Product Type: Ubisoft PS2 games
Newest Review: ... rather than a cutesy approach which serves to be a strength of the game. Acting-wise, Ubisoft had a trump card up their sleeve with get... more
Video Game Comic Book!
Member Name: virtua007
Date: 20/01/11, updated on 20/01/11 (24 review reads)
Advantages: Great plot and acting, cel-shading, music
Disadvantages: Doesn't add much to FPS genre
I've always been a fan of the FPS genre - my first introduction to it was playing the Half Life Uplink demo on the PC back in 1999. God that was a long time ago! Since then the Halos have appeared, Call of Duty has become a household name and Half Life 2 and two expansion packs have appeared with a third in the works. There are others though that deserve credit for being a great addition to the genre, despite being overlooked or overshadows by other titles. System Shock on the PC in the early 90s is one of the earliest examples of the horror FPS genre that Doom and F.E.A.R managed to successfully adapt. XIII on the other hands utilised cel-shaded graphics for the whole game to give a graphic novel feel to proceedings. It sounded different on paper and it definitely looks different!
You play as XIII, one member of the XX, a group that was responsible for assassinating the current Presdient of the USA. Just turns out that you fired the bullet that killed him but due to amensia you don't remember a thing! Assassins chase after you as you try and piece together the events of the past few months that have led to your current predicament and stop a potential hostile takeover of the U.S.A! The story is bsed on the Belgian comic XIII which started out in the late 80s, with this game adapting the first and most famous arc of storyline on the elusive XIII character. Parts of the story have been changed in order to fit closer to the FPS genre but is no less effective for it!
I really have to talk about the cel-shaded look as it's one that appears every so often in a videogame and always turns heads. XIII was one of the first to do it, if not the first and has since been followed by Killer 7 and Borderlands. All of these are action titles but each has put it's own stamp on the label. XIII uses comic strip boxes whenever major events happen to highlight what is going on as well as give you important tips as to what to do. The best use of this though is when you use knives to kill an enemy in the head - a box appears showing the knife hitting along with a satisfying caption in a comic font that makes you feel like you've completed an achievement! The cel shaded look suits the game well and is able to convey the sinister undertones of several locations well, particulairly the New York rooftops and the Insane Asylum. It's a mature look rather than a cutesy approach which serves to be a strength of the game.
Acting-wise, Ubisoft had a trump card up their sleeve with getting David Duchovny to play XIII. Star of The X Files, David gives a tremendous yet understated performence as XIII, giving him a mix of guilt, confusion and determination to his thoughts and emotions. Having said that, he is not the only star performence in this game: Eve gives a strong performence as XIII's ally Jones and Adam West nearly steals the show with his performence as General Carrington. Despite being an avid fan of Family Guy and Adam West, I never realized it was him until I checked the cast list. His performence is incredibly strong and gives the plot the important gritty edge it needs. The music of XIII is also very effective and conveys the experience that XIII is going through well to the player.
The gameplay is incredibly fun and solid which makes everything so much sweeter! The controls are your standard FPS fare which does the game no harm. If it ain't broken don't fix it! There isn't anything particulairly new or innovative here but there isn't anything here that detracts from the experience in any way. There are a couple of handy gadgets that I found to be great to use and made me feel like a spy at heart. The best example if the whinch which allows you to grap onto hooks and scale up or down tall surfaces. If you don't feel like James Bond doing this then you never will! There are several game bosses throughout the missions, although it doesn't get really tough until you square off against The Mongoose in the game's climatic battle. The ability to take hostages is a helpful feature as it allows you to get by enemies without getting shot. I didn't tend to use it often though as I prefer a run and gun approach personally!
Overall XIII is a great FPS that deserved more than what dished out for it. It's a great game that boasts one of the strongests plots for an FPS in the last decade easily. The fact that this game has yet to (and most likely won't) get a sequel is one of the crimes of videogames in my opinion. Copies can be found for a pound easily, making this game more than a worthwhile purchase for any PS2 owner!
Summary: The Underdog of the FPS Genre
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