Unit 13 Preview (PS Vita)

The biggest surprise isn’t that Zipper are working on another third person shooter at all, it’s that nobody had any idea.  In a world filled with leaks and embargo breakers the feeling of genuine surprise at an announcement is a rare one indeed.

But is this one worth all the excitement?

[drop]Thankfully, Zipper know the genre more than most, having worked on SOCOM and MAG in the past.  Safe hands?  Most probably.

With the PlayStation Vita having two analog sticks, control issues that plagued previous genre titles should be a thing of the past – indeed, Unit 13 (as the game is known) plays to the Vita’s strengths, and controls much like console games of the ilk have been doing for years.

Interestingly, though, the developers are also working in lots of Vita-specific control trickery – details are sparse at the moment but Brian Soderberg, Zipper President, tells us that both the front and back touchscreens will be used to interact with the game.

It works nicely in LittleBigPlanet Vita but feels a little forced in Uncharted: Golden Abyss, so let’s hope that Unit 13’s tactile approach sits more with the former.

Zipper have worked on no less than eight SOCOM titles since 2002, with two PSP games under their belt.  I’ve no doubt that Unit 13 will draw from past experience and not deviate too much from their specialist area, and that’s hopefully something that fans will be drawn to.

Playing out like a Fireteam Bravo PSP title in mechanics, Unit 13 focuses on ‘fast action’ and ‘on the go gameplay’ with a choice of six soldiers ready to do battle across thirty six missions of all sizes and difficulties. The operatives vary from the assault-rifley Pointman through to the sneaky Infiltrator and obviously named Marksman.

[drop2]PlayStation Vita’s ‘NEAR’ feature will come into play as your progress, allowing players to share what are known as High Value Target battles with buddies and anyone within the vicinity.

In addition, look out for lots of social aspects that take full advantage of Vita’s connectivity.  There’s naturally online play, but there’s also leaderboards, daily missions from the developers, new unlocks and the ability for friends to challenge you – all with a ‘live notification’ interface that’ll work much like the PSN pop-ups.

I’m not sure that the notification page is the most attractive UI I’ve ever seen (in fact, it’s actually quite ugly) but it does tie in well enough with the rest of the package and at least it offers something that most portable games tend to shy away from, at least traditionally.

Co-operative play will round off the package, which is already looking like a fully featured game with a few months to go, with voice chat and team leaderboards.

We’ll have much more on Unit 13 when we get some proper time to play the game without the rush of a show floor.



  1. Weren’t PS3 SOCOM and MAG met with somewhat disappointed response?

    • SOCOM Confrontation, yes – but that wasn’t Zipper. SOCOM 4 got an average response. And MAG ha a meta of mid 70s I believe with lots pf people really liking it.

      • I thought Socom 4 was great from the beta(demo…) but it didn’t have enough to make me want to buy it

      • SOCOM Special Forces is great with Move imo.

  2. The problem with these games is how… you’d have to work as a team, well… thats impossible with a mic right?

    • I assume you mean that its impossible withOUT a mic? If so, then it will of course be harder, but by no means impossible.

      If not, i’m not sure why it would be impossible with a mic.

      • Assuming that “without a mic” was meant, that shouldn’t be an issue as the Vita has one built in I believe.

      • That plus bluetooth means the Vita would connect with any PS3 compatible headset (I’d imagine anyway, hoping it supports the same generic bluetooth profiles its home-based bigger brother does).

  3. I loved PSP games so looking forward to getting this.

  4. Fireteam Bravo is one of the only PSP series that I actually stuck to (that and the God of War and Monster Hunter games.) Really looking forward to seeing how the social features play out.

    • I remember the Fireteam Bravo games always being strong sellers and generally liked. I have been excited more for the Vita than any other handheld. The games are looking stellar and Zipper is sure to knock it out of the park with what is sure to be the best handheld FPS to date.

  5. Not played many SOCOM games but I have enjoyed the ones I have have played. 36 missions sounds good, as long as there’s a decent amount of variety.

  6. No competive online multiplayer?

    • “There’s naturally online play”

      that would imply that there is proper competitive online play and not just the co-op

  7. Sounds pretty good, looks fairly nice too. I do hope the vita does well…

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