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[Vita Review] Unit 13

Zipper Interactive is showing the Vita some Socom love with Unit 13, and it gives us a glimpse of what 3rd person shooters will be like on the handheld. Rather than having a deep story, Zipper has decided to give the player a set of 36 missions and 10 High-value targets, which can be done solo or online with a friend or random stranger. It is a great look at what “Could be” on the Vita. Sadly, it doesn’t deliver on what it set out to achieve.

The touch controls are a nice addition, but don’t really take advantage of what the Vita has to offer. A simple tap on the grenade icon will send a grenade out in the direction you’re aiming, and the tap of the scope icon will bring up your Red dot or Sniper scope. Not very innovative to say the least. My biggest gripe is with the controls. The little analogues are simply too sensitive from the get go and I found my self turning them to 0 to be able to aim with some control. I would have liked to have seen them have a separate option for Horizontal and Vertical aiming sensitivity, as turning down the sensitivity also makes you turn slower when your gun is not being aimed. This is Zipper, though, so one can only hope for a patch for this issue.

My other major gripe is with the AI. Horrible is a nice way of putting it. Stealth missions are simply a disaster. Stabbing a guy from behind and having a guy a floor above me come running down, activating a mission failure is just absurd. Once enemies are aware of your position, they will track your movements, even through walls. Trying to flank a group that knows I’m there is simply not possible as walking around to their flank, you’ll notice the mini map icons of the enemies tracking your every move. Once again, one can only hope for a patch.

As for multiplayer, the network connectivity runs smooth and co-op works as it should and is a blast, as long as you’re not on a timed or stealth mission. Timed missions are hard for the simple fact that the controls need some tweaking, as mentioned before. Graphically, the game looks great and having the points jump up after a head shot is almost as satisfying as the Killzone 3 kill chirp. Almost.

The missions are fun and the dynamic setting can change up the layout quite drastically, but there is yet another problem. By the 5th mission, you are already seeing recycled areas of levels. I can understand this late in a game in small areas, but not an entire level with one different locale. This is where having a friend really changes the game, as you’re killing time as well as bad A.I., to make up for the games flaws. The pickings are slim right now, and if you want a shooter, Unit 13 is all that’s really available for early adopters. No multiplayer, in terms of competitive gameplay, and Unit 13 becomes an easy Rental at best.

[review pros=” Small missions on the go
Fun co-op
” cons=”Controls
Recycled levels early on
” score=70]

This review is based off of a retail version of the game purchased by reviewer