Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
Buy On
  1. XIII may not 'revolutionise' the genre, but it certainly tips its hat to some revolutionary (FPS) elements, including the platformesque addition of the grapnel and...an obeisance to singing soldiers.
  2. A flawed masterpiece. A game brimming with variety and a freshness lacking from most of the factory farmed franchise exercises that pass through our offices with crushing regularity.
  3. It combines cell shading, a comic book look and feel, and a somewhat intriguing story line that will keep you wanting to play just so you can see what really happened to you.
  4. First and foremost, you're going to get your hands on some cracker-jack weaponry, both firearm and silent. Each weapon has a standard and secondary fire, which depending on the weapon is pretty cool.
  5. It's not too often a game comes around that breathes new life into a genre. But I think that's just what XIII has done. With a little creativity and determination, Ubisoft has succeeded in creating an interactive comic book.
  6. 80
    Has a great story-driven sheen, but at it's core, it's weighed down by some occasional bewildering flaws, in addition to the lackluster weapons and simple combat we usually see in lesser productions.
  7. 75
    A more general problem is that the gameplay doesn't do much new, or even contemporary for that matter. You do the general flip-switching and item collecting types of missions, and your firepower is very typical.
  8. While it definitely has a certain sense of style to it, the game itself misses its mark, and the total package isn't one that will hold the interest of most first-person shooter players.
  9. The game's aesthetic design choices are great, for the most part, but they can't entirely overcome the clunky control system and overly simplistic A.I.
  10. 100
    A truly dazzling, inspired game that mixes a riveting story with a stylish look and absorbing gameplay.
  11. And despite its groovy style, XIII isn’t much more than a run-of-the-mill game. Its presentation is definitely worthy of a look (particularly if you own an Xbox) but its gameplay is about as straightforward - and in some cases boring - as it gets for an FPS.
  12. Seeing the game from beginning to end reveals its true artistic merit: it never gets stale; every episode has been drawn with minute care and attention. It would have been an incredible achievement if the gameplay had matched the outstanding art direction. [Dec 2003, p.94]
  13. Xbox Nation Magazine
    You're forced to face off against eagle-eyed, sharp-shooting pricks who are so overpower[ing] that competing against them feels like crossing the piranha-filled Amazon River wearing a 40-pound mean suit. [Dec/Jan 2004, p.96]
  14. Your opponents are unbelievably excellent shots who almost never miss...A clear case of style over substance, XIII is pretty to look at but a bitch to play. [Dec 2003, p.100]
  15. games(TM)
    It's one of those mixed-bag situations - flashes of genius and genuinely enjoyable moments of success, occasionally mired by unbalanced weapon damage, clumsy AI and the odd bit of unfair level design that requires astounding feats of memory. [Dec 2003, p.98]
  16. Official Xbox Magazine
    An excellent game that earns bonus points for doing something new, but it ultimately falls just a splinter short of greatness. [Dec 2003, p.102]
  17. With a convoluted, twisting conspiracy-driven story, flashy graphics and exciting gameplay, XIII demands your money.
  18. While it’s not as highly innovative as it was meant to be, XIII on the Xbox is still an addictive action-noir first-person shooter with a lot of style.
  19. 82
    Fortunately for XIII, it doesn’t fail at all and it creates a very compelling game by adding new elements like cel-based shading and an off-beat soundtrack.
  20. We also love the fact that many of the in-world objects can be used as weapons (chairs, ashtrays, spades) and that you can take hostages, releasing them after a incapacitating squeeze to the throat.
  21. Thrill-seekers in search of a stylized 3-D shooter with a compelling story will find plenty of both in Ubi Soft's XIII.
  22. Once you look through the cel-shaded visuals, professional voice acting, and graphic novel presentation and effects, you are left with a pretty standard shooter that doesn’t really innovate or improve upon the genre.
  23. An extremely stylistic experiment with a well-tailored story and high production values that offers us a glimpse of what lies ahead in gaming, but overwhelmingly shows that we still have a long way to go.
  24. 75
    While I wish the multiplayer offered more, as it would no doubt extend the title's replay value, it's just not exciting enough given the current number of quality online action titles on the Xbox. The single-player experience is enjoyable, if not revolutionary.
  25. There's no denying that the game's presentation overall is pretty cool and that once you get past the game's minor design and gameplay issues it can be a lot of fun.
  26. A stylish game brought down by the ok graphics, run-of-the-mill FPS content, horrible aiming controls and my general lack of interest when playing the game.
  27. While XIII has style in spades, gameplay is nowhere near as groundbreaking. [Dec 2003, p.166]
  28. This is definitely a single player title first, multiplayer title second. Even in the former, it lacks the material to vault it into the stratosphere and turn XIII into a classic. Style and visuals can only do so much for a game.
  29. 68
    Flat textures are still flat textures, however they are dolled-up -but at least Ubisoft have attempted to make the whole experience an immersion in a politically-charged, adult-oriented, comic book world.
  30. You can't judge a comic book by its cover. XIII looks stylish but plays bland.
  31. If only the developers had spend half as much time fine-tuning the enemy A.I. as they did finessing the graphics, XIII would be incredible. [Dec 2003, p.196]
  32. It wasn’t until the bevy of stealth missions emerged that I started to lose interest in the game. The trial-and-error aspects really annoyed me and by the end, I was longing for some heavy combat, which only seemed to come in small doses.
  33. And with the engaging story, plus the graphic-novel presentation (boxes of action and text are constantly popping up on-screen), this truth is worth uncovering.
  34. 70
    A pulpy, good time. Just don't expect to come back after completion for any particularly inspired level design or captivating combat.
  35. 60
    The absurd amount of sneaking around at the end of the game becomes overly tedious and a poor replacement for more exciting gun battles.
  36. Entertainment Weekly
    The hero is voiced by former "X-Files" star David Duchovny whose deadpan delivery is mostly forgettable. [21 Nov 2003, p.L2T 46]
  37. I, like many others, get tired of the same old weapons and the same old shooting sequences with the only delta being changing environments.
  38. Play Magazine
    Most of the shots you'll take in XIII require a sniper's touch - expect to become dreadfully familiar with your crossbow. [Dec 2003, p.70]

Awards & Rankings

#71 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2003
#34 Most Shared Xbox Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. Aug 8, 2017
    Excellent game for its genre and style of play is very happy, so I did not expect that the game will multiplayer both local and Xbox Live. ButExcellent game for its genre and style of play is very happy, so I did not expect that the game will multiplayer both local and Xbox Live. But on Xbox it's not convenient management for consoles. Full Review »
  2. DanielD
    Jun 2, 2009
    One of my favorite games of all time, and I've owned a lot of good and bad games. The comic-book style headshots with the crossbow are One of my favorite games of all time, and I've owned a lot of good and bad games. The comic-book style headshots with the crossbow are just unbelieveable. Even if you've moved on to Xbox 360 like most people have, this is worth buying for cheap and getting into...awesome story line, unique graphics, and fun multiplayer as well. Easily a 10 out of 10 in my book. Full Review »
  3. EznorbY.
    Jun 20, 2007
    One of the most visually impressive titles I've ever seen, even now, 4 years after its release. The comic-book style is spectacularly One of the most visually impressive titles I've ever seen, even now, 4 years after its release. The comic-book style is spectacularly executed, and the storyline will keep you doing the sometimes-slow missions just so you can see the next cinematic. The gameplay offers nothing new to the FPS genre, but is solid and has nothing really wrong with it. Overall, an artistically brilliant title that suffers only from its mediocrity in the gameplay department. Full Review »