This article contains spoilers for Beyond Good & Evil.
Beyond Good & Evil is a game that no player should go without enjoying at some point. I think it is an absolute essential piece of gaming history, and it's one of my absolute favorite titles of all time. I do not say this lightly, but it's a goddamn masterpiece.
That being said, the ending is really rather a let down. This might have to do with the game originally being planned as part of trilogy, but the sales scrapped that hope. I feel, though, that this can not be the whole reason. The ending does the most foolish thing it possibly could. It goes against the very ideals of the rest of the game.
This is an adventure about a wartime photojournalist on the planet Hillys named Jade. She uncovers a vast conspiracy concerning an alien menace in control of the government. This force is kidnapping citizens and using them for their own nefarious gains. The narrative contains some heavily weighted stuff. It deals with themes of loss, destruction, and how war can turn a peaceful place into hell. So, how does a heavy story get undermined?
Near the end of the experience, the player learns that Jade is actually a secret weapon of the alien leader, who has been looking for her. She has hidden powers, like the ability to seemingly bring back the dead. Whilst I was happy as anyone to see Jade's adopted uncle Pey'j alive and kicking after witnessing his death, this brings about an issue. At the end of the game, we see Jade bring dozens of people back to the living world.
In a game with themes of destruction and of governments holding secret agendas that cost lives, we're led to believe that Jade never really loses anything at all.
This is where the game fell apart for me. Not every story needs a happy ending. Beyond Good & Evil presented a bittersweet arc during the whole ride, and we should have received a bittersweet ending as the perfect payoff.
If you agree, let me know. Validation is always nice. If not, let me know how wrong I am. And as always, constructive criticism is appreciated.