XIII (2020)

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This article is about a 2020 remake. You may be looking for 2003 original game.
XIII
XIII-Remake.jpg
Let's take the example of XIII and forget about the memories of this remake.
Protagonist(s): Number XIII
Genre(s): First-person shooter
Stealth
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Nintendo Switch
Release date: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
November 10, 2020
Nintendo Switch
TBA 2021
Engine: Unity
Developer(s): PlayMagic
Publisher(s): Microids
Made in: Malta
Franchise: XIII
Predecessor: XIII: Lost Identity

XIII (read: Thirteen) is a first-person shooter video game developed by PlayMagic and published by Microids for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 10, 2020, and it will be released for the Nintendo Switch in 2021. It is a remake of a 2003 video game of the same name.

Development

The remake of the original 2003 video game was announced on April 18, 2019 with PlayMagic developing the game and Microids publishing the game for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game was originally scheduled for release on November 13 of the same year, but it was delayed to 2020 for further development. In June 2020, the game was announced to be scheduled for release on November 10, 2020 for Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. In October 2020, it was announced that the port of the game for Nintendo Switch was delayed to 2021.[1]

Gameplay

Just like the classic game, XIII is a first-person shooter with elements of stealth and action in certain missions.

Why It Sucks

  1. Simply put, this remake is not faithful to the original game at all.
    • If you are familiar with the original game, you should remember that the game starts with the use of comic strip-like cutscenes to show you what happening with the main character dealing with and what is going on in the main story of the game. The developers didn’t even bother to recreate them in the same style, they just created a short starting cutscene where you see an FBI agent who comes into a briefing room and watches the original comic strip scene on a big screen, absolutely the same as it was back in 2003, and what's even worse is the fact that the later cutscenes are poorly-done without the comic strips-like cutscenes and use fully 3D animated cutscenes instead. While this can sound good on paper, they look so bad that they seem to be ripped-off from a bootleg Android game or were made by an amateur animator in Source Filmmaker.
    • The graphics, in particular, are downgraded from the original, looking more like a late Xbox 360 and PS3 title:
      • The original game was well known back then for being the first FPS game that used the characteristical cel-shading graphical style for everything in the game, from the weapons, characters, and items to the environments and structures. The remake barely uses the cel-shading style for the graphics and, somehow, the graphics look really poor in some of the cutscenes. One last thing worth mentioning are the character models that look absolutely terrible, and look more like if they came from Fortnite (though they look incomparable better than in XIII), at least in terms of design.
      • Some of the visual effects of the original game are absent in the remake. First off, when an explosion went off near you, the whole screen would shake and reveal the comic book panel outline, adding to the immersion of the whole comic aspect. This visual feature was removed in the remake for no apparent reason. The scripted death sequences were also affected, because in the remake they seem completely toned down and cheaply made, unlike the original game where some comic panels appear showing up from three small panels to a small and a big panel how did your target die in static images or even an animated sequence of him falling down. Even some small details like the snow falling down in some of the snow levels and the onomatopoeias when you knock down an enemy with an object were completely removed from the remake.
      • The weapon animations are even worse than the original game, as they are stiffy and move way too fast, and some look unfinished.
    • The remake adds in an unnecessary weapon limit that ends up being annoying. The original game didn't have this mechanic, because you were able to pick all of the weapons you can, something that was useful in later levels if you wanted to go stealthy in a part of a mission, and then go for an assault in the next one. Here you can only pick one weapon of each type, and this is way too inconvenient if you take in count the previous point, because certain levels require certain weapons to get pass through them, like the forced assault sections. If you don't have the adequate weapons for a specific part, you will experience a lot of troubles.
  2. An abysmal amount of bugs and glitches:
    • The physics are entirely bugged, most of the times the enemies will clip through the wall or the floor when they are killed or even shake in a very strange way.
    • Sometimes when you replace a certain weapon, your previous weapon will disappear instantly and you will never be able get it back.
    • Many graphical issues, when you lift a corpse, the models can clip through your field of view and go into the corpse's head, and this looks really horrifying. There are even structures that disappear when you get in a certain position and your arms can disappear when you hold a two-handed weapon.
    • In some cases the missions won't load properly, preventing you to progress further.
    • After some scripted sequences, there is a chance that the NPCs won't despawn, meaning that their models will stand around doing nothing.
    • There are problems with the cutscenes, sometimes they can play without audio or won't even play at all. This gets to the point that some of the levels can end abruptly and then you can appear at a complete different level without any context about what happened.
    • If all above wasn't enough, some users reported that after downloading the game, their copies of the 2003/XIII Classic version stopped working correctly or glitched for no apparent reason.
  3. The audio in the game is absolutely broken. The sound effects appear and disappear at random times and there are cases where you won’t hear a single thing and then you suddenly start hearing a lot of background sounds that sound out of nowhere, or even worse, they vanish completely after walking a few meters, meaning that you can rarely hear something that is ten meters away from you. The background ambience sounds seem to be absent, and because of this, most of the levels will be filled with an awkward dead silence, specially in the flashback scenes where the ambience sound effects made them look intriguing, and now that the game took them away, they look boring and uninspiring. The music and the voice acting are also affected, most of the times, they will sound with a lot of stuttering and sometimes the music won't play in some specific parts where in the original game did, like the first part of the game where you escape from the beach, which had an inspiring and well-fitting music.
  4. The animations are poorly-done in most of the cases. When you kill an enemy, he can either fall to the ground in a very stiff way or move spastically all around the room. Even the animations when you use items or pick up bodies look scuffed and inadequate, like if the game tried too hard to look fancy with it's animations, something that doesn't fit well with the gameplay.
  5. Braindead and broken AI. The enemies will stare at the ground or at the walls and won't notice you, even if you are right in front of them, killing their squadmates or they can walk in circles when a nearby squadmate is killed. This can make stealth sections a lot easier, but there are cases where the enemies can see through walls and detect hidden bodies multiple rooms away and even hear silenced weapons also from rooms away, making stealth completely impossible and luck-based.
    • Because of the terrible AI behaving and the game-breaking mechanics, the Hard and XIII difficulty are a complete joke. You can make a flawless playthrough, even if you're not used to FPS games!
  6. As strange as it sounds, some of the new mechanics can break how the game works:
    • When you aim down your sights, all of your weapons will become laser pointers with perfect accuracy, to the point you can even snipe enemies from afar with a single pistol, thus removing the challenge of using the adequate weapon for long range combats and saving the ammunition for these situations.
    • The ability of sprinting in a game which was originally meant to be played at a slower pace breaks the flow of the combat. You can run around everyone in game, get easy headshots and take barely any damage because the AI's aiming is even worse when you're sprinting.
  7. The game wasted a great opportunity to solve the cliffhanger ending of the original game, because it uses the same ending of the original game.
  8. The optimization is terrible and inconsistent, even if you run the game on a powerful PC, there are times where the framerate will get incredibly choppy at times and then get back to normal. This gets much worse in the console versions, because they run at 30FPS, and if there are more than five enemies in a single room, the frame rate will get so low to the point of making the game almost unplayable. It's so unstable that can cause a lot of input lag in all of the buttons.
  9. The gunplay feels really weak, mostly because the developers didn't even bothered in making new weapon sounds and they just recycled the original sounds instead. Also, most of the weapons don't even have a considerable amount of recoil, with the exception of the shotgun, and this one is way too exaggerated.
  10. Plagiarism: This game's front cover art is traced blatantly from artwork of Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell: Conviction.
  11. The hit detection is broken. At times, you will never be able to kill an enemy if you're using an automatic weapon, even if the hitmarkers appear, the enemy will just refuse to die and this can waste more than two of your magazines.
  12. The game doesn't have the option to change the camera's Field of View, something unacceptable for today's standards.
  13. The PC version uses mouse acceleration for the aiming and it doesn't even has a menu to change the ADS controls; this mechanic shouldn't even be present in new generation games.
  14. The multiplayer mode is poorly-designed. There are only a couple of Modes (Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch), three maps and is entirely local, there are no dedicated servers, no Bots support, and The Hunt, the most known Mode of the original, is completely absent here. To add salt to the wound, the maps are really big for only four players, which is the maximum amount of players allowed in local multiplayer.
  15. A bit of false advertising. The PC version claims that it has complete controller support, but in reality, this feature is prone to fail, or even worse, there are users that claimed that their controllers didn't work while playing the game or only worked in the menus.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Despite the terrible game optimization, the loading times are relatively short.
  2. There are more checkpoints than in the original game, something that is appreciated, because the original game had very few checkpoints per level.
  3. Despite being bugged, boss fights were improved and introduced divided health bars, where if you chunk down a portion of the bosses' health, they go into a stunned state, where you can do an extra damage.
  4. Wildlife was added to the Rocky Mountain stage, making the game feel less empty.
  5. Unlike the original game where you needed to be close and a bit lucky to kill someone with it, here the shotgun can kill enemies in one shot most of the times.
  6. The idle animations for the weapons are pretty decent.
  7. It's one of the few games nowadays, especially First-Person Shooters, that allows for up to 4 player split-screen.

