A Second Chance to Remake a Cult Classic
Back in 2020; the XIII remake attempted to modernize the cult classic and introduce it to a new generation. Unfortunately, it fell flat due to its odd graphics and scaling back on the comic book tone. That could have been the end of it but Microids believed this classic deserved a better remake.
The 2022 version is a more faithful remake of XIII regarding its visual design and comic book style. It restores so many of the games defining aspects with some alterations. While not a perfect remake, it at least fixed many of the issues. Overall; it’s a completely different game compared to what we played in 2020.
Who Assassinated President Sheridan?
To recap, XIII is a video game adaptation of the first five volumes of the Belgian graphic novel of the same name. I should also note that I’ve never read the comic or watched any of the other adaptations. Thus I’m judging it on its own merit.
The story begins with the player character waking up on a beach with no memory of his past. The only clue is a key to a bank depot box and a tattoo of the Roman numeral 13. Before having the chance to recover, he is ambushed by a squad of assassins. The stranger is able to take them out and escape. Following the clues, he arrives at the bank to learn more about his identity only to walk into a trap and an ambush.
The stranger escapes again only to be arrested by the FBI and taken to a secret location. He learns that his name is Steve Rowland and he is responsible for the assassination of President William Sheridan. The FBI office is attacked by the same hit squad but he is rescued by Major Jones. Rowland learns that he was part of a covert task force under the command of General Carrington. Their mission was to expose and take down a shadow group that was responsible for assassinating President Sheridan. They now must continue their investigation and thwart the sinister conspiracy.
Replaying the Conspiracy
The original XIII was iconic for its visual design aesthetics and the 2022 remake restores that tradition. While the graphics have again been updated, this time still it has all the hallmarks that make it feel like a comic book. Not just visually but all the effects and traits that are associated with comic books. Unlike the previous remake, it has not been scaled back or limited. Instead, it fully embraces all those traits and you will enjoy it.
The gameplay mechanics have been slightly altered so that it can be experienced like a contemporary first-person shooter. The combat is more refined and more fast-paced. Compared to the 2020 version, it actually feels like a more modern shooter. At the same time, it does keep some of the classic elements just so players could have a more retro experience.
The original game had a stellar cast and fans will be delighted to learn their performance has been reused. The 2022 remake also features the performances of David Duchovny as Steve Rowland, Eve as Major Jones, and the late Adam West as General Carrington. Overall; the performance still holds up even in 2022.
I Don’t Feel Like a Killer
First of all, don’t be fooled by the cutscene at the start. Yes, they updated the visual design to make it more like a comic book. But that treatment was not extended to the cutscenes. Which makes no sense since it doesn’t even mix well with the visual upgrades.
For everything else the 2022 remake of XIII did right, it failed to address other issues. Key among them are the outdated gameplay elements and janky control layout. If you played the original and the 2020 remake then you have an idea of what I mean. To its credit, the 2022 remake does a better job at alleviating them. While not as bad, these issues are still present and noticeable.
Welcome Back XIII
The 2020 game was less of a remake and more of a generic shooter that was trying to bank on one’s nostalgia. XIII 2022 remake actually feels like a respectful tribute to the cult classic. Nobody likes a botched game but it’s commendable when the team corrects their mistake and delivers a better experience.
The 2022 XIII remake is a second chance to give new life to a cult classic. Unlike the previous attempt, this version does right by its fans by honoring the cult classic. It also does a great job at introducing it to a new generation of gamers.
Disclaimer: Microids provided the game used for this review.
This review is the critique and thoughts of one writer. If you want to see how other critics felt then check it out on OpenCritic.