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Also for: PS2, Xbox, GameCube
Viewed: 3D First-person Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Ubisoft Soft. Co.: Ubisoft
Publishers: Sold Out (GB)
Ubisoft (GB)
Released: 2004 (GB)
28 Nov 2003 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 16+
No Accessories: No Accessories


We've been waiting for this game for quite some time now. It's promise of a gripping and intriguing plot, intense FPS action and much multiplayer madness, all rolled up in a proverbial blanket of sexy cel-shaded joy has certainly left us feeling more than just a little anticipation. Well, the question of "Who is XIII?" that's been doing the rounds amongst the media can now be answered. Actually, it can't yet, because we don't know. In fact, we don't know much at all, as the game centres on an amnesiac protagonist. Shucks!

In fact, the story sees you wake up on a desolate strip of New England Beach. All you know is that the president has been shot and that you are being hunted by a killer, the FBI and the US Army. You have XIII tattooed on your shoulder and you are in possession of a key to a safety deposit box. From here you must embark on a quest to uncover the truth and establish your innocence. And shoot loads of bad guys (at least you think they're bad guys).

You'll have noticed that the game is mostly a standard first-person shooter, with you carrying out an assortment of objectives throughout various different environments, armed to the teeth and generally doing lots of the shooting type stuff. However, stylistically, XIII is a whole new kettle of fish, as it's very convincingly presented like a graphic novel. Apart from the background environments, everything's cel-shaded; comic-style pop-up windows populate each scene, helping to tell the story; onomatopoeic 'Blams', 'Whooshes', 'Booms', and 'Kapows' accompany the action sequences like a cheesy comic; and everything from the narration to the animation in some way go towards making the experience more akin to taking part in, well, a graphic novel.

The gameplay throughout blends a variety of elements together. Stealth plays a part in the proceedings but, conversely, the overall action-packed style means that there's plenty of explosive stuff going on there as well. Throughout the game, objectives range from covert infiltration to heavy combat, with you making use of pretty much anything you can get your hands on, from human shields to bazookas.

As you will expect, the PC version of XIII benefits from the most extensive multiplayer features of the bunch, with up to 32 players able to battle it out over a LAN or the Internet, in a wide variety of game modes. Obviously all the classics such as Deathmatch and Capture the Flag are available, and there are also a few new ones, such as the co-operative Cover Me mode.

If anything, XIII is a pretty novel experience and it's surprising that someone hasn't done this before. Even if a lacklustre game lay beneath the enticing visuals, the game would still generate a lot of interest. But this is not the case, as XIII is also an entertaining and well-crafted first-person shooter.


XIII - PC Artwork