Reception

XIII was negatively received by players and press upon launch. The main criticism focuses on the unnecessary changes from the original, such as the art style and the weapon limit, as well as the game's numerous technical and audio issues.

On Metacritic, the PlayStation 4 version received 39/100, the PC version received 29/100, and the Xbox One version received 32/100.[2][3][4]

XIII is the second lowest-rated game on Metacritic in 2020 (in a ranking with at least seven reviews), after Tiny Racer.[5]

On OpenCritic, the game received a rating of "Weak", an average score of 33/100 and a 6% critics recommend, based on 19 reviews.[6]

AreaJugones gave the game a 65/100, praising the story that is faithful to the original game and the better graphics, but criticizing the performance issues and the tedious boss battles, stating that "XIII returns with an opportunity to redeem himself but with performance improvements to be made. If those fringes are finally solved, he will once again enjoy a luxurious opportunity to convince the players who did not do it before and hold more to a thread of hope for the second half."[7]

Gameblog FR was way more critical and gave the game a 30 out of 100, saying that "It feels older than the original, except for its visuals, and is full of bugs and glitches, this new version of XIII will not be fondly remembered."[8]

GamingBolt gave a 2/10, considering as one of the worst games of all time.[9]

It's worth to mention that a great amount of the players complained about the poor optimization, the big amount of bugs and glitches, the unnecessary changes that are not faithful to the classic game and the broken audio and mechanics on Steam, Metacritic and many other websites about videogames.

Legacy

On Steam, it currently has mostly negative reviews with only 13% positive reviews, making it one of the lowest-rated Steam games ever released, sub-par with FlatOut 3: Chaos & Destruction and Airport Simulator 2014.[10]

The reviews were so bad and the game was so criticized that the developer PlayMagic and publisher Microids issued a joint statement apologizing to players for the unfinished state of the game at release, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic had significantly affected the game's production to the point that the game didn't even met the quality standards of the publisher.[11]

Videos

Reviews and analysis

Game issues and parodies

The developer's apologise

Comments

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