This is one of my favourite games that was released for the Gamecube. It immediately caught my attention due to the distinct graphical style. The game is delightfully like a comic book which cartoon animated and split screen boxes showing all the action happening.
Story-wise the game is pretty interesting and there are many twists and turns in the game which adds to the game's quality. They story mode can also be quite challenging especially the stealth missions and although I enjoy a difficult game sometimes it was a tad frustrating.
The multi-player aspect of the game was a stack of fun, the maps are very well designed and the enemy AI of the bots is quite clever and it can actually feel like you're playing human opposition. There is a decent variety of game modes like deathmatch, capture the flag and an exclusive game where you have to hunt down the grim reaper.
I thoroughly enjoyed this game and found that it was best played in multi-player with friends but that the single-player experience is also very worthwhile.
XIII has your character waking up on a beach, injured and, attempting to make sense of events as he has amnesia. This First Person Shooter (FPS) does not break any ground in terms of gameplay or storyline, however what it does it pulls off remarkably well and is a very fun game in its own right.
The very first thing the player will notice and the issue that players will either love or hate are the unique graphics. XIII drops the notion of realism and goes for an unusual cel-shaded look with various pop up boxes completing the comic book effect. The graphics are the most striking thing about this game and set it apart from other games in the FPS genre. The characters are generally very well detailed, despite some of the enemies being identical. The weapons are also well detailed and look realistic despite the comic book style, complete with cell shaded muzzle flash from the weapons.
The environments are of a very high quality, with snow covered woodland, the beautiful autumn garden of a mansion and a large yacht at sea all making an appearance and all look vivid and colourful. The cel shaded graphics may lack some detail, however even for those that hate them they take nothing away from the gameplay, and for those that love them they enhance the playing experience and are what sets this game apart from others in the genre.
The gameplay is XIII is similar to most other FPS games but that is no bad thing, though there are extra touches which set the game apart. The ability to pick up and move a body is not just a visual thing, it is necessary in some of the later levels when stealth is required. You can pick up almost all weaponry used against you, from throwing knives to a Bazooka. Each weapon handles differently, such as the powerful but inaccurate AK47 to the obviously accurate Sniper Rifle.
Despite being an action game, the best levels are the stealth levels, especially the SPADS camp level which does not technically require stealth on the most part, but using it is infinitely more fun and makes the level much easier. Aside from the weaponry certain objects such as ashtrays and chairs can be picked up and used to knock out an enemy, necessary in levels where certain characters (bank staff, FBI agents etc) cannot be killed at any cost. The gameplay in XIII is not ground breaking in any way, a very typical FPS with a few neat touches here and there.
The music in XIII is not amazing, but does its job of creating or maintaining an atmosphere. The sound effects on the other hand are superb, gunfire sounds hectic but not repetitive, with gunshots from different directions and distances making noticeably different sounds. The sound effects are very good but the music can be repetitive at times and can sometimes overpower the gunfire making it hard to distinguish the current situation.
XIII contains a good multiplayer mode, though the multiplayer mode can technically be played in single player also. Up to four players can play at any one time along with the number of CPU opponents up to a total number of 4-8 characters at any one time (this depends upon the map chosen), you also determine the skill of the CPU. Each map has its own respawn places and weapons available. The split screen, even when four human players are playing never feels cramped and I have never experienced any slowdown.
There are four modes to choose from, Deathmatch, where everyone attacks everyone is very competitive. Team Deathmatch, where the players are divided into teams (again of the players choice), this requires good teamwork and is one of the best multiplayer modes. Capture the Flag, which in my opinion is the best multiplayer mode, has the teams vying to capture the other flag whilst protecting their own. When played in multiplayer this is the most fun, each actual player must decide what role they take in game, a flag stealer, defender or all rounder, of which they determine themselves and can change as such. The Hunt involves the players (and CPU opponents if chosen) chasing a singing Grim Reaper style character around and shooting it, the more you shoot it the smaller it gets until it dies and then respawns. The multiplayer modes are certainly varied, an increased number of maps for Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag would have been very well appreciated, but as it is XIII is a good multiplayer game.
The main game should not take too long to complete, taking the average player ten hours or so. The multiplayer games however are addictive, especially Capture the Flag and Team Deathmatch modes, even when played single player as you can preset the CPU difficulty so you always feel challenged, even giving the other team more characters to make it harder. It is easy to see how XIII could have short longevity for some. But for me, six years after buying it, I still play this game and it has outlived all other FPS games I have owned.
Value for Money
This game would be value for money even at its RRP, but now it is available for under a fiver, and for anyone interested in FPS, a good conspiracy story or an unusual graphically styled game this game will represent phenomenal value for money. As already stated, this game can hold your attention much longer than other games, and I personally have spent hundreds of hours on this game, and not once did it feel repetitive.
As already mentioned, XIII, has very unique and interesting graphics and its exceptional ability to get you coming back to play it time and again. If it was not for these qualities XIII would be lost in the sea of mediocre FPS games. The multiplayer mode is very fun and can be played on your own as well, this itself is very addictive and can keep you coming back for more, in my case, for six years. The main mode itself is good, with various levels in very different environments. XIII is worth buying if only for the unusual graphical style and I highly recommend it.
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