XIII Review

Developer: Ubi Soft Publisher: Ubi Soft
Release Date: October 28, 2003 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

“The first cel-shaded FPSâ€?, XIII is as stylish as its name is strange. No, it isn’t “X” “I” “I” “I”, it is actually Thirteen (XIII being the Roman numeral for 13). XIII is based on a French comic that you probably have never heard of. The game’s story involves a presidential assassination conspiracy, reminiscent of the JFK assassination. You, Steve Rowland, are a captain in the United States army. He has a number 13 tattooed on his collarbone and a key to a safety-deposit box in New York City’s finest bank. Steve washes up on the shore of a beach where he suffers from amnesia. A girl rescues him and takes him to the safety shack where she is immediately murdered after calling to schedule a cat scan. Slowly your memory comes back throughout the game. Flashbacks will help give more clues and information about the storyline.

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Slick panels will pop up throughout the game, giving details about your mission and the story, while presenting it all in a comic-like way. XIII backs up its fantastic style with high quality FPS gameplay. Missions are thrilling and full of variety. Some levels force you to not kill anyone; instead, you must use items, such as chairs or bottles to knock them out. Each level is straightforward for the most part, but not overly obvious. Checkpoints are placed throughout each level to keep frustration to a minimum. Enemies are a mixed bag; sometimes they notice you when they probably shouldn’t, other times, they hesitate before they respond to your actions. Once enemies notice you, they fight fiercely, using intelligent tactics to foil your plans. XIII is not a game for inexperienced gamers.

Controls handle well. Both analog sticks are used to move/aim, R1 to shoot, square to toggle weapons left and circle to toggle weapons right, etc. My biggest complaint is that when you need to open a door with a key, it takes longer than it should to actually equip the key and open the door with it. Another complaint is that you can’t throw grenades while having a gun equipped. By doing this, time is wasted toggling in your inventory to equip a grenade, fire it, and equip your appropriate gun again. If the grenade misses, you’ll just have to repeat the process.

Multi-player is up there with the likes of Halo and GoldenEye. XIII has five different multi-player modes, with a moderate number of different locales to duke it out with friends. Online play is also a choice, with the option to have four humans go against one another. Split-screen, offline multi-player is a blast, include enemy AI (in which you choose their difficulty) and it will only add to the experience and improve your skills.

XIII’s presentation is excellent, along with the level designs. The graphics are crisp, well detailed, and stunning. Pop-up windows are displayed when you shoot someone in their face; killing them instantly and showing the bullet penetrate their skull. My only complaint about the graphics are the slow load times between levels. XIII is the best looking FPS on PS2 and equally as good game play wise as it is beautiful. XIII is most likely the best FPS of 2003; I suggest you add this one to your holiday must-have list.

Graphics: 10
Sound: 9.5
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 9.6
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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