive. All is not what it seems though, as Jade has a rather foreboding interaction with one of the Doms that hints at more to this story.

From here, it’s rather well designed 3D platforming, world exploring, puzzle solving, and combat encounters. Again, it’s easy to see why BG&E is held in such high regard, even if the game is showing its age by now. It’s a pretty linear experience, though there’s room for exploration at times to find hidden rooms and items. The game does a great job of keeping us moving too, rarely over-extending sequences. It does fall foul of a few more modern QoL things such as decent signposting, but there were only a handful of times where I wasn’t really sure of the next place to go, and these often then lead me into other areas I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Combat gets the second biggest overhaul in the package, simply by virtue of a higher frame rate and responsiveness. I went back and played the 360 HD version’s opening fight after completing the 20th Anniversary, and there is a huge difference in feel and flow. The controls have been tweaked slightly, but again it’s mainly just how much smoother it all is that helps. I played the entire game in Quality mode, which sticks to the highest resolution and a-near-as-dammit locked 60fps, and looks great. There is a performance mode, but I don’t have access to a 120hz screen so couldn’t test that side.

One of the side activities is Hovercraft racing. It’s easy enough to win, but the action can get pretty intense at times

The visuals are the biggest up-spuff here. I was initially underwhelmed by them, with the models and textures looking almost identical in my mind’s eye. However, once we got going into the game it’s clear how much extra love has gone into it. Jade and co. are all higher fidelity in textures and the like, the lighting and resolution are naturally vastly improved, and there even is some rather lovely looking (what I can only assume to be) ray-tracing on the water areas we often travel on. Everything is reflected perfectly, and it hints at what could have been had we had a full-on remake, rather than a – admittedly decent – up-spuff.

There are at least a few new things for returning fans, with a pretty comprehensive history of the game presented via screenshots and videos of things such as E3 reveals, behind the scenes looks at concept art and cut content. It’s a neat add-on that will help flesh out why the game has such an enduring fan following, and we hope it’ll lead to more interest in the long awaited second outing. Fingers crossed. There’s also a speedrun mode for those with the need for an extra challenge.


The long and the short of it though is that Beyond Good & Evil is still a bloody fantastic game, from its setting to characters, story, gameplay mechanics, and everything else. It’s showing its age in some quality of life aspects, but there’s nothing here that should prove too tricky for anyone to get over. It has become the best way to play BG&E, and we can only hope it spurs on any news at all of what comes next.

This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

  • Great way to play a cult classic
  • Gameplay, story etc. all hold up
  • Some QoL elements are showing their age
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

Leave a Reply

Lost Password

Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.

Skip to toolbar