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Unit 13 Review

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Developer: Zipper Interactive Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: March 6, 2012 Available On: Vita

Zipper Interactive is best known for their work with the SOCOM franchise. They have been commissioned by Sony to develop a new IP specifically for the PlayStation Vita. Unit 13 is a third-person shooter based in the modern-day military world where elite specialists combat terrorists on the international stage.

Unfortunately, the story is not this game’s strong suit. Essentially you are playing thirty-six loosely disjointed missions with an additional nine unlockable High Value Target missions. To Zipper’s credit, these missions are definitely friendly to a portable audience. You can beat most of them in under five minutes – which is a good thing for pick-up-and-play gamers.

What’s not good is that there are a limited number of levels which get recycled throughout the game. It takes away the illusion that you are on a covert mission when you have to retread the same ground -only with a different starting point and objective. This makes it abundantly clear that Unit 13 was rushed without any consideration for a cohesive storyline or unique level design.

The missions that you encounter in Unit 13 are pretty standard fare in the genre. You have your assassinations, rescuing hostages, bombs to plant, industrial sabotage and intelligence to collect. We’ve seen it all before. None of these make any particular use of the PlayStation Vita’s strengths, either, like say Uncharted: Golden Abyss’ incorporation of the touch-screen for solving puzzles or gyroscope for precise aiming.

Unit 13 has two main types of play: stealth as well as run-and-gun. A few missions combine the two. Basically you will stealth kill with the knife or by shooting enemies in the head. This can actually be quite fun and gets me quite excited to think about a Metal Gear Solid game on PlayStation Vita. The more action-oriented levels depend heavily on using cover – which unfortunately will get in the way sometimes when enemies decide to rush you.

Levels end after you finish all missions and reach the ex-filtration point. The game then scores you in an arcade-style way based on your in-game score – which is derived from how you killed people and completing objectives – as well as bonuses for killing all enemies, time and accuracy. They convert your score into between one and five stars. These stars are needed to unlock the High Value Target missions.

Most of the missions are easy – the only reason for dying comes as a result of poor controls. An arrow constantly tells you which direction you need to go for the next mission. Enemies display on the radar, as well as things like ladders and cameras. You also need to be wary of land mines and laser tripwires. The game makes use of the touch-screen when you reload weapons by pressing the weapon icon. You can also throw grenades, flashbangs and C4 by pressing its icon on the bottom left corner of the screen.

Speaking about the game’s simplicity, enemies hardly react even when they see a comrade get killed. They will temporarily go into an alerted state where they scout around a little bit, but quickly go back to a normal state without thinking much of what had just happened. Other times they get overly aggressive even when they know you have a shotgun. Their behavior can be unpredictable, but not in a way that you would expect humans to react.

Unit 13 is a decent game that could have been so much more. It frustratingly lacks any semblance of a storyline – meaning that you are basically mindlessly killing. The level design allows you to choose how to approach a mission, but the levels themselves are repeated numerous times throughout the game. Things like the Daily Challenge offer up a small incentive to keep playing when you know that you will just retread old ground with slightly different missions. Do yourself a big favor and pass up Unit 13 for Uncharted: Golden Abyss.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 6.7 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review