By: Matt Chin on April 6, 2003
We've been keeping a close eye on XIII for a long time, but we decided to use a "wait and see" approach before we gave the game any coverage. Now that Ubi Soft has passed along some details about the game to us, we are totally convinced that our readers should be aware of this potential first-person shooter title.
As you can tell from the screenshots below, XIII incorporates cel-shaded graphics in order to achieve a graphic novel (read: comic book) look and presentation to it. Cel-shaded visuals are still fairly new in the video game industry if you think about it, but it has appeared in nearly every game genre -- including racing, platformers, baseball and fighting. However, this is the first time we have seen this type of style used in a first-person shooter game.
Just like in comic book fashion, you'll see words such as "BOOM!" and "BAM!" appear on-screen when loud explosions or gun fire ensues. If you manage to hit your target with a knife, for example, a pop-up window may even appear at the top of the screen to give you a closer look at the damage you've just done.
Of course, you'll need more than interesting graphics to keep players hooked to the game. That is why XIII also offers an intriguing storyline:
The President of the United States of America has been assassinated and you are somehow connected to the president's murder. Unfortunately, you've been struck by amnesia and the number "XIII" has been mysteriously tattooed on your chest, while your pocket holds a key to a New York City bank box. During the course of the game, you'll need to search for clues on your identity and uncover who is behind the conspiracy of the president's assassination. We're unsure if the story will progress with cut-scenes or with scripted events (a la Half-Life), but the initial details so far sound very interesting.
Many FPS titles these days are mostly about stealth/covert infiltration and XIII is no exception. In the beginning, you won't find any assault rifles laying around, so you must do the best you can with what is available. Objects such as broken glass, chairs, ashtrays, bottles, bricks, shovels, and more can be used to take out enemies silently. The bricks, glass, and bottles can also be thrown from a distance. Don't worry though; assault rifles, rocket launchers, grenades, crossbows, sniper rifles, pistols and more will be available later on in the game. You can even use enemies are human shields!
To complete the package, XIII features various multiplayer modes such as Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, although more cooperative modes like "Cover Me" will be included.
It's no secret that XIII will look attractive, but hopefully the gameplay will be able to hold its own against other recent PS2 titles as well. I am going to go bug Ubi Soft for more screenshots, so expect additional coverage of XIII in the near future.
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