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XIII (Windows)

75
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  kbmb (399)
Written on  :  Jan 30, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars

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Summary

A fantastic FPS. Blew away all my expectations.

The Good

I didn't even know this game was released until recently. According to Mobygames, it was released in the beginning of October? I found that very strange, since this game was hyped to Hell and back during developement, and yet when it was finally released I heard absolutely nothing about it. That really led me to believe that the game was a huge flop. And I read some rather unsettling reviews on top of that, and a lot of people complained about terrible stealth missions. Oh, and the lack of a savegame feature...ugh. Everything I heard of this game just made me think more and more that it wasn't worth it. But thanks to online game trading sites, I managed to get ahold of a copy quite easily, and I must say that after finishing the game, I'm just astounded that this game isn't getting more attention.

This is the first cell-shaded game I've played, and boy did they take the time to make it absolutely perfect. The comic book graphics, the panels that appear on-screen, the three-panel still shot when you kill someone from a distance, in particular, is just wonderful. I've never been a big comic book fan, but I just love the style in this game. In almost any part of the game, were you to take a screenshot, you may not be able to tell whether it was in-game or part of an actual rendered comic book. Bravo, Ubi Soft!

XIII is a first person shooter. Despite its comic book style, it's still just a first person shooter, but it doesn't fail there at all, either. Plenty of guns to keep you occupied, head-shots (almost always) are instant-kills, walking makes you quiet, and lots of vents to crawl through. You sometimes take on enemies one at a time, sometimes you take down fifteen at a time. Lots of things you hide behind, and you can even use parts of the environment (knives, chairs, bottles) to aid you in combat. If you're not a first-person shooter fan, the game probably won't entertain you, but if you are a FPS fan, this game is great.

Also for use in your arsenal is a grappling hook, which, unlike many other games, works wonderfully. You can't use it anywhere, and in fact, it's only used in key parts of the game, but it works. You might have to use it to swing to a ledge, and you'll find that it works great. You won't be surprised by some strange force of physics that throw you around like a rag doll in the wind. Using it to sneak down to some bad guys talking about their evil plans was great fun.

There are about thirty-five levels in all. The levels are varied enough, although the sequence of advancing through each level doesn't change much. Outdoor areas tend to lead you through the environment, up hills, through swaps, accross snowy fields, etc. Indoor areas lead you through vents, computer rooms, smashing windows. What I mean is, you pretty much know what you're going to be doing in any level based on what kind of environment you find yourself in. Call this a good or bad thing, if you want.

The storyline is also intriguing. The whole "d00d I can't remember who I am!" thing has been done to death, but thankfully the story isn't really about that, so much as it is about the "Number" guys and their evil plots. Learning about yourself and regaining what little of your memory you can was a lot better when it wasn't the main focus of the plot. XIII is one of the few first-person shooters I've played lately which really had me glued to my seat. I didn't beat this game just to beat it, I beat it because I wanted to see the entire story.

It helped that the game isn't very hard at all. Bosses are tougher than normal guys, but not THAT much tougher. You won't spend an hour trying to beat a certain spot. At least, I didn't. I found the game to be very easy, and I liked it that way. I'm tired of realistic "die in one or two hits" FPSs, just because they make you exercize the quicksave/quickload buttons until your fingers bleed. No, this game isn't realistic, it's a run-and-gun game that's loads of fun to play.

I heard a lot of people complaining about the stealth missions. I can only think of one level in which took me more than three tries to beat because of the stealth elements. Seriously, I don't get what the big deal is. Yeah, if you want to just run in and kill everything, then you're probably going to really suck at the stealth missions...but heck, you don't even really need to be that stealthy. All you have to do is knock out the guards before they can reach an alarm, or hide the bodies well enough that a passing guard won't find it. I loved the stealth missions. They were easy, they were exciting, at times very tense. Bring on more stealth missions like these!

The Bad

The only thing I really didn't like about this game was the voice acting. Everybody does a fine job except for David Duchovny. I don't know why they spent the money to hire the guy to do the voice acting, considering he has about a total of ten lines in the entire game that aren't "Oh" or "Unf!" or "Who am I?"

Also another thing that annoys me is that there is no lip-syncing. When a character talks, it looks like they're chewing some bubble gum.

The Bottom Line

XIII is one of the best first-person shooters out there. The storyline is great, the graphics are breathtaking, and the style is everything it's hyped up to be. Don't believe the poots that found the stealth missions too hard, because honestly, they're not hard at all.

Aside from Duchovny's voice acting ability and the "bubble-gum chewing" lip-syncing, I find this game almost flawless.