Review: XIII Remak
The developers apologize for the state of the game at this time. We are working hard on an update to fix many technical issues. You can read the full statement here . While all intentions are good, this doesn't change the state of the game at the moment. Read on for our review.
XIII Remake is a reimagined comic action shooter from the original game from 2003. Back then developed and published by Ubisoft. This time developed by PlayMagic and published by Microids. How does the fork stick into its stem?
To be fair, I don't have any nostalgia for XIII in any form whatsoever. I am not familiar with the comic book series and have never played the original game on the Playstation 2 or Gamecube. I also don't really feel that this is necessary, because the remake also feels like a Playstation 2 game. Let's dive into XIII Remake and everything that goes wrong in this 'action-packed' shooter.
It looks like Fortnite
I feel like I'm missing the most important drive to get this game interested. It seems like this game is deeply held by the fans and that the nostalgia feeling with the original game is just as high as Ocarina of Time for many players. After some superficial research I somewhat saw the appeal of the game some 17 years ago. An attractive cartoon character-like drawing style that somewhat obscures the technical limits of 17 years ago. Coupled with typical comic book action and you have an entertaining few hours. That might have been really cool, new and impressive 17 years ago. Visual animations and pop-ups as if you were playing a comic book.
17 years later, this still has some uses in the XIII Remake. Only now it looks more like Fortnite than a comic book. Graphically it doesn't look impressive, but on the other hand it isn't unique, beautiful or artistic either. If you said this was the same Playstation 2 game, but in a higher resolution, I'd believe you. It may have been fat then, but not anymore.
The only reason I was even a little curious to get started with the XIII Remake is David Duchovny. We all know him as Fox Mulder from the X-Files, but I mainly know him as Hank Moody from the great series Californication. I've rewatched that series about 7 times and regularly use his famous 'madafakaaaa!' addressing Charlie. So you could say that the series has left an impression. When I heard that David Duchovny was a voice actor for XIII, the main protagonist in the game, I was excited.
I got a little hesitant after seeing the trailer. The sentences he spoke were very calm, as I know him from his reading sections from the Californication series, but it didn't really fit the images I was seeing. A bad mix of dialogue with action images, I thought. But unfortunately, even in-game his sentences don't feel quite right, as if they are misplaced. As if David has spoken the sentences without any idea what the context is, or what situation he is in.
Something the XIII Remake does do really well, and this is only the second game to pull it off, is to literally make me feel physically sick. After about half an hour of playing I started to feel nauseous and at first I thought this was a coincidence. The next day the exact same thing happened. I got nauseous and after playing a little longer I got a headache. For those interested, the only other game that managed to do this was Eve Valkyrie, a VR game in which after flying for a few rounds you no longer have any idea what is in front or behind, this made my brain go a bit crazy because they had no idea how to keep me in balance.
I think I also know well how XIII Remake could have made me physically sick. The game is technically a mess. Frame tearing is no exception, but a constant. With every movement, much going on or not, the frames are not aligned and you see stutters in the image. Every second, every time you move or something moves in the image. In addition, the game also does not run very stable and the frames dip if more than two enemies are present at the same time. The game doesn't play very smoothly either, so the gunplay itself feels very stiff and uncomfortable. You don't have to worry, because enemies aren't very smart in the XIII Remake.
The game plays like an old fashioned First Person Shooter. You play through levels and in the levels you have minimal freedom of movement, but enough options to take out enemies. There are different types of weapons and items to use. Stealth is an option, but it doesn't work very well and is certainly not rewarded at all. Enemies can sometimes see you with their backs to you, but it's not consistent. Furthermore, the AI is not very smart and they often stand in a row with a group while they shoot at you or not. Even with the game on 'Hard' you don't have to worry much. Enemy AI is even dumber than the AI in Call of Duty.
I really gave it a fair chance, but alas. There's nothing in the XIII Remake that gets me even mildly excited. Technically the game is completely in the soup where I wonder how this ever got through the QA. Little, or rather, nothing at all has been really remade in this XIII Remake. XIII should have stayed in 2003 better. Do you want to experience it again? Then wait for the Re-Remake.
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