XIII for the PS2 review

When you think of a first person shooter, what usually comes to mind? Resistance and Killzone on the PS3, Left 4 Dead 2 and Halo 3 on the Xbox360, and Golden Eye on the N64. I basically have listed the more popular ones. I know I didn’t add Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield Bad Company 2, but I don’t know much about those games, and that is just me. I’m not much of a FPS kind of guy. It seems harder though to make an original FPS without some jerk to say it looks likes another FPS that is out. I mean, sometimes it’s good to say that since a game like Haze looks like a poorly made version of Halo. There have been some attempts at doing something different with an FPS game like Mirror’s Edge with its platforming. However, I think an interesting take on the FPS genre is stealth. I don’t mean being a sniper and sitting your butt in one place during the entire match and killing everyone, I mean a game like XIII. I wouldn’t say it’s a good example of doing something different with a FPS, but at least it tried.

The main story of the game revolves around a guy name XIII, who was found badly injured on a beach in New York, and has no memories of the past. He must find out what he did, since he is charged with the assassination of a past president. It’s interesting since it seems like the beginning was based on the Kennedy assassination. It shows the president getting shot in his car by a sniper during a parade. However, I have never read XIII, and I know nothing about it, but it caught my eye because of the title and the graphics, which I will talk about later. So, yeah, it’s your basic, guy has amnesia and must find out what he did or has done and who he is. It’s not like we haven’t seen this before…wait.

The game play featured in XIII is a mix between a first person shooter and a first person stealth game. Like I said, it’s hard to make a first person shooter game original, and when someone attempts to do it right, sometime it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The first person shooter aspects aren’t anything new since you have your normal variety of weapons like pistol, shotgun, sniper rifle, and the works. The stealth section of the game is that basically you sneak around during some levels where you have no weapons and have to use stuff like bottles, ashtrays, and chairs to take out people who do have guns. You can take the guns off of people, but then it turns into a normal shooter. You do get some unique weapons, like throwing knives and a crossbow with a sniper scope, which can be cool since if you get a head shot on someone, it shows a quick three-sectioned comic showing the bullet or arrow heading to the guy’s head and hitting him. Other than that, there is a multiplayer section, but no one is on it and I think it might be shutting down, but I don’t know

The graphics are pretty unique, but nothing we haven’t seen in cel-shaded comic-style graphics. I mean, if you look at games like Jetgrind Radio, Killer 7, and No More Heroes 1 and 2, they also have nice cel-shaded graphics. I also like the voice work in the game. One of the most surprising voice actors I saw in the game was the Mayor of Quahog himself, Adam West. I was surprised since you see this guy doing voice work in shows like Family Guy, Boondocks, and other things, then you look at him as the 60’s Batman. It’s weird where he has gotten from back then to today. I happen to like his voice in the game. We also have David Duchovny, who was Fox Mulder from the X-Files movies and TV series doing the voice for XIII. He does a good job doing the voice. The music is also well done, giving the sound and feel of the game something like the film, The Professional or the anime series Noir or Cowboy Bebop.

Now, it seems like there couldn’t be a lot of things wrong with this game, but there are a few things. First off, the controls seem really finicky. They are just all over the place, kind of like that game Mr. Mosquito. It kind of makes you feel spoiled by the controls in shooters of today. The polygon count on everyone is pretty low. It looks okay as a PS2 game, but everyone seems so blocky and not animated as well. I don’t know if it was a budget thing, but it’s annoying since this game came out in 2003, and by then I think people should have gotten some knowledge on how to use the potential of the PS2. The voice work could have been better since some voices are just annoying, and it sounds funny when people say the word “alert”. It sounds like they are saying “ALEEEE!”

Overall, this game sounds good and is interesting, but falls short of expectations. It isn’t the worst game of all time, but it’s definitely not the best. I know some people think this is an underrated gem, but I think they need a brain scan. I would say it’s worth checking out as a rental, but just like Dark Void, it is mostly forgettable and shouldn’t be picked up more than once. I have read that some people want a sequel to this, and I would be interested in seeing if they do, but I highly doubt it with the game’s sell numbers.

This game gets a 5 out of 10