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Unit 13

Unit 13 Review

When the Vita was revealed to have two analog sticks, many gamers’ minds immediately thought of the console’s potential for shooters. Sony’s first-party Unit 13 is one of the first titles out of the gate to take advantage of its hardware in this fashion, and it features a developer that’s well versed in the genre. After experimenting with the gigantic multiplayer shooter MAG two years ago, Zipper Interactive has boiled down the shooter experience for its first Vita title.

Vita needs some shooters to take advantage of its dual sticks, and Unit 13 controls admirably. I didn’t feel that any aspect of the hardware lacked when compared to console shooters, but I also didn’t feel the game offered much in the way of originality.

Multiplayer comprises a substantial part of Zipper’s back catalog, but Unit 13 is all about bite-sized missions instead of online deathmatches. Rather than following a narrative, the game is broken up in a manner that resembles mobile games like Angry Birds or Cut The Rope. The game features 45 stand-alone missions, and player performances are judged at the end of each with a star rating. Online leaderboards let you compare your scores against friends, so you can track who’s better at assassinating militia leaders, sneaking up on drug runners, or bombing enemy facilities.

Each mission falls into one of several categories. Direct Action features checkpoints and regenerating health, and you can engage the enemy head-on. Covert missions end as soon as an alarm is sounded; you can choose whether to ignore enemies or take them out before they can alert their buddies. Deadline gives you a time limit in which to complete your objectives, and this can be extended via various checkpoints. Elite missions give you a finite health bar as you take on difficult enemies, and health regeneration opportunities are rare. High Value Target levels, which are unlocked after collecting enough stars, task you with assassinating notorious criminals.
The variety of mission types is nice on paper, but they don't feel terribly different other than the Covert missions. Deadline may require you to run from point to point a little more, and Elite forces you to be more conscious of your health, but most missions boil down to the same "pop out of cover to shoot bad guys" gameplay. Covert may stand out from this formula, but the "get seen and the mission ends" rule quickly becomes frustrating. No matter which mission type you're playing, you're bound to run into rough A.I. enemies that stare at walls and run in random directions.

While deathmatches are nowhere to be seen in Unit 13, each mission is playable via online co-op. It's a nice feature, but it doesn't make the game's downsides any less significant. A.I. is still sorely lacking, and playing Covert missions with another player just doubles your chances of getting caught. Outside of co-op, players can also participate in daily challenges, which place you in a specific level with one shot at attaining a high leaderboard score.
Zipper has shooter mechanics down after years of making SOCOM games, but Unit 13’s missions lack personality and the guard A.I. is downright awful at times. If you’re dying to shoot some guys on your Vita, it may scratch that itch. Just don’t expect anything you haven’t seen ad nauseum.

User Reviews:

  • 8.00
    not bad i can't wait to this game out.
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  • 8.25
    When I first picked up my vita over a month ago, I instantly downloaded the demo for Unit 13. While I thought the demo was good, I was sure it would be way better when the full version released. Well, it wasn't. It played exactly like the demo which isn't bad, it just could've been better...
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  • 9.25
    Remember, we are reviewing this game from a handheld POV. This means that we will be on the go just wanting a solid gameplay experience, no crying over every lack of texture distribution or Battlefield like music. BF3 music didn't effect the games review score badly. If this game had a competitive...
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  • 7.50
    Unit 13 is a third person shooter for the Vita that is made by the developers of SOCOM (which I have not played). When the Vita was announced and they said about how the system is going to have to analog sticks I immediately thought "yes, there is finally a handheld system that can play shooter...
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  • Zipper has gone off the deep end; They screwed over MAG, (little to no advertising, patch 1.03, the freezing, the slow but steady influx of lag, the freezing again, random bullet spread was a gem, the party system, the explicitly promised but never arrived clan battle system, the too little too late...
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  • 7.00
    The demo freeze anyone elses Vita? Had to do a reboot to bring her back, then promptly deleted it. You were being nice by saying the graphics were bland, they're near PSP quality. AI is frustratingly bad and unrealistic. You can pump 6 bullets into then without a reaction. I do like the focus of...
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