Subject 13 (XB1) Review

Is it Me? – Or is it You?

When I think of Adventure games, I think modern Telltale – probably because those are the only adventure games I’ve played. Still, I’m aware that those are far from what the genre used to be. Subject 13, with its focus on deep puzzles and item combination, obviously strives to be more in line with those old PC games that I’ve only heard about.

At the start of the game, the protagonist, Franklin, wakes up in a Chamber after attempting to commit suicide in a river. A distorted voice chastises him for attempting suicide and says his name no longer has any meaning – he is now ‘Subject 13’. The voice asks Franklin to come see him, but to accomplish that, Franklin must navigate many puzzles and roadblocks along the way. He and the “voice” converse every now and then, but most of the story comes from Audio Logs that are hidden around the abandoned facility.

Platforms: PC, XB1, PS4
Price: $6.99
Price I’d Pay: I’d Skip it

When Franklin approaches an area of interest players can look at it from varying angles and take items to be put in the inventory. Many of the items need to have something done to them in order to be useful. Along the way there are ‘mini puzzles’ which are what one would imagine when they think of puzzles. For instance, getting a block to certain space with other blocks blocking it – stuff similar to that. Towards the end of the game, a lot of the puzzles come from combining items and translating symbols/pictures.

I enjoyed the game a lot more towards the beginning compared to the end. It was more focused, and therefor easier, which made me feel like I was keeping up. At the end I was pretty much stumped. I was entirely disinterested in attempting to translate ancient math symbols into numbers and to find what those numbers corresponded to.

On the whole, the game’s graphics look great, especially for a title of its size, but one area in particular lacked any semblance of polish. It involved a cutscene that looked so comically janky, it probably would have been more effective just to describe what happened, rather than showing it in that form. Navigating items and locations is well designed and so are the puzzles, even if I had a bad time trying to figure out some of the games hardest ones.

I feel confident in saying that Subject 13 is adequate and passable to those who enjoy the more open and complicated variety of adventure games, especially for the asking price. For me, the back half’s frustration far outweighed all the other things that it had going for it. Adventure games of this kind – of any production value – just don’t seem to be my thing.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Written by
Wyatt is a recent college graduate of Ohio University’s Journalism program. He’s an Xbox guy, but loves playing great PlayStation exclusives. Also, he has far too much nostalgia for the old Nintendo.