Hands On With Unit 13 - Unit 13 - PlayStation Vita - www.GameInformer.com
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Unit 13

Hands On With Unit 13

Shooter fans sick of lackluster options on handheld devices heaved a huge sigh of relief when Sony announced the Vita would ship with two analog sticks. For far too long, developers were forced to come up with clever workarounds for importing shooters to mobile platforms. Some titles (like Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror and SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo) found a way to impersonate shooter controls, but achieving functionality is a far cry from the silky smooth controls proper analog sticks offer. Unit 13 is one of the first Vita titles to take advantage of the long awated functionality.

This third-person shooter made by Zipper Interactive (SOCOM, MAG) stresses tactics over running and gunning. The collection of 36 stand-alone missions centers on a conflict with African warlords, but Zipper chose not to invest much time in the narrative because when you're playing on the go, getting in and out of your experience is sometimes more important than spending your limited time watching cutscenes. As such, the missions sort of work like mini narratives of their own. These tasks typically last between 5 to 25 minutes, and when you complete one you unlock both the mission next to and below it on the mission select screen.

Players encounter four mission types in Unit 13: Direct Action (your standard running and gunning assignment), Covert (stealth-focused recon missions), Deadline (timed missions that force you to move quickly from checkpoint to checkpoint), and Elite (tougher missions that do away with health regeneration and checkpoints). Before starting the mission, players can choose between six operatives to use, each of whom has a different skill set and arsenal. Given their differences in play styles, each operative gains experience differently as well. The infiltrator, for instance, may gain more points by completing stealth takedowns, while the marksman racks up more points for successful headshots.

Anyone who has played a SOCOM game will be right at home in Unit 13. Players move and shoot much like you would expect them to for a modern shooter, but Zipper is also leveraging the unique Vita features to give you even more options on the battlefield. While zooming in on enemies, you can tap the touchscreen to switch between a zoom and a scope view or swipe the back panel to adjust which shoulder you are looking over. Players can also reload weapons, toss grenades, and complete objectives gathering intelligence by hitting the appropriate button on the touchscreen.

Much like the underrated Bizarre Creations shooter The Club, you earn points for each action you complete during the mission, and your final score is compared against your friends and other players via online leaderboards. Taking a cue from the popular Autolog feature found in Need For Speed, Unit 13 promotes competition between friends by broadcasting notifications when someone has beat your high score or unlocked a new weapon. 

Once you complete a mission, your point total also operates like experience for the soldier you chose to use. Ten ranks exist for each character class, and ranking up gives you access to new weapons, scopes, attachments, and grenades in the armory.

You also earn a number of stars for each completed mission based on your performance. Once you earn a specified number of stars you unlock a new target to take down in the High Value Target mode. These fights essentially operate like boss battles. To encourage friends to compete with each other for the high score in these more difficult missions, once you unlock a high value target your friends will have access to the fight as well for a limited time.

If you've started to memorize the missions and are looking for a new experience, you can select the dynamic mode option on the mission start screen to randomize enemy and objective locations. Zipper hopes to keep things fresh with a new Daily Challenge every 24 hours. These standalone missions can only be played once, so you better keep your ears open and sight trained on the enemies if you want to avoid an embarrassing rank on the leaderboard.

For those who prefer to play with friends, all 36 missions are playable with another person via the online co-op mode as long as you are using a Wi-Fi connection. Unit 13 has no competitive multiplayer.

Future Vita owners interested in this easy to pick up and play shooter will find it in stores on March 6.

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  • It doesn't look so good.
  • The features listed here make for a great, replayable title. I can see a lot of benefit to the gameplay mechanics in terms of longevity. Not to mention how nice this game looks.

    A definite buy for my long awaited Vita. Above all games for the Vita, this game seems to be the most indepth title. Main question though: is the camera always so close to the character?
  • Questionable about the whole point but I would have liked for a CO-OP way to the game optionally. Apart from that the game is great and really showcases the power of the Vita.

  • Looks good to me!  Probably will pick it up.  Great Idea for short missions on a hand held.

    Leaderboards don't really impress me, they just show how much I suck!

  • Wow, looks like an early gen PS3 game. Graphically, I'm impressed. However, I am worried about the variety. Everything I have seen for this game seems like it is the same 2 areas repeated over and over again. Every single pic I look at looks the same, level design and art design wise.

    I am worried that they don't have a true single player campaign, and are just throwing together a bunch of terrorist hunt missions and calling it a game. I have a feeling this whole thing can probably be beaten in just a few hours. It seems to me like Sony persuaded them to throw something together, and this was the cheapest and easiest shooter they could think to make.

    I am reading deep into this with little information, I know, but I got a good eye for these things and if there is one thing I hate it's light shooters with no real single player campaign pretending to be a real shooter. Unit 13 looks like that kind of game. And, if their last Socom was any indication, these guys and gals don't have the same magical touch they used to have. The single player campaign for the last Socom game was pretty terrible.

    You may say "But Socom was never made for the single player!!". To that I say, well then why did they go around touting it as a real single player campaign that they worked hard on? You can tell it wasn't just thrown together, it had production values. It just looked, controlled, and played like poop.
  • Someone please tell me how i can convince a hardcore x-box fanboy the vita is better than the 3DS for gamers not just wanting a platformer, mario kart, or ocorina of time.
  • Why don't they fix Socom 4 first?
  • lookin' good

  • the VITAs getting sexier and sexier. Even the names starting to sound like some hot latin chick.

  • Looks Cool Want To See More Though.

  • This is exactly what the PSV needs. Sure graphically it's kind of lacking and starting to show those XBOX1 level graphics. One thing that sticks out is that this is the first handheld that has console level features like active notifications in game like Xbox360, and a huge online emphasis that we have yet to see in a handheld iteration.

  • look at the second photo in the gallery, pay attention to the terrorist's shadow casted on the door. You'll see the true enemy; the shadow blocks.
  • I remember when Zipper made good games, you know, back when Socom 2 released.

  • My favorite quote of this article: "...Zipper chose not to invest much time in the narrative because when you're playing on the go, getting in and out of your experience is sometimes more important than spending your limited time watching cutscenes."

    ^ More handheld developers need to think like this. If the gameplay wasn't already compelling enough, the Daily Challenge will make this a game that you keep playing long after you've beaten the story. This is a must-buy for me.

  • The graphics look pretty good. Definitely not used to seeing that on a handheld system. It also sounds fun.

  • 1. Zipper sucks

    2. They ruined MAG

    3. They screwed SOCOM 4 beyond belief

    4. They want me to buy a crappy handheld with no multiplayer or story line?

    NO WAY



  • Lots of windows breaking