Known for developing the SOCOM series, Zipper Interactive bring their third-person shooter expertise to the Vita with the release of Unit 13. Is it worth picking up or should be it avoided? Read on to find out.
Game: Unit 13
Developer: Zipper Interactive
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
If you’re looking for a deep and meaningful story, or any story at all for that matter, Unit 13 most certainly does not provide that. Instead, Zipper has decided to focus entirely on the third person shooter experience, giving you a number of varied solo and co-op based missions to tackle as you see fit.
Starting with the solo mode, you’re given 36 missions to complete, each with its own objective and theme. This approach helps to keep the gameplay fresh, as you’ll rarely find yourself doing the same type of mission twice in quick succession. One minute you’ll be going in all guns blazing, whereas the next you’ll be taking a more stealthy approach and carefully taking out enemies to complete your objective. If the standard missions aren’t enough of a challenge for you, you can choose to mix the gameplay up by going into dynamic mode. Doing this changes the objectives and enemies, keeping you on your toes and testing your skills to the limit.
None of the mission are particularly long, but this means you can dip in and out of them with ease. Rather than try to bring a full-on console experience to the Vita, Zipper has designed each mission with the handheld mind and it works to Unit 13’s benefit. You can easily complete a couple of missions on your train journey to work, or squeeze in some action during an ad break whilst watching TV.
You’ll want to do each mission well though, as when you finish up your score is posted on the game’s online leaderboard for all your friends to see. To rack up a decent score, you’ll need to take enemies out in “exciting” ways. Kill an enemy by simply shooting him in the chest and you’ll be told it’s “just a kill”. Sure, you’ll be awarded be points, but you’ll need to mix your kills up with headshots and grenade kills to end up with a good score once the mission has been completed. As if that wasn’t enough, at the end of a mission, you’re also awarded with a rating out of five stars. Collect enough of these stars and you’ll be able to unlock new weapons or upgrade your current one with attachments.
That’s not it for the solo content, as if you collect enough stars you’ll unlock High Value Target missions that task you with taking out an evil tyrant. These missions are tough to say the least, and you’ll need to call upon all your Unit 13 related skills to complete them. On top of that, you have the daily challenges, giving you only one shot at completing a mission. Knowing that you only have one chance to complete your objective, these missions bring with them a certain amount tension. You’ll find yourself carefully assessing your surroundings, making sure the enemy don’t have the chance to get the drop on you. Finally, there’s also an online co-op mode (online pass needed), allowing to tackle missions with friends or randoms across the globe. The solo missions are already very good, so the option to go online with another human is most welcome and a great deal of fun.
Thankfully, the content is backed up by some solid third-person shooting mechanics. Zipper’s knowledge of the genre shines through, meaning if you’ve played any of their previous titles, you’ll be right at home with Unit 13. The Vita’s dual analog sticks mean the experience is smooth, never giving you any trouble in taking down an enemy or two. Zipper has also utilised the system’s touch screen extremely well, allowing you to throw grenades, reload and aim down your weapon’s sight or scope with ease.
Also, whilst it doesn’t reach the levels of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Unit 13 is most certainly one of the better looking titles currently available on the Vita. Both character models and environments are well detailed, backed up by some impressive sound effects and background music. Voice acting could be better, mostly reverting to stereotypes and not really adding anything to the overall experience, but seeing as Unit 13 is extremely light on the narrative anyway, it’s not a huge negative.
Full of great content tailored for the Vita, Unit 13 is an exceptional handheld third-person shooter. Zipper has expertly crafted a title that delivers an enjoyable experience whether you’re playing for a couple of hours on your couch or a few minutes on the train, never once detracting from its excellent third-person mechanics. The lack of a real story might be a turn off for some, but if you’re a fan of the genre and own a Vita, Unit 13 is an essential purchase.