is a first-person shooter with a difference. You wake up on a desolate strip of New England beach. The near-fatal impact of a bullet has left your head pounding and your memory erased. What's more, the number "XIII" has been mysteriously tattooed on your chest, while your pocket holds a key to a New York City bank box. Head swimming in amnesia, you struggle to your feet only to encounter more assailants intent on finishing the job. To your shock, you handle the hitmen with the killing skills of a professional--before heading to the bank in search of any shred of information about your lost identity and your involvement in the President's assassination. What lies ahead is a deadly quest not only into your shadowy past, but America's darkest corridors of power.
Graphic novel presentation, flashback graphics and pop-up windows create a groundbreaking entry into the genre.
marshals the power of Unreal II technology and unique comic book visual styles.
Experience a wide variety of gameplay--cunning use of human shields, silent weapons and
internal "sixth sense" that detects approaching enemies. To survive, you'll master techniques ranging from covert infiltration to heavy combat as you battle sinister conspiratorial forces. You can also square off against other players in innovative multi-player modes such as the cooperative Cover Me, along with classic modes such as Capture the Flag and Deathmatch.
As stylish a game as you'll see,
is a virtual testament to why you
have both style and substance under the same roof. Adopting a comic-book style throughout, from the wonderfully compiled cut-scenes through to the cel-shaded in-game graphics, it follows the adventures of agent
, finding him initially stranded on a beach with no memory of what went before. As the game progresses, he keeps getting flashbacks to help fill in some of the blanks, no doubt part-inspired by the number of people interested in killing him.
The gameplay itself takes the form of a first-person action-adventure, and a thumping good one at that. There's nothing particularly original about mixing in action, puzzle solving, exploration and stealth, but rarely has it all hung together as well as it does here. Put simply,
is a delight to play, with well-thought-through levels, generally fine enemy AI and, when the tempo is racked up, plenty of guns a-blazing and a healthy dose of tension to boot.
On the visual side, we've seen cel-shading as graphical style in games before, more often than that leading to some bland visuals once the novelty has worn off. Not so here. The level of thought and care that has gone into the look and feel of
is there for all to see, and for it to be married up to such a compulsively addictive game is just the icing on a really rather delicious cake.
Should you buy it? Most certainly, you should. If you don't, then the next time you lament the lack of care and adventure in your collection of games, then you really will have brought it all upon yourself. --
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