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Updated January 9, 2008

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


 FINAL VERDICT
PC Gamer 73%

   

100% - 90%
EDITORS' CHOICE - We're battening down the hatches and limiting our coveted Editors' Choice award to games that score a 90% or higher. It's not easy to get here, and darn near impossible to get near 100%. Games in this range come with our unqualified recommendation, an unreserved must-buy score.

89% - 80%
EXCELLENT - These are excellent games. Anything that scores in this range is well worth your purchase, and is likely a great example of its genre. This is also a scoring range where we might reward specialist/niche games that are a real breakthrough in their own way.

79% - 70%
GOOD - These are pretty good games that we recommend to fans of the particular genre, though it's a safe bet you can probably find better options.

69% - 60%
ABOVE AVERAGE - Reasonable, above-average games. They might be worth buying, but they probably have a few significant flaws that limit their appeal.

59% - 50%
MERELY OKAY - Very ordinary games. They're not completely worthless, but there are likely numerous better places to spend your gaming dollar.

49% - 40%
TOLERABLE - Poor quality. Only a few slightly redeeming features keep these games from falling into the abyss of the next category.

39% - 0%
DON'T BOTHER - Just terrible. And the lower you go, the more worthless you get. Avoid these titles like the plague, and don't say we didn't warn you!


Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties  77%
Brigade E5: New Jagged Union  54%
EverQuest II: Echoes of Faydwer  85%
Eragon  22%
Drakan: Order of the Flame  69%
Driver  78%
Drome Racers  59%
Ducati World Racing  28%
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project  75%
Dune  25%
Dungeon Keeper 2  89%
Dungeon Siege  91%
Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna  80%
Earth & Beyond  80%
Earth 2150: Lost Souls  80%
Echelon: Wind Warriors  79%
Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon  84%
Emergency Fire Response  70%
Emergency Rescue  24%
Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom  72%