XIII (GameCube) Preview

By James 21.10.2003 2

In the year 1998, a groundbreaking console was released. With revolutionary graphics, amazing 3dimensional technology and arguably the most original and intuitive game controllers ever the console was sure to be a success. That console was the Nintendo64, and one of the finest examples to make use of all of the games technical power and great controller was GoldenEye 007. GoldenEye is still regarded by many as the best shooter of its time and by some even the best game ever. Since then, many developers have redesigned, imitated and refined this engine in an attempt to recreate the wonders that the original produced. None have failed badly, but none have conjured a game that has had has produced as much entertainment and enjoyment as GoldenEye did when it was released 5 years ago. Perfect Dark was an excellent game and was regarded by many as equal to GoldenEye, yet some thought the exact opposite to this. Timesplitters 2 was also an innovative and impressive game that had all the modes you could ever wish for but the gameplay lacked something, so the question on everyone's mind is what is XIII like?

Regarding XIII as a simple clone of GoldenEye would mean overlooking a lot of the game, as this is not the case at all. Graphically the game looks like a cel-shaded conversion of the game, the style of the areas in which your characters, fittingly named XIII, roams around showing off his weapons.

As we mentioned earlier, the game is cel-shaded, this transcends a now long running fashion taking many a genre under the knife and in a bland and half-hearted attempt to revive a game series but this isn't the same with XIII, in that XIII is not just your average First Person Shooter. Behind the cel-shaded style, there is actually an adequate reason as to why the game has utilised the style in such a way. XIII is based on a French comic. The style fits the game, perfectly and the execution has also been done very well. Another little reminder of the games origin is even found in death itself! When you have gotten past an enemy, 3 little box outs will be shown at the top each with a little picture of the dead attacker.

Screenshot for XIII on GameCube

Graphically the game is spectacular, the cel-shaded style would have been laughed at if you told any gamer that the FPS genre could possibly benefit from the addition of this 'childish' style the likelihood is that they would laugh at you. Take, for example, when you are gripping a large weapon, say, a rocket launcher and you pulled the trigger, a nice reminder of the games roots is added in by a comic style "BAOOM" or "BANG" that sprawl across the screen then fade away. Many onomatopoeia words will come up when in extreme combat situations. Colourful groaning will also jump onto the screen when a foe dies. The animation also looks fluid on a whole giving you the impression that the game has been very beneficial of the style.

The levels all look very varied as well providing a balance of levels that is something that Halo and many other FPS games fail to provide and instead makes the levels very repetitive and tedious, the sense of variation gives a gamer a better feel for a game. Some levels look slightly reminiscent of those seen in the Nintendo64 hit; GoldenEye, yet most looks very different. The areas are generally quite dull and look rather boring and still at first site but provide a very thrilling game when played around. Getting used to seeing cel-shaded humans and cel-shaded buildings isn't as hard as you'd think, the game looks like cel-shading was designed for XIII.

Screenshot for XIII on GameCube

The gameplay is a huge factor in a game, and, with so many other brilliant First Person Shooters out there the gameplay has to be extremely good and of a generally high standard to make its mark on the gaming industry today. Using the Unreal Warfare engine the game should be fast paced and very easy to pick up and play. Possibly the main feature in the gameplay that sets this First Person Shooters from the standard FPS games in the genre is the ability to use your surroundings to your advantage.

All out fragging won't be an option in some levels, and at the start of the game initially your are unequipped, so utilizing your surroundings will be imperative to you moving forward through the game. The interactivity of the areas is surprisingly high, as you can pick up various items as well as objects such as chairs, ash trays and fire extinguishers all to be used at your disposal when in combat and needy for a quick getaway weapon. Thankfully, the developers of the game have realised that a quick knock over the cranium won't normally kill unless in the extreme circumstances that is unlike the developers of HALO: Combat Evolved that never fully understood the factor that bullets are in the most case more powerful than melees.

The weapons to be found in the game will range from large, bulky rocket launchers to the standard pistols and rifles. On offer though there will also be some more original weapons such as the throwing knives and crossbows! Along with these will be sniper rifles fully equipped with long-range scopes that can help you penetrate areas with optimum silence and stealth, pump-shotguns for blasting your way through hoards of enemies and the more classic rifles equipped with weak grenade launchers as secondary fire for your all-round weapon.

Screenshot for XIII on GameCube

The Artificial Intelligence or AI of the game is of a very high standard and makes other critically acclaimed FPS' look poor when in comparison. Your foes, won't just run from at you guns blazing, oh no, the more likely scenario is you having to use a more stealthy approach as the fairly clever AI won't be fooled by traps and will take places behind crates, bushes and trees and attempt to snipe you out from under cover. The AI are not easy to defeat and will take a considerable chunk of health from XIII unless you are very stealthy and fast. As with most FPS games of our generation, most of them include body-part health. This means, that as in real life it would take a few bullets in the arm to kill a person but only 1 in the head to kill a person. This is found in XIII and although often not noticed and overlooked but it is a nice little touch.

The storyline of the game pits you straight into the action. You're washed up on a Californian beach, somewhere, with nothing, no equipment, no gun, no letter or note and you have severe amnesia. Nothing that is other than a little key that will unlock a box in a secure bank that will bring XIII back to the life he once lead. Literally seconds after XIII has attempted to regain his memory, focus and consciousness he is attacked by a mysterious group of people who have been set out to attack XIII.

Incorporate everything that will be good about the one player mode, add a couple of mates and bots to it and you come up with something that is going to be very special indeed. The multiplayer is going to be a strong part of the game; with some modes exclusive to the Gamecube because of the other consoles online capabilities the multiplayer should be slightly improved and more impressive for the Gamecube. The addition of bots is also a valuable addition to the multiplayer but is found in nearly all-standard FPS games today regardless of them being found in XIII.

Screenshot for XIII on GameCube

Final Thoughts

XIII looks to be a very special title indeed that should be one of the best Gamecube FPS making it a game for everybody to consider. Although the graphical style Ubi Soft chose may be looked upon as a problem or a hold back for the game by the casual gamer it is in fact perfectly suited to the game series. With a fairly good storyline, intuitive weapons and a not-so-new-anymore graphical style XIII looks to be a very good FPS to look forward to.

Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (3 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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