Review: Unit 13 (PS Vita)

By Wayne Webb

Unit 13 is a third-person shooter designed exclusively for the PS Vita. The Vita’s predecessor the PSP was noticeably light on shooters so it’s good to see one early on for the Vita.

Zipper Interactive who brought us the previous handhold console shooter SOCOM, is back with an almost identical game in Unit 13. As a member of the special forces you are given short-term objective-based missions that you have specialised weapons and tools to complete. The look and feel of this game is close to SOCOM but with much improved graphics and controls. The missions themselves are varied and comprise timed, objectives and stealth-type missions in abundance. There are 36 missions on the game out of the box and they range from a quick couple of minutes to hours and hours of replay trying to figure out how to complete the missions.

You can use the “Near” function of the Vita to scan for local scores to beat, though it seems no one in my neighborhood is playing. The good thing about this is that because it is on the Vita you can literally take it anywhere and engage in some Special Forces black op type missions on the go. There certainly is appeal to killing Al-Qaidaesque terrorists on the bus ride home from the office.

However it’s not without its problems. The weapons seem tinny and occasionally ineffective with headshots and multiple wounds not dealing the damage you’d expect and then suddenly with one shot you are down and restarting the level. The AI and balance between it and you needs some work. Some missions I barely broke a sweat on and others seemed like I was a bullet magnet every time I took a step. Hard games are fine, but it’s hard to get used to one that is inconsistently easy then unbelievably hard in the very next level.

There’s no over-arching narrative so you can drop in and out of this game at will, but on the other hand there’s not much compulsion to complete the game or reach a stated goal. Another small issue is the use of the touch screen. In some levels you need to disarm mines or explosives with a simple touch of it on the screen. The problem is that you need to lift a hand off on of the sticks you are using to do so, which slows you down and interferes with the flow of the game. If that same control had been relegated to the rear touch screen it would have been both more fluid and more innovative in one go.

A competent shooter for the PS Vita and occasionally loads of fun, but overall to inconsistent and small problems detract from the fun that you should be having

Pros: Crisp graphics, some missions are fun, lightweight and easy to get into anytime anywhere.
Cons: Guns seem tinny, unreasonable difficulty changes, no storyline, touch screen interferes with gameplay

3 Shacks Out Of 5

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