Game Review: Unit 13 (PS Vita)

Unit 13 is a third person shooter made by the same developer responsible for the highly successful SOCOM Navy Seals games on the Playstation 2, Zipper Interactive. It was the 1st third person shooter available for the PSVita.

Unit 13 is primarily a singleplayer 3rd person shooter that has you control one of a number of Unit 13 operatives as you take on a series of missions that vary in style, length and difficulty. Giving you different parameters to complete each mission adds more depth to the bog standard gunplay. Stealth missions need you to remain undetected throughout, while Timed missions need you to run and gun through as quickly as possible for the best score. Direct action missions leave you to decide your own path while Elite missions give you a life bar and no checkpoints. Completing missions is only part of the story, as at the end of each mission you are graded on your time, accuracy, stealth and other factors that all come together to give you a star rating out of 5.

The scoring system also ties into a levelling system which awards you new weapons, equipment and perks the higher your level. This does give more depth to your planning and tactics for each mission. Gathering enough stars also unlocks High Value Targets, which are available to take on when you have accumulated enough stars from the main campaign, and these missions have 1 specific Target for you to take out above all else. These missions are harder and require the use of all the skills that you have garnered during your campaign playthrough. The other way to unlock High Value Targets is… through NEAR! Yes that lovely app that came pre-installed on your Vita that no one quite knows what to do with, of course that could just be me! Through Near you are able to send ‘Intel’ out to people on your friends list or anyone in your local vicinity so that they can briefly play that mission without all the hassle of earning those lovely stars!

Controls are pleasingly normal for a third person shooter, with the Vita’s 2nd stick taking the limelight here and it shows. Anyone who may have tried to play Metal Gear Solid 3 on a 3DS without a circle pad pro will understand the huge importance of that 2nd stick. Touch is used sparingly to interact with the environment and to reload your weapons. I personally feel that the Vita’s other functions have been cruelly overlooked, but you cannot underestimate the importance of that 2nd stick!

Online Multiplayer is catered for with Co-operative missions and Daily Challenges. Co-operative missions are the missions that you complete in singleplayer but you can play through them with a friend, making the challenge easier and utilising different tactics to complete a map. The only downside to this is that as you cannot use a headset you cannot talk your tactics over and you cannot communicate with your teammate. However in order to try to keep you both together there are a series of checkpoints that need both players to be present before progressing further. Daily challenge is a randomly generated level with a random assortment of enemies thus giving you something different to tackle each time. Another good point about the daily challenge is that you are only able to take part in the challenge once per day, meaning that you get one crack at each challenge, so make it count!
There is no downloadable content as such, but for any of you 2nd hand purchasers out there, you will need to buy the online pass in order to play online co-operatively or take part in the online daily challenges.

I enjoyed Unit 13, especially the stealth and timed missions, which give you something else to concentrate on while your attempting your mission objectives. However after a while the same environments and the same mission objectives can get very repetitive. The scoring system and the varying length and difficulty of missions spice things up, as well as the Dynamic Mission option which is a very nice touch that makes you think about how you take on missions differently.

All in all Unit 13 is a very enjoyable and competent 3rd person shooter but it doesn’t seem to push the boat out in all departments, which is a shame. With a little more variety in environments, enemies, weaponry and mission objectives this could have been an essential purchase. I can easily recommend this to any 3rd person shooter fan, this game makes perfect use of the Vita’s 2nd stick to bring you a truly home based experience on the move while also giving you smaller mission arenas for bite sized gaming.

If you have a problem, and no one else can help, and if you can find them, Maybe you should buy Unit 13.

Ben Gove

At A Glance

  • Title: Unit 13
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
  • System: PS Vita
  • Format: PS Vita Card / PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: No
  • Online Multiplayer: Yes
  • Local Multiplayer: No
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 8Mb

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