Beyond Good & Evil
The planet Hillys is under attack by the alien DomZ, and it’s up to Jade, a sassy photojournalist with a unique past, to discover what’s really going on.
Full of interesting locales and surprisingly clever humor, Beyond Good & Evil is a mix of Tomb Raider–style adventuring with the in-game photography of Pokémon Snap. As Jade, your main objective is to take a picture of every species currently living on the planet (plus a few offworld ones). The Science Center pays a royalty for your shots; meanwhile, you can use crystals picked up along the way to get equipment upgrades.
This decidedly refreshing gameplay comes from the mind of Michel Ancel, the same person who brought to life the first two Rayman games. Besides exploring the rather large planet on foot, Jade and her Uncle Pey’j (he’s a pig — I told you this game was kooky) will also pilot a few vehicles, the most frequent being a hovercraft. You can even get involved in races, although thankfully they’re an optional diversion, as they’re not much fun.
While taking all these pictures, you’ll soon discover that not everyone is happy to strike a pose. Combat is fairly common, if not much of a challenge: the most efficient sequence is to have your companions temporarily stun or expose the weaknesses of enemies, and then use button-mashing to finish them off. The fighting is BG&E’s weakest element, and there’s a bit too much of it for the game’s own good.
Beyond Good & Evil is at its best when you’re just exploring and photographing, admiring the cinematic look of the outstanding graphics. The fresh gameplay, combined with strong dialogue and decent overall voicework, make up for the lackluster combat. It’s an original take on the action/adventure genre, ignoring most of the conventions of standard gaming and wowing at every turn with its striking visuals.
— Kevin Rice