Zipper Interactive of SOCOM and MAG fame have created us a very nice and graphically impressive 3rd person shooter for the Vita. The game is not very innovative or unique (it is a very generic tactical shooter), however that is quickly forgiven due to the impressive leaps made in hand held gaming and this game demonstrates those leaps spectacularly.
First thing to mention is the control scheme, those of you who are used to your console FPS will feel right at home here, as the dual analog sticks offered by the Vita give very accurate movement and aiming (although this is aided by the games auto-aim). Suffice to say the controls are comfy and demonstrate how capable the vita is in 3rd and 1st person shooters.
Right then on to the game play. Unit 13 features 36 standard missions broken down into four categories: Direct action (standard missions), Covert (stealth based), Deadline (run and gun with a time limit) and Elite (same as direct action only with no regenerating health or check points). Each mission type encourages different tactics and offers a nice variety to the game play. As well as this there is an extra dynamic mode included with each of the standard missions, dynamic mode simply means random objectives and item placement to help further extend replay value, not to mention the 9 HVTs (High Value Targets), extending the replay value to near infinite levels. Adding to the variety are a nice selection of characters and weapons, from the basic commando to the more specialised stealth and sniper, these help to encourage the use of the various tactics on offer and to explore every possible way to tackle a problem. There is also a basic score keeping system and leader boards to add a competitive edge on things and a co-op mode (although I had trouble getting this feature to work), I can’t help but feel that more could have been done on the multi player side of things.
However a couple of problems detract from the replay value and overall quality of the game, first of all is the repetitive locations, the amount of time you will spend in the same handful of locations can undo what dynamic mode tries to achieve and can make the game bland and repetitive, another problem is enemy AI, you will gun down one of their friends and then they will hang around the same spot, aiming at your last known location for a good 5 minuets giving you ample opportunity to sneak behind them and kill them that way, basically they’re stupid. The AI problem can also make some situations a very boring waiting game as you wait for the enemies to spread out and give you the perfect opportunity to gun them all down, this is especially the case with Elite missions. Finally the difficulty early on I found the game to be challenging but not too difficult, but that quickly changed and the difficulty ramped up really quickly and unexpectedly, this can make the game quite frustraiting especially on Elite missions.
The game is very beautiful graphically and offers a lot of variety to the missions, as stated it isn’t very imaginative, but is very good at showcasing what the Vita is capable of, the level of replay value is high as long as you don’t mind revisiting the same locations countless times, the number of available tactics helps to offset this slightly but once you’ve explored all the possible tactics the game has it can get to feel old fast.
If you love scores then I give this game a 6/10.If you don’t like scores then here is a recommendation, If you love tactical shooters and a challenge then definitely get this game, it has lots to offer for this type of game and you will have lots of fun. For everyone else please avoid as this game only serves to showcase the Vita’s potential and offers very little to those who are not as enthusiastic about shooters, and with the high difficulty does not make this a good game for newer players of this genre.