Sega may have pioneered the visually stunning cel-shaded graphics style in their 2000 Dreamcast game Jet Set Radio, but it didn’t take long for other games to copy the distinctive art style. One such game is the stunning looking XIII. Based on the comic of the same name, you must recover your lost memories, exonerate yourself from the presidents murder and investigate the shadowy XX organization, all while trying to stay alive and avoid capture. The games vivid graphics still look great on modern systems and this cult classic is well worth playing on your powerful modern PC.
By far the most difficult part of playing XIII on a modern PC is getting the game installed. The games original installer contains some kind of copy protection mechanism that makes it impossible to install normally on a modern PC. Installation will begin then simply stop on the second disc, asking you if you want to “Delete all configuration and saved games files”. Unfortunately the games copy protection makes it impossible for us to create a replacement installer. To install and play the game, you have three options:-
Option one is to use the “Task Manager” method, shown in this video, to fix the games installer. This is fiddly and did not work for us when using Windows 8.
Option two is to find an old Windows XP PC. This could be a virtual machine or an old desktop or laptop, as long as it has enough hard drive space for a full installation of the game (1.2GB). Install the game on this PC, make sure to do a full installation and take note of the installation directory. When installation is complete, browse to the games installation folder (C:\Program Files\Ubisoft\XIII by default) and copy the entire “XIII” program folder to a USB device or other suitable media.
Take your USB stick or other media and insert it into your modern PC. Download our XIII Simple Installer (link broken? Let me know here) and place it inside the XIII directory on your removable media. Now, run the Install-XIII.exe file from within that folder. The installer will copy the game to a folder of your choice, create the required shortcuts and also set the required registry keys.
Finally option three is to find a copy of the GoG.com version of the game which was pre-patched for modern operating systems. Unfortunately the game was removed from their catalogue last year, so obtaining a copy like this will be extremely difficult.
For best results on modern PCs you should install the unofficial 1.4 game patch available here. Simply download the patch and run it. The patch includes all of the official updates to the game as well as some important ones created by the fan community that help the game run smoothly on more modern hardware.
Widescreen play and tweaking visual quality
XIII was originally a 4:3 aspect ratio game, but it will run in widescreen pretty much perfectly. If you are interested in playing in widescreen, you should set this up before you start playing, as doing so will delete all of your saved games. It is NOT possible to start a game in 4:3 aspect and then switch to widescreen later.
To change the game into widescreen mode, there are two files you need to edit. See the tutorial here if you have never edited a configuration file before.
To get started, first browse to the save game folder within the games installation folder (e.g C:\Games\XIII\Save) and delete all the contents of the folder. Unfortunately, as stated above, this means you will lose all your save game data.
Now, browse to the System sub-folder in the games installation folder and open the file called “DefUser.ini”. Find the line that reads “DesiredFOV=85.000000” (without the quotation marks). Change this to read “DesiredFOV=100.000000” if you have a 16:9 display (e.g a 1080p or 720p TV) or “DesiredFOV=95.000000” if you have a 16:10 display (such as a WSXGA+ monitor that runs at 1680×1050 resolution).
Repeat the above procedure but this time find and replace “DefaultFOV=85.000000” with either “DefaultFOV=100.000000” or “DefaultFOV=95.000000” (again, do not copy the quotation marks).
Save the DefUser.ini file and close it. If you have difficulty saving the file, right click on it in Windows Explorer or File Explorer and choose “Properties”. Make sure that it is NOT set to read-only mode (under attributes at the bottom of the file properties window). If you still have problems, see the troubleshooting section under “Problems saving games or editing ini files”.
Now, open the xiii.ini file. It’s in the same System sub-folder as the DefUser.ini file. In this file, find the line “FullscreenViewportX=” and “FullscreenViewportY=”. Replace the values at the end of these lines as appropriate for your system. For instance, for 1080p use “FullscreenViewportX=1920” and “FullscreenViewportY=1080”. For 720p use “FullscreenViewportX=1280” and “FullscreenViewportY=720” (again, do not copy the quotation marks).
Save the xiii.ini file when you are done editing it. Now you have set these options, do not attempt to change the games screen resolution from the options menu within the game.
There’s just one more optional visual tweak you might want to do before you get stuck in. For a PC game, XIII doesn’t actually have many options to configure in-game. If you have a Nvidia or ATI graphics card however, you can use the software that comes with your card to apply antialiasing. This will make the edges of objects in the game look smoother. Configure your graphics card software to override the games default antialiasing settings, then choose the highest available antialiasing option. As long as you have a modern graphics card in your system this will significantly improve the graphics and should work without any noticeable impact on the games performance. Nvidia users can find the antialiasing settings by opening the Nvidia Control Panel and clicking on “Manage 3D Settings”. ATI users can find the settings in the Catalyst Control Center by clicking on “Gaming” and then “3D Application Settings”. Consult your graphics card manufacturers website if you need more information or help with this.
With the patch installed and all the options configured, you can now start the game. The remaining options available from the games main menu can be configured to taste.
XIII has several multiplayer modes, ranging from the usual deathmatch and capture the flag modes to the more unusual Saboteur game, where opposing teams take it in turns to plant bombs. The PC version of the game lacks the split-screen multiplayer that the console versions of the game had, but has full support for online and LAN matches. Of course, the games original servers have now closed down, but enthusiastic gamers can set up their own multiplayer servers or matches. There are several tools to help make multiplayer smoother and easier in XIII available here.
Problems saving games or editing ini files – Like many older games, XIII places its save game files and various configuration files in the same directory that it is installed to. This can cause problems on more modern versions of Windows as programs are not normally permitted to write to the program files directory. To avoid this problem, either install the game to an alternate location (e.g c:\Games\XIII) or manually edit the permissions on the games folder. A tutorial on how to do this can be found here.