Unit 13 Review
My thoughts on Zipper Interactive’s Vita launch title, and their last ever game. I got this game with my Vita, and was really looking forward to playing it. I was intrigued what the game would bring to the table, as it is a completely new IP, and offers the obligatory shooter in the launch lineup. The first thing to say is that it doesn’t have a single, story led campaign mode. Instead, it is set out in separate missions, all of which are unrelated. This may put some people off, but as I have always found the storylines in Call Of Duty incoherent at best, this is a refreshing change. It also lends itself perfectly to the pick up and play nature of handheld gaming.
Developer Zipper Interactive are responsible for the largely excellent SOCOM games. In fact, two of my favourite titles on PSP were the Fireteam Bravo games. The usual shooter canon of earning XP is present here, with multipliers available for headshots, kills and completing objectives. There are six different classes of soldier, each with their own loadouts and bonuses, and each can be levelled up to a maximum level of ten. While the game does automatically recommend the soldier you should use, you can choose whichever one you want. In personal experience, it is sometimes beneficial to deviate from the game’s suggestion, and it is probably a good thing to find the soldier that is right for you, and stick with him for the majority of missions.
There are thirty six missions in the single player game, not all of which are available from the start. Instead, these unlock as you progress through the game. In addition to these missions, there is also a Daily Challenge, a different mission with global leaderboards. You can only complete these challenges once, so make sure you are good enough to get those multipliers up! There are also HVT, or High Value Target, missions, which are more difficult than the normal missions, and have no checkpoints. Die, and you have to start again. While this is frustrating at first, it really adds something to the game, and keeps you coming back for more. These HVT missions are unlocked via stars earned in the singleplayer, or via NEAR Game Goods.
Unit 13 does have faults, though. The AI for starters is questionable. On covert missions, if you go with the recommended operative, you are equipped with a silenced gun. Yet for some reason, sometimes when you take out a soldier on on floor, another one miles away is alerted to your presence, yet sometimes you can take out a guard with his mate stood next to him seemingly oblivious. And covert missions offer a non-lethal bonus, yet sometimes you have to take out a soldier, therefore reducing said bonus. For example, on one level, you have to infiltrate the warehouse. To do this, you have to get past two guards outside. Getting past the first one is easy, but the second one spends the whole time staring at the door you need to go through, giving you no option but to take him out!
While Unit 13 is not perfect, it is a good, solid shooter, and offers plenty of shooty goodness in the launch lineup. The sad thing is, with Zipper Interactive being closed down just a few weeks after the game came out, we will probably never see a sequel, and the potential DLC we could have seen will also never surface.