One of the biggest selling points of the PS Vita, for me at least, is the fact that it comes with two analogue sticks, something I was dying to test out with decent shooter. Sure, we had Uncharted: Golden Abyss at launch, but what I wanted was something with no adventure elements, something that required you to strafe-turn into each corner with your gun at the ready and your finger glued to the trigger.
It wasn’t long before Zipper Interactive obliged me with Unit 13, a standard military shooter that offered everything I was looking for. Strangely enough, the fact that you can control the action with two analogue sticks on a handheld system seems to feature prominently in the marketing material for this game – almost as if they don’t want us to forget. And just to get it out of the way – yes, it works like a dream.
Anyway, the game proper is divided into four modes: Solo Missions, Online Cooperative, High Value Targets and Daily Challenge. The Solo Missions mode is probably where most players will spend the majority of their time. Their are 36 progressively more challenging missions players can unlock and play as they progress. The missions come in four varieties: Direct Action, Stealth, Deadline and Elite.
Direct Action plonks players in a mission with several objectives to complete, like killing targets, finding items and so on. Stealth missions simply require you to not raise any alarms. Deadline missions are tense affairs that require you to complete several objectives before the time runs out. And lastly, Elite missions are brutal assignments where your health doesn’t regenerate and dying puts you all the way back at the beginning.
Online Cooperative mode is self-explanatory, and it allows you to tackle the 36 missions with the help of a partner. It only works via Wi-Fi though, not 3G, obviously. However, if you have a 3G model, the game will automatically download the top scores and upload your ranking data to the PlayStation Network – so you are still connected and competitive, in a way. The High Value Targets mode contains nine tough, unlockable assassination missions. These are brutal missions with a strong enemy waiting at the end.
The last and most interesting feature is the Daily Challenge mode. One random mission is uploaded each day that players can download and tackle (on 3G too). Each player gets exactly one chance to play it, and their final scores are uploaded to the global leaderboard, giving it an awesome competitive edge.
The are six operatives players can use in each mission, each with their own starting equipment and skills. As you complete missions, they’ll level up and gain new skills and access to better weapons and gear.
About the only disappointing thing about Unit 13 is the lack of an ad-hoc multiplayer mode, which would have been awesome. That aside, however, it’s one of the PSV’s most entertaining and meaty titles currently available for action fans to tear into.