Vita Game ReviewsUnit 13 Review

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Unit 13 Review

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Graphics:

 

6.8

Gameplay:

 

7.3

Sound:

 

6.9

Control:

 

7.2

Replay Value:

 

7.0

Online Gameplay:

 

7.5

Overall Rating:       7.1

 

 

Publisher:

Sony Computer Entertainment

Developer:

Zipper Interactive

Number Of Players:

1-2

Genre:

Action

Unit 13 is a good game. I don’t want the reader to misunderstand. Categorically speaking, one can run down the list of technical and gameplay elements and give each one a satisfactory green check mark. There’s plenty to do, the game moves at a good clip, the control is solid, and the extra stuff is appreciated, too. But you’ll have to forgive me…I have something against games that feel a little bland, a little underwhelming and overall, borderline soulless.

Just bear in mind that it’s more of a personal preference; for the most part, the game looks okay, sounds good, and plays well. The graphics are the “okay” part as there’s an almost depressing abundance of dark colors; grays, browns and greens abound, and in terms of detail, nobody is going to call this one a visual tour de force. Still, Zipper Interactive does capture the atmosphere correctly (in truth, how many bright colors can one find on a battlefield?) and although it doesn’t really push the Vita, the graphical presentation is relatively clean and certainly effective.

The audio tries to pull us into the experience by giving us an assortment of realistic combat effects, decent voice work, and plenty of sharp weapon effects. This is one game you’ll want to play with earbuds if you happen to own a pair. And the closer you are to the action, the more intense and insistent everything becomes, from the crack of your firearm to the shouts of allies and enemies alike. There’s just nothing particularly special about the soundtrack, and it all comes down to combat audio, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just depends on your point of view.

Unit 13 offers lots of missions and you can tackle them solo or with a buddy in the game’s online co-op mode. I think we need a true-blue FPS before we can gauge the effectiveness of the Vita’s dual analog sticks, but a third-person shooter is a fine test, and the game performs admirably. As I mentioned earlier, the control really is solid, and your battle management – ranging from switching weapons on the fly to melee attacks – is easily handled by anyone familiar with this type of gameplay.

It really does feel a lot like any third-person military game on a console (even if the technical parts aren’t quite up to snuff). You don’t use the touchscreen as often as you might in Uncharted: Golden Abyss, either; you really only touch to reload and use items, which isn’t difficult and fits in nicely with the rest of the action. It never feels awkward or difficult and for the most part, you won’t have any difficulty adapting to a SOCOM-like title on a portable. Cover can be a little iffy but I got used to it.

I’m also a fan of the various missions. It’s not set up so that each mission can be played however you wish; rather, each mission has different win/loss conditions and a different categorization. There are three basic types: Speed, Stealth, and…well, kill everything in sight. They all require you to adapt to the style in question, which means you’re always changing how you play and experimentation is encouraged. Plus, it’s nice to have a quick overview of each mission, as the menu tells you everything you need to know before you dive in.

You can customize your loadouts, earn experience points, and level up your characters. Each of the six characters can reach a level of ten, which will of course unlock more skills and benefits. Then of course there are the leaderboards that make you want to keep playing (“gotta top so-and-so”). None of this is really a problem; I just find that the entire experience is lacking due to zero story and a mostly aimless feel. Yeah, there are like 36 missions or something, but why should I care? What am I even doing in them that’s so essential?

Plus, even the diverse missions begin to run together, because your interest level will almost inevitably start to slide if you play for an extended period of time. And when this happens, you automatically start honing in on the drawbacks, which includes erratic AI that is rarely predictable. In one mission, your foes might seem brain-dead; they don’t know where you are and when they find out, they don’t exactly respond like trained professionals. In the very next mission, they’re on point from the get-go, and you had best watch your back.

But I would’ve been able to deal with that if this game had a little more substance. Entering my third hour of play, I was getting annoyed at AI I should be able to overlook, and the regenerating enemies were getting on my nerves, too. Thing is, if I had felt more invested in the experience, if I was more immersed in the on-screen action, I would’ve readily looked past these relatively minor issues and have had more fun. Instead, I’m getting all nitpicky and grumpy, even when the base foundation deserves a better critical reception.

