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October 21, 2003
XIII - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
4/12/2003UbiSoftUbiSoft1-4 $99.95

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Using the pistol.
Unless you have lived in France, or are a huge comic book fan then it's unlikely you would have heard of XIII (pronounced thirteen, as it is from the Roman numeral translation). This is an interesting game. At its heart is a First Person Shooter but this game will certainly grab attention for the visuals. Fortunately the developers have also spent considerable time building the storyline for the game.

The President of the United States of America has been assassinated. You wake up on a desolate strip of New England beach. The near-fatal impact of a bullet has left your head pounding, and your memory erased. What's more, the number 'XIII' has been mysteriously tattooed on your chest, while your pocket holds a key to a New York City bank box. Head swimming in amnesia, you struggle to your feet only to encounter more assailants intent on finishing the job. To your shock, you handle the hitmen with the killing skills of a professional - before heading to the bank in search of any shred of information about your lost identity and your involvement in the President's murder. What lies ahead is a deadly quest not only into your shadowy past, but America's darkest corridors of power.

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The locations are quite varied.
As seems to be the requirements today the developers are promising a blend of action and stealth in this title. The game offers you a wide range of weapons ranging from silent crossbows to precision sniper rifles, to furious automatic weapons, to chairs, bottles, ashtrays, shovels and even enemy soldiers' bodies. While the enemies are intelligent to keep an eye on each other it is also possible to sneak up behind them with a knife for a silent kill. Leave a body around, however, and the enemies will start a search to find the cause.

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4-player split screen mode.
Multiplayer plays a major part in XIII. As well as Capture the Flag, Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes the developers have developed a new mode called Power Up. This mode is essentially a Deathmatch with pickups including "SuperGnome" and "Frag Instant Death". The Hunt is another mode where you must run through levels shooting a moving target. What is most exciting, however, is that this game will include online gameplay. As the first online First Person Shooter on Playstation 2 (we consider SOCOM and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Jungle Storm as simulations) this game has some bonuses. Hopefully UbiSoft have placed plenty of emphasis on the online aspect, indeed they have stated it took much more time to implement then expected, as it could be one of the stand out additions to the title.

The quality of the game doesn't stop at gameplay modes. Your character, XIII, is being voiced by none other then David Duchovney. Adam West, the original TV series Batman has voiced General Carrington while musician and actress Eve has voiced in the role of Major Jones.

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One of the tremendous cut scenes.
Graphics are certain to be one of the selling points of this title. Retaining the visual style of the comic books has given the game a unique look and with the power of the Unreal 2 engine behind it this game never fails to amaze. This game is looks a lot more impressive then Acclaim's dire cel-shaded Fur Fighters: Viggo's Revenge. The visual effects are impressive with classic comic book styled expressions flashing on screen when an enemy is shot. One of the neatest features of the game are the pop-up boxes for critical events such as headshots on enemies, or downed choppers etc. This certainly be to everyone’s taste, but those who enjoy something different will likely get a lot out of the XIII graphical style.

It remains to be seen if XIII captures the imagination of the world where cel-shaded visuals have struggled with games such as Jet Set Radio on Dreamcast and XBox, Auto Modelista and Black & Bruised all failing to impress at retail. The one saving grace for this title is the promised online gameplay, which should include deathmatch and capture the flag. Expect a release just prior to Christmas.