The plot of the game centres on the main character, who has awakened with amnesia. XIII is unique in that the characters and weaponry are cel-shaded, giving a deliberately comic book style appearance, including onomatopoeic words contained in bubbles for sound effects similar to those in comic books.
The story begins at Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York City where XIII awakes, badly wounded and with no memory of his past. The game roughly follows the storyline of the first five volumes of the comic (the first fifteen issues), although there are several additions to the storyline, and changes were made to better adapt the story to game format. The game ends at the exact point where the comic's fifth volume ended, and as such, the complete story is unfinished, leaving room for a sequel. Sales performance for XIII has been lower than expected, despite its positive reception (Game Rankings: 74%). As such, a sequel is unlikely, and no announcements have been made.
"XIII": The story's protagonist, and the main playable character. It is originally believed that his name is Steve Rowland, but later in the game, it is revealed that he is in fact Rowland's rival Jason Fly. XIII wakes up on a beach in New York City with a mysterious tattoo of the Roman numeral for thirteen on his shoulder. XIII learns that he is being targeted by a hitman called The Mongoose and his army of mercenaries. He is also wanted by the FBI for the murder of the President of the United States, William Sheridan. Throughout the game, XIII struggles to uncover his true identity and a conspiracy plot involving a group known as The XX.
Jones: Jones is a soldier who works for General Carrington. She knows that XIII is not guilty of the President's murder and is willing to help clear his name. Jones is tough, courageous, and pretty good at handling The Mongoose's thugs. She is the inspiration for XIII, and helps him escape FBI clutches.
Carrington: An old war veteran, Ben Carrington is another one of XIII's few allies. He knows very valuable information about the President's death and is willing to help XIII. However, he was arrested and brought to a military station in the Appalachian mountains to be silenced by the conspiracy. XIII must infiltrate the base and free Carrington if he is to learn about his past.
The Mongoose: An infamous hitman hired by The XX to carry out assassinations and other evil deeds. The Mongoose is a cruel and cold-blooded murderer who carries out his orders with eagerness and glee. He commands an army of hitmen to do some of his dirty work. XIII encounters The Mongoose many times and must eventually face off against him near the game's end.
Walter Sheridan: The brother of the recently deceased president, William Sheridan. Walter promised that he would finish the work that his brother had started. Walter helps XIII try to stop The XX's scheme near the game's end. It is later implied in the game's cliffhanger ending that Sheridan is actually the head of the conspiracy.
Colonel Amos: A wise and old one-armed man. Colonel Amos is in charge of the investigation into the President's death. Amos believes that XIII is guilty and attempts to hunt him down and bring him to justice. XIII must prove his innocence to Amos in order to gain his trust.
Kim Rowland: The wife of the deceased Steve Rowland. Kim and her husband were both members of the conspiracy. Kim was Number XVII and Steve was Number XIII. But now that XIII has returned, despite claims that he was shot by The Mongoose, Kim believes that her husband is still alive and tries to explain to XIII the mystery surrounding his identity.
William Standwell: An American general with a fiery temper. Standwell was appointed Chief of Staff and had replaced General Carrington. Standwell has mysterious and shady ties to The XX.
Seymour MacCall: A gruff and old colonel who operates an army base in Mexico. He is Standwell's right hand man and always takes orders from him. He is also suspected of being involved with The XX. He is often referred to as 'pin-head' by the petty officers XIII encounters through the game.
|II||Calvin Wax||U.S. Secretary of Defense|
|III||William Standwell||Chief of Staff|
|IV||Phillip Gillepsie||U.S. Secretary of the Interior|
|V||Clayton Willard||U.S. Senator|
|VI||Irving Allenby||Judge, involved with the Sheridan affair|
|VII||Franklin Edelbright||Admiral, USS Patriot|
|IX||Jasper Winslow||CEO, Winslow Bank|
|X||Orville Midsummer||Proprietor, Press Groups|
|XI||Seymour Mac Call||Colonel, SPADS|
|XII||Lloyd Jannings||Advisor to the White House|
|XIII||Steve Rowland||Captain, SPADS|
|XIV||Harriet Traymere||CEO, Federal Steel Corporation|
|XV||Jack Dickinson||CEO, American Legion|
|XVI||Norman Ryder||Colonel, National Guard|
|XVII||Kim Rowland||Steve Rowland's widow|
|XVIII||Edwin Rauschanberg||CEO, CBN News|
|XIX||Elly Shepherd||Director General, Department of Defense|
|XX||Edward W. Johansson||Director/Doctor, Plain Rock Asylum|
The multiplayer over Xbox Live, PS2 Online, and System Link hosts a maximum of 8 players. The game features three standard game modes along with modes exclusive to each system:
Each game type has different maps with a maximum of 16 players.
XIII has an average of 74% (Xbox), 73% (GameCube and PlayStation 2), and 72% (PC) on review aggregator site Metacritic.