Unit 13 User Review
There is a backstory to each of the 36 missions but its only there for effect. There are four mission types, Direct Action, Deadline, Covert, and Elite. All the missions are fun and it’s nice to mix it up bit. However, the way the levels are set up, and this is especially apparent on Elite and Covert, the game favors a sneaky approach. As soon as you are spotted by a guard, or you make a sound, everyone else is alerted to your presence, and come running guns blazing. This is fine, and more realistic, but it kind of defeats the purpose of having different mission types, which is why I miss the inclusion of a story mode. If this game had a story mode and was called ‘Syphon Filter’, it would feel right at home. Deadline is especially difficult with this set up, because you have to be quick and run and gun is just not the way to play this game. You have six operatives to choose from, that all have different stats and specialties, but the one operative that is a good all-around player (he isn’t hard to spot), is who you should stick with. Once you unlock the silencer, you are good to go.
The gameplay itself is based on the point system, not unlike ‘The Club’. Every action you do, you get points. Every enemy you kill and every headshot you get, your multiplier will increase, building up your points. Basically, the gameplay favors stealth, but the point system favor run and gun. It’s a little backward if you ask me. You also get bonus points for meeting certain conditions such as completing a certain section without getting shot, or knifing a bunch of enemies in a row. At the end of every mission, your points are added up and you are given a star rating, out of five.
Outside of the regular missions, there is a ton of content. The stars that you earn allow you to unlock the High Value Targets, which are like boss battles that give you an extra challenge. Once you complete a High Value Target mission, you can send it you players in your vicinity via the Near function. Also, there is a daily mission, which is a mission that is available for a limited amount of time and you have only one chance to complete it. There is also co-op over Wi-Fi, which, in my time with it, works very well, complete with voice chat. There is also leaderboards for everything and plenty of Trophies.
The graphics of Unit 13 are very slick ‘for a handheld’. At first glance, the screenshots look like a polished iPhone game, but after playing the game extensively, throughout the intense firefights and detailed levels, it’s clear that this game is much more than that. The frame rate is locked at 30 fps, and even with coop, I saw virtually no slowdown. That is impressive.
However, for me, the controls are where the game really shines. Playing a third person shooter on a handheld with two joysticks is a joy. They may be small, but in the heat of battle, the precision needed to pull of the perfect headshot while looking through the crosshairs is there and wonderful. My only qualm with the controls is that sprinting is triangle, and trying to hold triangle and play with two joysticks is really difficult.
The touch screen controls are good too. So many times, other games on other devices attempt to shoehorn new, often gimmicky controls to take advantage of new input methods. Uncharted is the best example on Vita, with its forced touchscreen melee attacks. However, Unit 13’s use of the touchscreen is perfect. Your weapon icon is located at the bottom corner of the screen. Whenever you need to reload, you can touch the icon. It is located at the very edge of the screen, so you can tap it almost as naturally as pressing the square button. Likewise is the grenade icon, scope icon and ‘action’ icon (pressing buttons, defusing bombs, etc.). It is refreshing to see a clever use of the touchscreen incorporated into a traditional control scheme so early in the console’s life time.
Besides that, there are a few technical glitches here and there. Soldier AI isn’t the best, and enemies can get stuck in walls on occasion, but nothing game breaking.
All in all, I love Unit 13. It is the Vita game that I have spent the majority of my time with, and will likely continue to do so until Gravity Rush is released. For the few flaws the game has, what matters is its gameplay and to me, it’s great. It’s a shame that Zipper was shut down, and with it, my dreams of a Unit 14 with a strong story mode.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.