Unit 13 is a good game. I have to say that again. It’s “good” from the standpoint of a reviewer who can’t really find any major glaring flaws, although there are obvious minor issues. The caveat is that those minor issues become far more irritating when you start to get tired of a military game that’s too much rinse-and-repeat with no answer for “Why the heck am I doing this?” For the record, the same sort of thing happened when I played SOCOM and MAG…I don’t think Zipper is keen on the whole story thing. It's not always essential but here, I wanted something.

The Good: Solid sound effects. Good control. Touchscreen and traditional mechanics work well together. Lots of missions and micromanagement. Different mission types keep things fresh.

The Bad: Graphics could’ve been better. Erratic AI. Cover system isn’t perfect. No story and consequently, less immersion.

The Ugly: “Guess I’m supposed to go over there…not like I care much anymore.”

3/20/2012 Ben Dutka

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Comments (16 posts)

dembiscuits
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 5:58:21 PM
Reply

Nice review Ben! IMO i think most military games make a halfhearted attempt at a story anyway so it didn't bother me as much. The funny thing is I downloaded Modern Combat 3 for android for 49 cents after playing Unit 13. I thought to myself, "who can play this crap?"

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CrusaderForever
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 5:59:02 PM
Reply

Nice review Ben! I agree with everything you said. This game is best played in spurts. The control is excellent and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling for FPS on the Vita.

I don't and never will like timed missions though. I try to avoid them like the plague. The high value targets are fun and challenging.

You are right though, Zipper is not good at weaving a story. However, they are good at gun play and this has it in spades. Also, I found the stealth to be very fun. Shooting out cameras and disabling trip wires was very cool. The Vita touchscreen is becoming something I am hoping will be integrated into the PS4 controller. It doesn't have to be like the Wii-U though.

Glad I purchased it and will continue to level up my characters.

Now, let's see how Resistance does on the Vita! That will be very interesting indeed. Does anyone know if you have to play Resistance 3 before Burning Skies?

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zabak74
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 7:10:17 PM
Reply

I always feel with this web site you waiting for other reviews to come out and then you "judge the game accordingly".....it's happening over and over.
In my opinion this game is better, there are no problems with controls, graphic 6.8 ? is this PS Vita or PS 3 game ?
But these are just numbers, right.....I like Unit 13, I like it a lot and I would definitely recommend it to other Vita owners.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 8:17:04 PM

Don't tell me how to do my job. I almost never look at other reviews unless there's something I want to see. And if you hadn't guessed, we're here to do gamers a service, and that just might include shedding light on the general overall reception of a game.

You may want to ask around and see what people think of reviews on this site before passing judgment.

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maxpontiac
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 9:34:10 PM

That was uncalled for zabak74. I may not agree with Ben's reviews all the time, but at least I know that what he writes is genuine and a result of being thorough with the software.

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zabak74
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 9:42:06 PM

you know what's "funny" Ben ? I'm writing my "deep thoughts" about 3 times a year on this web page, but seems like almost EVERY TIME I wrote something you respond to my comments. I'm not i kid, I'm 38 years old and I have mu share of games under my belt. So, since there is a chance to "LEAVE a COMMENT" I sometimes do.
I did it in the past when you wrote you "master piece" about the game HOMEFRONT which I found extremely misleading and I wrote mu thoughts about that. I'm going to skip your reaction to my thoughts and I write what happen next. About month later and more then 1 million copies of Homefront sold YOU Ben "all of the sudden change your mind" and actually wrote new article about how good this game is.....too little, too late.
and the last thing, I would NEVER tell you HOW to do your job, you writing reviews, review is essentially OPINION, right ???....so, you write yours and I write mine....the difference is, my opinion usually don't change based on selling numbers or opinions of other people.....

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 10:01:44 PM

What the HELL are you talking about? Find me a link to the article where I said Homefront is some amazing game. Please do.

And here's a hint for the future- Contributing to a community goes beyond getting a soapbox three times a year to attack those who run the site. Really, it does. Saying I base my reviews on other reviews is so insanely MISLEADING - to use your word - it's insulting.

Shows how much you actually read. Now shut it.

