XIII – Classic is a first person shooter from 2003 which is loosely based upon the comic books of the same name (explicitly volumes 1-5) in which you partake in various missions such as infiltrating military bases and escaping a bank; whilst you are being hunted down by the FBI, CIA and a conspiracy group that aspires to take over the USA.
Whilst the premise of this game seems pretty cool for a spy type thriller I feel that as a game it isn’t as interesting to what it could have been potentially. I feel that whilst the game does a good job of providing a good amount of combat that works well I feel that some of the levels are lacking and work in a bizarre way. Taking the stealth levels as a perfect example I was on a mission that involved sneaking through a military base and up until 1 section where stealth was necessary I was picking off guards 1 by 1 using my m16 to take the last guard out in each area which for no reason alerted no one however the moment I’m in the vicinity of a tent I’m to plant a bug in I cannot use my m16. After actually planting the bug and listening into a meeting inside the tent I managed to sneak out of the tent; where there was 1 soldier walking around and 2 standing guard outside the tent entrance which the 2 guards outside the tent could see. I picked off the walking guard which had no effect to the guards visibly watching somebody being picked off, I then managed to pick the guard closet to me to the obliviousness of the other guard before taking the last guard out; I was also quite surprised that the game would have allowed me to do this without the alarms being raised, I was also playing on the hardest difficulty too. I do also like the plethora of comic book style effects that play out in the cutscenes and in specific moments that occur during gameplay such as visual onomatapeia firing a weapon or when someone yells, there is also cinematic cues such as the speech bubbles when a character is talking or when a character falls and you get a box that then shows you the character falling from wherever they where until the land on the ground.
The multiplayer in this game is lacking as there is no customisation whatsoever so you cannot decide what weapons you will use in each match and the mode/map will dictate that for you. I also don’t like how you cannot customize the characters so you are given a few random selected avatars, I would have liked it so you could pick the names of the ai and the characters(some of the ai names are silly as seen above) that they were using for each ai character and one you wanted for yourself as you cannot change your in game avatar and your name is roger(for whatever reason), there is also the same avatars on all levels with no distinguishing as I would have liked it if you had no preferential characters to use the characters from the level as it seems odd for a guy dressed as if he is on holiday to be running around a asylum/military base when there was medical staff/soldiers that could have been used in the respective maps.
The gameplay for the multiplayer is ample and it works like in any other game of the time even though a lot of the maps are empty mazes which I feel work well but it some maps visually speaking are bland and dull such as the asylum as it is a largely grey map with little to no hiding places. But there is over a dozen maps to play on so there is some variety but nothing really that I was impressed by. When it comes to modes there are 6 different modes to play against bots (as online play doesn’t exist for this game and there is no local split screen). Out of the 6 modes 4 of them are your standard modes that you get in other FPS games (deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag and sabotage) the other 2 modes on offer are deathmatch mode with a few slight differences. the first mode I will discuss is the hunt in which it is essentially deathmatch with 2 differences, primarily there is a grim reaper character that is running around the map and if he manages to touch you as a result die and lose points; but when I was playing it the ai opponents weren’t trying to hunt/avoid the grim reaper they were shooting each other the last difference is that there is restrictions of what weapon you have as there is only 3 you get to use these being a pistol,grenades and a hunting shotgun. The last mode is called power up is near enough the same as deathmatch however the only difference between the 2 modes is that there is boxes that are scattered around the map that contain a random item such as a gun, armour or health, however there is also a chance in which you lose health or points. Also one last thing I did notice in multiplayer is that you never ever run out of ammo as whenever you fire the pistol you are magically given ammo for it after each shot has been fired I feel that it is weird that it happens but at the same time it at least makes the game more gentle to those inexperienced in the game.
Overall I cannot particularly recommend this game to most people as the single player to this game is as short as it is fun to play on although it has no real replay value. Sadly the multiplayer to this game is basic, has little customization options and feels like a last minute afterthought. Frankly the only time I would even entertain buying this game is if it is on sale and you want a cheap and cheerful shooter to pass the time on a rainy day.