Platform: PC (Also on XBox, PS2)
Much fuss was made over the cell-shading “comic book” style of this First Person Shooter. And since the game play is average at best, I can understand why everyone was quick to jump up and down and say “But doesn’t it look neat”. Yes, yes it does. I am unfamiliar with the French comic of the same name that inspired this game, but XIII most definitely captures a different “feel” than most any other FPS out there. The story is wrapped around the President’s assassination, your subsequent bout with amnesia and your apparent involvement somehow as agent “XIII”. You slowly encounter other numbered agents as you work your way through the conspiracy. Use of the comic book style works with visible “footsteps” you see when an enemy approaches as well as the pop-up boxes that do a sort of still-frame animation on head shots.
The A.I. isn’t very smart (I don’t think there is an FPS that has gotten this right yet) so most of the game play is just infiltrate and exterminate. Some “stealth” weapons are supplied (throwing knives, crossbows) but even the occasional ashtray, bottle, shovel or broom can be used to render bodies unconscious. And since enemies were smart enough to discover a downed comrade (ok, points there for the A.I.), you would have to stash some bodies so they wouldn’t be found and blow your cover. A few boss missions cap off waypoints in the game just to tax your FPS skills a bit further and these are the few times you actually have to think your way through a fight (utilizing the best attack patterns). While the look of the game is certainly fresh, it does little to enhance the standard FPS missions and game play. But it certainly doesn’t diminish the experience either. So in the end, you have an average, but enjoyable First Person Shooter that gets extra points in the style department.