XIII (2020)

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This article is about the the 2020 remake of XIII. You may be looking for the the original version with the same name, made in 2003.
XIII (2020)
XIII 2020 cover.png
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Let's take the example of XIII and forget about the memories of this remake.
Protagonist(s): Number XIII/Jason Fly
Genre(s): First-Person Shooter
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
Playstation 4
Xbox One
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 5
Xbox Series X/S
Release: Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
November 10, 2020
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 5
Xbox Series X/S
September 13, 2022
Engine: Unity
Developer(s): PlayMagic
Tower Five (2022 Update)
Publisher(s): Microids
Country: Malta
Series: 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 later released for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S in 2022. It is a remake of a 2003 video game of the same name. Since September 13, 2022 it received a major update by Tower Five which tries to fix all the issues the game had at release.


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]


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

XVI Reasons Why This Remake Sucks

Note: Some of the flaws are mostly about the pre-2022 update, even though some of them still remain unfixed.

  1. Right out of the gate, this remake is not faithful to the original 2003 game at all.
    • If you are familiar with the original game, you should remember that the game starts with the use of comic strips-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, the cutscenes look so bad that they seem to be ripped off from a bootleg Android game or that they were made by an amateur animator in Source Filmmaker.
    • The graphics, in particular, are downgraded from the original, and look 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 is the character models that look absolutely terrible and look more like they came from Fortnite.
      • Some of the visual effects of the original game are completely gone in this remake. First off, when an explosion went off near you, the whole screen would shake and reveal the comic book panel outline, 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, these also appear whenever you headshot kill somebody 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, and the snow levels in the remake look duller because of it.
    • This remake adds an unnecessary weapon limit that ends up being annoying, as every modern generic FPS game has. The original game didn't have this mechanic, because you were able to pick all of the weapons you could, something that was useful in later levels if you wanted to go stealth in a part and then go loud in the next part. Here you can only pick one weapon of each type, and this is way too inconvenient if you take into account the previous point, because certain levels require certain weapons to get past them, like the forced loud parts. If you don't have adequate weapons for a specific part, you will experience a lot of trouble.
    • The original game had a death animation when the player dies, he falls down and the screen turns red when failing a mission objective a message appears on why you failed it, and after a few seconds the screen freezes until the menu for retrying appears, the remake removed all of those, meaning that the game over screen for dying or failing an objective just appears abruptly
    • Weapons also do not carry over between levels. While this is justified according to the story in the original as you have to lose weapons at one point, every level in the remake starts you with a preset loadout.
    • There's also no scuba diver enemies in the submarine level in the remake, essentially making the harpoon gun worthless.
  2. An abysmal amount of bugs and glitches:
    • The physics are entirely bugged, most of the time 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 to 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.
    • There's this glitch at the near-final level where you have to carry Mr. President, but upon reaching the destination and trying to put his body down, it somehow duplicates the model in a broken way.
    • In some cases the missions won't load properly, preventing you from progressing 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 completely different level without any context about what happened, which causes confusion.
    • If all above wasn't enough, some users reported that after downloading the game, their copies of the 2003 version stopped working correctly or glitched for no apparent reason.
  3. The audio in this 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 ambiance sounds seem to be absent, and because of this, most of the levels will be filled with an awkward dead silence, especially in the flashback scenes where the ambiance sound effects made them look intriguing, and now that the game took them away, the flashbacks will just look boring and uninspiring. The music and the voice acting are also affected, most of the time, they will sound with a lot of stuttering and sometimes the music won't play in some specific parts where 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.
    • Speaking of which, the flashback sequences are completely downgraded in this remake, The transition in the original has a white flash whenever a flashback is about to be triggered, and the flashbacks look believable as some not only have the white filter but also sometimes blue filter, this is all gone in the remake as the transition can be abruptly and the black and white filter looks completely dull, there are also some flashback sequences that are in full color which ruins the immersion of having an actual flashback.
  4. There is also little attention to detail that is missing in this version:
    • In the original version when approaching a camera computer you could see what was going on and know more about the enemies patrolling, this feature is removed in the remake.
    • Some of the environments used to be interactable in the original such as opening or closing closets, desks, computers, punching a punching bag to let out sand, and more, once again it is all removed in the remake.
  5. The animations are poorly done in most 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 as if the game tried too hard to look fancy with its animations, something that doesn't fit well with the gameplay.
  6. Braindead and broken A.I. 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 A.I behavior and the game-breaking mechanics, the XIII and Hard difficulty are a complete joke and you can make a flawless playthrough, even if you're not used to FPS games.
  7. 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, you can even snipe enemies from afar with a single pistol, removing the challenge of using the adequate weapon for long-range combats and saving the ammunition for these situations.
    • The ability to sprint in a game that was originally meant to be played at a slower pace breaks the flow of the combat. You can run around everyone in the game, get easy headshots, and take barely any damage because the aiming is even worse when you're sprinting.
  8. 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.
  9. The optimization is terrible and inconsistent, Even if you run the game on a powerful PC, there are times when 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.
  10. The gunplay feels really weak, mostly because the weapon sounds are way weaker than their original ones. Also, most of the weapons don't even have a considerable amount of recoil, only the shotgun does, and this one is way too exaggerated.
  11. Plagiarism: This game's front cover art is traced blatantly from artwork of Sam Fisher in Splinter Cell: Conviction.
  12. 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 hit markers appear, the enemy will just refuse to die and this can waste more than two of your magazines.
  13. The game doesn't have the option to change the field of view, something unacceptable by today's standards.
  14. The PC version uses mouse acceleration for the aiming and it doesn't even have a menu to change the ADS controls; this mechanic shouldn't even be present in new generation games.
  15. The multiplayer mode is poorly designed. There are only a couple of game modes (Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch), three maps, and is entirely local, there are no dedicated servers, no bots support, and no hunt game mode, which was the most known game mode of the classic game. 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.
    • It also lacks certain game modes from the original game such as The Hunt, which was a mode exclusive to the PlayStation 2 version of the original game.
  16. 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 who claim that their controllers didn't work while playing the game or only worked in the menus.

VIII 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. The voice acting and music are still decent like the original, despite the broken audio mixing.
  4. 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 dizzy state, where you can do extra damage.
  5. At least the remake did add some nice additions such as:
    • Wildlife was added to the Rocky Mountain stage, making the game feel less empty.
    • XIII's hand model is fully visible with different clothes depending on certain missions, instead of having naked hands like in the original.
    • Unlike the original game, here the shotgun can kill enemies in one shot most of the time.
    • The new idle animations for the weapons and melee animations are pretty decent.
    • The ability to sprint and aim down sights like in most modern shooters.
    • There's also a weapon wheel that players can select weapons with ease rather than toggle through weapons manually.
  6. At least the game's failure inspired the gamers to buy and play the original game instead, which is incredibly underrated and sold poorly in its time.
  7. It's one of the few games nowadays, especially First-Person Shooters, that allows for up to 4 player split-screen.
  8. As of September 13, 2022, the game received a major update that fixes bugs, optimization issues, and "reworked" art style, although it's not by much as it's still inferior to the original version, it also has improved gun sounds, removed weapon limit and better A.I.


XIII was negatively received by players and the 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 34/100, 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% critic recommendation, based on 18 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 it one of the worst games of all time.[9]

It's worth mentioning that a great number of 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.


On Steam, it currently has mostly negative reviews with only 9% positive reviews, making it one of the lowest-rated Steam games ever released, sub-par with FlatOut 3 and Airport Simulator 2014.

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 at the point that the game didn't even meet the quality standards of the publisher.[10]




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