Unit 13 Review
Game: Unit 13
Developer: Zipper Interactive
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Available on: PlayStation Vita Only
Since 2002, Zipper Interactive have been bringing us the SOCOM series of games with varying degrees of success, MAG we’re looking at you! However, aside from Uncharted: Golden Abyss, the PS Vita hasn’t really had a proper shooter released for it, and who better than Zipper to be the guys to do it?
STORY: There’s not a huge amount of backstory to the events of Unit 13, aside from a short tutorial introducing you to the squad. The basic premise is that you are part of an elite squad of soldiers, all with varying skill-sets, that are tasked with taking out the bad guys. There’s no story mode as such but Unit 13 does do a good job of making the squad feel important, with all the different skills that each member has.
GRAPHICS: Despite the PS Vita being in its infancy as a console, there has already been a high standard set in terms of visuals. Unit 13 meets that bar quite easily. Whether you are sneaking around trying to silently kill the bad guys or going in all guns blazing with a shotgun, it looks vibrant yet gritty.
SOUND: As is the norm for a game involving dramatic gunfights and battles, a reasonably sweeping soundtrack is present, adding to the occasions. More importantly perhaps, despite being on a handheld console, Unit 13 also delivers when it comes to gunfire. The voice acting isn’t too bad either, with each mission having a female narration before you start it, letting you know who the bad guys are or what needs doing.
GAMEPLAY: Unit 13 is a blast to play, for a number of reasons. As mentioned, there’s no story mode in a traditional sense, instead the bulk of the early play time will be spent attacking the multiple missions on offer. While you can use whichever character type you want, Commando, Technician, Pointman, Gunner as well as a few more, you will be offered a recommended squad member to use, given a task to complete – be it stealth killing someone, rescuing someone, you get the picture – and sent out to do it. Using each squad member is wise, because they level up, unlocking new items to add to the guns, or even new weapons entirely.
But why is that so good? Put simply, in a similar manner to Motorstorm RC, everything is logged to a leaderboard, and you can try and beat your friend’s times. You’ll be awarded more points for being stealthy, or for killing every enemy. With a simple touch of the screen you can enable “Dynamic” mode, which takes those missions and makes the enemies and objectives random. It’s terribly addictive, but it gets better.
On top of that mode there are unique events created by Zipper for you to take on, and you get one attempt at doing so. The tension created by knowing this is your only shot at the mission, before it is gone forever, is marvellous. There’s still more on offer! As you finish missions you will receive a star rating, and as you collect more stars you unlock “High Value Targets” which are yet more missions with a sole objective: Rid the world of an evil tyrant. Some of these are even discovered via the use of Near functionality.
Ultimately though, it’s the fact that it plays well that is the most endearing feature of Unit 13. All of the features would mean nothing if it didn’t feel right and as you’d expect, Zipper have nailed the mechanics as per usual. Simple touch screen controls like reloading or throwing a grenade work superbly, though you’ll probably throw a grenade accidentally more than once, and the gunplay itself is superb. Headshots can be achieved easily and each weapon has a distinct feeling, making for a game that has a lot of different feelings to it. Thankfully, every one of them feels great. Whether you’re emulating Snake from Metal Gear Solid or going balls to the wall, you are catered for.
LONGEVITY: With 36 missions in the Solo Missions mode, 10 High Value targets, online co-operative play and the dynamic mission mode, there’s a ridiculous amount of content within Unit 13. It’s a game that you’ll go back to time and time again, always finding a way to achieve a better score.
VERDICT: Chock full of things to do with great visuals and a cracking soundtrack, Unit 13 is a superb shooter, there is no need for any kind of caveat in terms of the platform that it is available on. If you’ve been looking for a Third Person Shooter to satiate your needs then you need look no further. Zipper Interactive have done it again, Unit 13 is recruiting and they need you!