XIII (Xbox) review
"For the last several years, comic books have been slowly making a stronger impact on the more popular of medias. DC and Marvel characters alone have caused a recent wave of blockbuster hits and even comics with smaller cult followings, such as Spawn and Hellboy, have created quite the stir on their own. The recent success has sparked a race to see which company can cash in on this growing trend. Activision scored Spider-man, Eurocom is the latest developer for Batman, and Superman has been whore..."
For the last several years, comic books have been slowly making a stronger impact on the more popular of medias. DC and Marvel characters alone have caused a recent wave of blockbuster hits and even comics with smaller cult followings, such as Spawn and Hellboy, have created quite the stir on their own. The recent success has sparked a race to see which company can cash in on this growing trend. Activision scored Spider-man, Eurocom is the latest developer for Batman, and Superman has been whored around for years, but the most surprising of all is Ubisoft's acquisition of the French based comic XIII. Even though XIII doesn't have an exuberant fan base here in the United States, Ubisoft decided to take the license and run with it. To bad the resulting product's lame ass attempt at be entertaining has planted it firmly at the bottom of the bargain bin.
Accuracy is the biggest complaint. Pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, it really doesn't matter what your touting around if the target isn't getting shot. The worst offenders are the automatic weapons, whose wild spray will miss more times then not. Short bursts often don't seem to help matters either for bullets will continue to wiz by the intended victim. The only true accuracy is achieved with the sniper rifle but its use in close quarters is obviously restricted. This leaves us with the pistol - sadly, the most versatile weapon of the entire group. Alas, it to has issues causing the entire aiming system to be based more off of luck than precision and skill.
On top of this, XIII's single player campaign isn't exactly cutting edge. The A.I. has a tendency to run straight at you while holes are being shot into their chests. The various skirmishes can be made interesting with the spotty gun control and a well scripted bazooka shot on the computer's part but neither will affect your ability to merely run up and shoot your enemies in the back. The fact that the level design is as annoying as watching Barney reruns definitely doesn't help the situation. Also, these levels are very narrow providing no more than one route to any objective. The whole process can be summed up as basically... run and shoot... hide and shoot... pull a switch and exit the level. Multiply that by thirty-four missions and you've just completed the entire story mode of XIII.
Now some will argue, "there's more to XIII's story mode then pulling a switch." My response to this is, "no, not really." Granted you can replace that comment with "find a key to unlock a door," "protect so and so," maybe even "access [insert area here]", nonetheless, in the end, these objectives come off as more of a hindrance to your five, possibly ten, minute journey to the end of the level. Ubisoft does try to throw a curveball by telling us we can't shoot the innocent. Unfortunately, their solution for bypassing such foes is sneaking up and knocking them out with either a chair, mop or ashtray. Needless to say, this is not Splinter Cell and the stealth involved isn't even necessary when the A.I. can be judo chopped in the back without an entire room knowing.
With such horrid gameplay, you most certainly would expect the storyline to be an appalling ailment to the mind but, surprisingly, it's not complete crap. Though, a man diagnosed with amnesia after being washed ashore onto a beach isn't exactly the most original concept in the world, lets face it, the FPS genre isn't known for its splendid story telling. Anyway, "the man" is actually XIII (an agent of the SPADS organization) who is soon accused of killing the president. Obviously, he can't remember doing such an endeavor but, nevertheless, his former employers are looking to kill him anyway. The info above is all the game gives you until XIII finds he isn't the numerically labeled man he believed he was. Confused? So was I, and normally I'd go and play the game again, however, in XIII's case, it's not worth the trouble.
Now after all my bitter chatter, would it be a shocker if I told you the multiplayer mode sucks? I didn't think so. XIII comes packed with three generic game types, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, and one Xbox exclusive called Sabotage, none of which are even worth a look. And, as expected, the retarded A.I. and mechanics come along for the ride. Not enough? Well Xbox live was thrown in for good measures... to bad no one's online.
The only possible redeeming quality one could find in XIII would be its sense of comic book flare. However, some typical cel-shading and storyboard cutouts damage even that. The fact of the matter is XIII just can't live up to the comic book hype. Furthermore, it's a pain to see a game so persistent on luck. Not that you need it, the computer would rather run in circles then shoot you, but it would have been nice if some skill were involved. XIII isnít even worth the effort digging it out of the bargain bin. Save your time and hard-earned cash and buy something of quality. Can we say ďHalo?Ē
Community review by evilpoptart937 (May 15, 2005)
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