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TheAgingHipster
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 8:36:08 PM
Reply

I agree with most of this review, but I don't find that the lack of story makes me enjoy the game less. Unit 13 has been my go-to game for a quick fix of carnage and gunplay--I've never played it for longer than 30 minutes at a time. I would say that might be why the absence of story doesn't bother me, but then again, I think perhaps that's precisely what Zipper had in mind when they made it.

Good review, Ben!

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zabak74
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 10:53:17 PM
Reply

Dear Ben, Anderson Cooper on the CNN News said the other day "please, don't try to have intelligent conversation on the internet, you'll be disappointed"
You are upset, because I call your review MISLEADING (don't forget, review is opinion, right? ), but wait, it gets better, much better. You wrote :"Find me a link to the article where I said Homefront is some amazing game." But I wrote in my previous respond :" you wrote new article about how good this game is"
Ben, English is my 4th language, but even I know the difference between AMAZING and GOOD.
And you trying to make me look stupid ?!?! Please, try to move on, because I'm doing same thing right now. Your "journalism" is not worth of my time.
And if I may, try to be little more professional when it comes to answers. I know what you thinking now, you wrote that like hour ago : " Don't tell me how to do my job "...immature.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 11:11:03 PM

No, I'm waiting for a link to that article. Because I never wrote an article saying Homefront was amazing, or good, or anything. That didn't happen, my insulting friend.

Now, you will do one of two things- you will produce that link OR you will APOLOGIZE for being wrong, and for being wrong that I change my opinions based on sales or the opinions of others. If the next post from you doesn't include one of those two things, it'll be deleted.

You're not 38. You're 18. Maybe. And if you ARE 38.........that's just very, very depressing.

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___________
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 5:19:41 AM
Reply

pretty disappointing coming from the creators of SOCOM and MAG i was expecting allot more!
im really contemplating if i should sell my vita and get a ipad 3 instead.
far better screen, bigger, better battery life, far better camera, far better OS, multitasking, far better web browser, and i can actually run web and games at the same time!
not to mention inbuilt storage so i dont have to carry game cases around with me, games are better, and a SH*T load cheaper!
10 oppose to 70!

every game so far, besides uncharted and rayman, has been sucksville!
nothing really coming out for it either that excites me, besides bioshock and AC which god knows when there releasing!

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DjEezzy
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 10:33:25 AM
Reply

Hey ben... Getting the vita this week... I was just trying to get a little bit of guidance. If you were me what would be the first game you would get for it. I'm either thinking Uncharted, Rayman or Fifa. I just cant come to a decision. Any input or feedback would be greatly appreciated. Super excited to get the vita, i just want a game that i'll get a lot of play time out of. Thank you kind sir

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CrusaderForever
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 11:50:48 AM

Hey DjEezzy,

I know I am not Ben :)

However, I am finding Uncharted to be great! It really utilizes the Vita's new capabilities well. Some say to much, but I say just right. There is so much treasure to hunt down. That playing through the game once and getting everything will take a long time. However, you could play through at a normal pace, picking up the obvious treasure and then play through the game again to find everything you missed.

Also, I have heard nothing, Nothing but excellent things about Rayman Origins. I played the PS3 demo and loved it myself. I want this game and will have it soon. Just bought Hot Shots and will get into that. But after that I may buy Rayman Origins on the Vita or PS3, haven't decided yet.

Good luck, I really don't think you can go wrong with either Uncharted or Rayman.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 12:15:45 PM

Rayman and Uncharted are just entirely different games, and each fantastic in their own way. Unless I knew what type of game you were looking for, I really couldn't recommend one over the other.

So...get both. ;)

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DjEezzy
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 12:37:37 PM
Reply

Thank you so much crusader. I really appreciate it. I just want a game to last me a while cuz i'm on a budget. I figured Uncharted would be th way to go. I know i'd get mass amounts of play time out of fifa but i'll just wait on that. Or maybe i'll get uncharted and fifa and wait on rayman. Either way i'm super excited to get the vita. Really look forward to the cross platform gameplay in the future. Well thanks again guys. You guys are awesome!!!

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SS4
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 7:09:03 PM
Reply

It looks good but i sincerely think there are too many shooters out there... Maybe its an army recruitment tactics but i miss the good old Doom, Quake and Unreal days (2000 and prior :P)

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