XIII
XIII
Released n/a
Details
XIII (pronounced: Thirteen) is a first-person shooter video game released for PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X and based on the 1984 Belgian XIII comic series. XIII was developed and published by Ubisoft and released on November 25, 2003. The game was published for Mac OS X by Feral Interactive. The Windows DVD version has recently been re-released in the UK under the Sold-Out Software budget games label.

The plot of the game centers on the main character, who has awakened with amnesia. XIII is unique in that the characters and weaponry are cel-shaded, giving a deliberately comic book style appearance, including onomatopoeic words contained in bubbles for sound effects similar to those in comic books.

The story begins at Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York City where XIII awakes, badly wounded and with no memory of his past. The game roughly follows the storyline of the first five volumes of the comic (the first fifteen issues), although there are several additions to the storyline, and changes were made to better adapt the story to game format. The game ends at the exact point where the comic's fifth volume ended, and as such, the complete story is unfinished, leaving room for a sequel. Sales performance for XIII has been lower than expected, despite its positive reception (Game Rankings: 74%). As such, a sequel is unlikely, and no announcements have been made.


Characters

"XIII": The story's protagonist, and the main playable character. It is originally believed that his name is Steve Rowland, but later in the game, it is revealed that he is in fact Rowland's rival Jason Fly. XIII wakes up on a beach in New York City with a mysterious tattoo of the Roman numeral for thirteen on his shoulder. XIII learns that he is being targeted by a hitman called The Mongoose and his army of mercenaries. He is also wanted by the FBI for the murder of the President of the United States, William Sheridan. Throughout the game, XIII struggles to uncover his true identity and a conspiracy plot involving a group known as The XX.

Jones: Jones is a soldier who works for General Carrington. She knows that XIII is not guilty of the President's murder and is willing to help clear his name. Jones is tough, courageous, and pretty good at handling The Mongoose's thugs. She is the inspiration for XIII, and helps him escape FBI clutches.

Carrington: An old war veteran, Ben Carrington is another one of XIII's few allies. He knows very valuable information about the President's death and is willing to help XIII. However, he was arrested and brought to a military station in the Appalachian mountains to be silenced by the conspiracy. XIII must infiltrate the base and free Carrington if he is to learn about his past.

The Mongoose: An infamous hitman hired by The XX to carry out assassinations and other evil deeds. The Mongoose is a cruel and cold-blooded murderer who carries out his orders with eagerness and glee. He commands an army of hitmen to do some of his dirty work. XIII encounters The Mongoose many times and must eventually face off against him near the game's end.

Walter Sheridan: The brother of the recently deceased president, William Sheridan. Walter promised that he would finish the work that his brother had started. Walter helps XIII try to stop The XX's scheme near the game's end. It is later implied in the game's cliffhanger ending that Sheridan is actually the head of the conspiracy.

Colonel Amos: A wise and old one-armed man. Colonel Amos is in charge of the investigation into the President's death. Amos believes that XIII is guilty and attempts to hunt him down and bring him to justice. XIII must prove his innocence to Amos in order to gain his trust.

Kim Rowland: The wife of the deceased Steve Rowland. Kim and her husband were both members of the conspiracy. Kim was Number XVII and Steve was Number XIII. But now that XIII has returned, despite claims that he was shot by The Mongoose, Kim believes that her husband is still alive and tries to explain to XIII the mystery surrounding his identity.

William Standwell: An American general with a fiery temper. Standwell was appointed Chief of Staff and had replaced General Carrington. Standwell has mysterious and shady ties to The XX.

Seymour MacCall: A gruff and old colonel who operates an army base in Mexico. He is Standwell's right hand man and always takes orders from him. He is also suspected of being involved with The XX. He is often referred to as 'pin-head' by the petty officers XIII encounters through the game.


Multiplayer

The multiplayer over Xbox Live, PS2 Online, and System Link hosts a maximum of 8 players. The game features three standard game modes along with modes exclusive to each system:
Team Deathmatch
Deathmatch
Capture the Flag
Sabotage (Exclusive to Xbox): Each team is made up of two players or more, and each player has a specific skill. The offensive team must blow up the defensive team's checkpoints. The game ends when either time has elapsed or the checkpoints have been blown up.
The Hunt (Exclusive to PS2 and Gamecube): Players chase a running target through a map attempting to kill it. However, if the target touches the player, the player is instantly killed.
Power-Up (Exclusive to PS2): A variation of deathmatch in which random power-ups are scattered throughout a map for players to pick up. Pick-ups are chosen according to player's score position.

Each game type has different maps with a maximum of 16 players.

Reception

XIII attained mostly positive reviews. Reviewers often praised the game's graphical style and presentation, while criticising the gameplay. GamePro called it a "rejuvenating, jaw-dropping experience". IGN said "XIII has a great story-driven sheen, but at it's core, it's weighed down by some occasional bewildering flaws, in addition to the lackluster weapons and simple combat". GameZone also criticised the combat, stating "If not for the graphics to carry the game through, XIII would have been a boring game. Gunfights are the best part of the gameplay. It also happens to the most unbalanced part." Edge said XIII had "true artistic merit: it never gets stale; every episode has been drawn with minute care and attention. It would have been an incredible achievement if the gameplay had matched the outstanding art direction." GameSpy criticised the graphics and the multiplayer mode, and concluded "When it comes right down to it, XIII is a fine game...Just don't expect the FPS of the year because, sadly, this isn't it." Gaming Trend praised the cel-shaded graphics, while finding fault with the "relatively low" polygon count and repetitive textures. Also singled out for praise were the voice acting and sound effects, while "The largest fault of the game is the save system." Game Informer praised XIII's "unique look", and concluded "I am glad that I played XIII, but came away longing for the great game that this could have been, rather than the merely adequate game that it is." gamesTM said "It's one of those mixed-bag situations - flashes of genius and genuinely enjoyable moments of success, occasionally mired by unbalanced weapon damage, clumsy AI and the odd bit of unfair level design that requires astounding feats of memory." Eurogamer called XIII "a flawed masterpiece. A game brimming with variety and a freshness lacking from most of the factory farmed franchise exercises that pass through our offices with crushing regularity." Game Revolution complimented the game's story, graphical style, voice acting and soundtrack, while criticising the gameplay as "about as straightforward - and in some cases boring - as it gets for an FPS."

XIII has an average of 74% (Xbox), 73% (GameCube and PlayStation 2), and 72% (PC) on review aggregator site Metacritic.