Created by Zipper Interactive of SOCOM
fame, Unit 13 for the PS Vita is of a similar vein and is one of the
first shooters to grace this console. Given that, if you weren't a fan
of the SOCOM series, than Unit 13 probably won't fill your gaming
appetite and to make matters worse, the overall experience feels a
little clunky on the PS Vita. The story of Unit 13 has also taken a
backseat as you are a member of an elite group of soldiers who must
engage in a variety of tentatively linked missions, 45 to be precise in
either single-player or online co-op.
• Immersive and intuitive shooter controls
with dual analog sticks and front and rear touch pads.
• Select from six unique military operatives and take on 45 missions,
competing against friends and the world for high scores.
• Play solo or cooperatively with a friend over Wifi.
• Conquer unique daily challenges and compete for high scores.
• Stay connected with 3G, Wifi and NEAR for rankings updates, mission
unlocks and more.
Nonetheless, it's interesting to play a shooter on this console and I
must admit that using the two analog sticks to navigate and look is
actually quite flawless. Shooting with the shoulder buttons is just as
good, however the inclusion of the touch screen seems a little off.
Every now and then, you will need to interact with the screen such as
hacking into a lock or changing weapons. This does break the momentum of
the game and feels slightly forced. The single-player missions are
sturdy but the game definitely improved with online co-op but finding
someone to play can be a little difficult.
Gameplay is reminiscent of most standard third person shooters that
allows the player to interact with the environment and the enemies from
this perspective. The game does contain a cover system which initially
was a little fiddly to use but once I started playing, it did become
like second nature, including swapping between weapons and using the
touch screen. Using the two analog sticks was almost like using the
DualShock controller on the PS3, so things are definitely looking good
for this console in terms of controls.
The first level of the game is a tutorial
which teaches you the basic game mechanics of navigation, using weapons
and interacting with the environment. Thankfully it's quite a short
tutorial and once you are finished, you can then proceed with the 45
When you have selected a mission, you then need to select one
of six playable characters to control such as the Commando or
Engineer, each with their strengths and weaknesses. On this screen, you
can even kit out your characters with different weapons and items that
would best suit the mission, however the suggested items work just as
well. As you progress through the missions, you are awarded experience
points which can then be used for certain bonuses for your characters.
Characters can progress to level 10. The game also uses a score based
system as well which is then linked to an online leader board for
players to shine in their gaming prowess.
Combat in Unit 13 is fun and gives the player a
wide choice of how to dispose of them from stealth attacks to just going
in with guns blazing. However strategy is definitely needed, especially
when there are more than 2 enemies in a room. As you progress, missions
become considerably tougher and fortunately there are plenty of
checkpoints to restart. AI on the other hand is a little old school
because even if you're hiding and shoot a target, the enemy are
generally automatically informed of your position. Given that, the old
school gaming format is a little dated that does hamper the overall
gameplay of the title, especially that this game is only a collection of
Graphically, Unit 13 looks a little dated more particularly "jagged" on
the PS Vita and is not as sharp as some of the other titles currently
available. Animation for the most part is smooth but every now and then,
the console does struggle and loading times are not the best. Add in a
generic soundtrack and some decent voice acting and Unit 13 does come
together but the overall result is not fantastic. Sound effects like
guns and explosions do sound very impressive through the speaker system.
Unit 13 for the PS Vita is an interesting game that unfortunately
doesn't try to move out of the safe zone. Games like this have been
around for quite some time and if the developer’s fine tuned the
gameplay, graphics and more importantly, added a story, Unit 13 would
have been a far superior title. However with the absence of a story, it
does target the portable market as you can easily play a mission here
and there without being drawn into the story. It's a little dated but
it's a good attempt!