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PlayStation Vita  header logo

Unit 13

For: PS Vita

Terrorists, your game is through

Product: Unit 13 | Developer: Zipper Interactive | Publisher: Sony Europe | Format: PS Vita | Genre: Shooter | Players: 1-2 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe
 
Unit 13 PS Vita, thumbnail 1
Unit 13's story is utter rubbish. You control a squad of six generic soldiers who use phrases like “stay frosty” or “silence is my speciality”, entering covert operation missions to kill a bunch of non-white extremists.

A dangerous country has fallen prey to the diabolical schemes of well-funded militants. Cue 45 missions of narratively unjustified killing to the tune of a dozen or so 'hilarious' quips from Butch McBuff (or whatever he's called) and the rest of his team of stereotypes.

You will never grow to like them, let alone empathise with them, such is the lack of character depth. Unit 13's plot is infantile bordering on offensive.

Dummy

Story beats aside, it's a tight military shooter with a portable-centric twist. Each stage is set within confined areas - geometrically dense playgrounds in which to stalk foes and engage in intense cover-based shoot-outs.

Drawing heavily on its work with the SOCOM franchise - though faster-paced and less sim-oriented - Zipper Interactive is keen to give you multiple options with which to complete most levels.

Taking your time, remaining stealthy, and lining up head shots with your silenced pistol is just as viable as going Rambo with grenades and machine guns.

Missions are broken up into different categories: Direct Action, Covert, Deadline, and Elite. Though Direct Action and the tougher Elite accommodate whichever approach works best for you, in Deadline you can't sit back and take cover - it's a race against the clock to clear areas as quickly as possible and reach the next checkpoint.

Covert type challenges also demand a specific form of play-you'll need to check the map layout and plan ahead, removing enemies one by one without setting off alarms.

Enemies are just the right side of dumb: predictable enough that you're not overly punished for making minor mistakes, but smart enough to investigate the source of gun fire and take tactical cover when you're spotted. Unit 13 balances making you feel like a powerful soldier with the fear of being overwhelmed in a small area, making each engagement important.

Since there's less world to render, the game's engine fires out quality visuals and audio with very little fuss. In the rare moments when the screen becomes very busy - especially when explosions get involved - the frame-rate dips, though it's a small price to pay to see your muzzle flare illuminating a nearby battered wall, while dust blows across the urban battlefield.

Audio design is top notch, too - you'll definitely want a pair of headphones in for the experience, as this will allow you to locate surveillance equipment by their beeps, and to pinpoint the direction of bullets as they whistle past.

Rather be ronery

Unfortunately this level of design excellence doesn't extend as far as the online gameplay. Finding games can be a pain, and the game doesn't do a good job of explaining how to set them up in the first place. Once you're in there's very little lag, but when a match is over you'll need to set up a new room again, wait for your friend to join, pick a character, and so on.

As with the single-player, the multiplayer is quite limited in scope. There's no competitive element - just two player co-op. You can only pick missions you already have access to in the offline portion of the game, and completing a level doesn't unlock more, essentially making for a multiplayer repeat of what you've already seen.

The constantly updating leaderboards and arcade-like structure will irk you if you're after a classic SOCOM experience, but Zipper has moved in an interesting new direction with its latest game.

Fans of The Club and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, take note: Unit 13 might not be able to tell a story, but it's the next decent bite-sized shooter of that ilk, and well worth a look.
 
Unit 13
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 6 March 2012
This isn't SOCOM Vita. The storytelling is abysmal and the online is underdeveloped, but Unit 13 still manages to be a solid military shooter with an arcade edge
 
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Joined:
Mar 2012
Post count:
1
mbover | 15:33 - 12 March 2012
Really like this game as you progress you normally have more than one mission you can try so dont get stuck and the daily challenges are a great addition too.
excellent game and i am really enjoying it.
Joined:
Mar 2012
Post count:
1
merf | 09:18 - 11 March 2012
I didn't buy a vita for full console games - thats exactly what I don't want, I want console quality graphics and physics but in small bite size games that can be fitted into a bit of spare time or on the go.

This sort of game is exactly what I want, not simply a ported tv console big game
Joined:
Sep 2010
Post count:
2
retr0rob | 14:42 - 10 March 2012
I really like the game. I probably would give it an 8 of 10. The story telling really is not bad as much as it is nonexistent. I like the bite sized play -- I can get a mission snuck in when I just have a few minutes to spare. I think devs should note that this is NOT what most people bought the Vita for. Folks bought the Vita to have a console experience in the palm of their hands. I like this specific game, but it is not the direction I would like to see all Vita games going.
Joined:
Mar 2012
Post count:
1
Xspidervenomx | 06:11 - 7 March 2012
Spent the whole game failing and starting over, never got past the beginning few levels. I kept failing and could. Outdo the timed missions at all therefore could not advance,, game over, returned my Vita. So frustrated with this shovelware .
 
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