Little more than an average shooter with great graphics
Based on a Belgian comic book series, XIII is a slick and stylish shooter which mixes action and stealth to solid, if uninspiring, effect. Taking control of the amnesiac Mr. Fly, players find themselves accused of killing the US president and must uncover the truth behind the conspiracy and their own identity by blasting and sneaking their way through 13 chapters of comic-book shenanigans. Perhaps the most notable aspect of the game is the graphics, which are cel-shaded to create a true comic-style experience and which contribute to much of XIII's appeal. This is further enhanced by the use of speech bubbles for dialogue and for sound effects to be represented by words ('Bam!') and really does mark the game out as something a little unusual. Unfortunately, other than this graphical uniqueness, XIII is little more than a standard FPS akin to No One Lives Forever
, Perfect Dark, or Goldeneye, but lacking in the qualities which made these other games great. However, that is not to say that XIII is bad and indeed there is much to recommend it. Its story-driven nature is intriguing, levels are well-designed and generally speaking the combat is as it should be, fast and furious. Unfortunately things are let down by the lack-lustre weapons, occasionally dodgy AI and gameplay which is all too frequently little more than ordinary and straightforward. It's a shame that more effort didn't go into this core aspect, as with a little extra polish, XII could have been elevated from the merely mundane to something a bit more special.