Originally released in 2003, XIII was a great shooter that, largely thanks to a cel-shaded aesthetic based on a French comic, became a cult classic. In 2019 Microids announced a welcome remake of the game, but then it arrived and… oh. Oh dear.
Among the remake's crimes was an update to the visual style that frankly missed the point. It moved a game that was beloved for its cartoony, colourful style towards something more like Zuckerberg's terrible metaverse. I mean look at this: just look at it.
The remake was so bad, and reception was so negative, that Microids and developer PlayMagic made an official apology.
The remake was so bad, in fact, that in June this year Microids announced a remake of the remake, with a new studio (Tower Five) behind it. And now this re-remake has arrived, replacing the original remake on Steam and appearing as a free download for all existing owners of the game.
For some reason Microids' YouTube channel only hosts the Switch trailer, which is what I've stuck above, but from the first seconds this looks like it always should have looked. Which is to say, just like the original game but in HD. The trailer gives you a glimpse of many of the game's locations, and the brighter palette is a world away from the washed-out look of the first remake.
It's not just about the visuals, either. The original remake had plenty of bugs and poor performance issues, as well as an audio mix that didn't live up to the original, and I feel kinda bad having dunked on it so much by this point. Credit where credit is due. Something clearly went wrong with this project, and Microids didn't abandon it but decided to try and do it right.
The XIII remake currently has overwhelmingly negative reviews on Steam. We'll have to see if this substantial re-working can change its fortunes but, just on sight alone, it looks so much closer to what fans of the original always wanted from this project.