For every game you play, you know there are at least a dozen you have missed. Even the most hardcore gamer will let a couple slide, as the tighter you close that fist the more will slip through your fingers, and my time is generally spent eating, sleeping, bathing and writing. Although, you’d be surprised how often I skip about three of those. Recently I ventured into unknown territory; into the bargain bin.
My aim was simple, and my aim was pure; it was to capture the moments of gaming that had slipped me by. For every Kratos I have seen ascend, whose trials and tribulations have I missed? For every Squall I have seen victorious, whose misery have I neglected. For every demon I have seen fall…I guess you’ve gotten the idea by now.
So, what fiscally free from fear fantasies will I find in the financial fairyland of my local games emporium? XIII on the Xbox, costing a grand total of 99p, or just under $1.50 for you American readers, or roughly a quarter of a Koala for you Australians, okay, I’ll admit it, I guessed a little on the exchange rate.
For a game that is over five years old, this has held up surprisingly well. The graphics, whilst blotchy in some game play moments are staggeringly beautiful, creating a style unique and amazing. The way it blends comic panels into the game is handled so smoothly that it puts Ang Lee’s ‘Hulk’ to shame. As I mentioned, whilst in game the cel-shaded graphics have a tendency to become blotchy and not remain as sharp as you would hope, but when you see these graphics on the cut scenes between levels you just can’t help but be impressed.
It’s reasons like this why I love it when games are stylized; for instance Team Fortress 2 or more notably MadWorld, in five or ten years time when it comes to look at these games, we will still be impressed. However, when you look back at games that have tried to capture realism, the staggering advances in technology just make the games look as ridiculous as leg warmers and rolled up sleeves on jackets.
Not only does this game have great visuals, the audio is great as well, with a soundtrack worthy of any James Bond movie. At times, I was less than impressed with the voice acting, but the story is written well enough for me to look past that, creating an intense intrigue-riddled world full action and suspense.
As I previously mentioned, I played XIII on was on my Xbox 360; luckily it was compatible. I’m not sure how my playing of this reflects the original controls as they will have been slightly remapped for the different controller. The reason I mention this is that trawling through a review or four, I notice that the odd mention of clunky or un-intuitive controls was mentioned, specifically in the area of changing weapons/tools. I personally felt very comfortable with the controls, especially as the gameplay was very smooth and fast paced, if there were something jarring and wrong in there, I would have thought I would have noticed it.
Above all, this game is fun, and really, that’s what matters. A spy story, reminiscent of Bourne, with appealing visuals that I personally think everyone should check out. Like a fine wine this game has aged well, except you can’t really get fine wines for 99p. While you’re there, why not see what else they have on the shelves, there are plenty of games you might have missed, some you may not have ever heard of, so go on splash a few pounds, dollars, euros, yen, bunnies or whatever currency you use and pick up something new (well, old.)