As I said, there’s a big focus in Unit 13 on social and online features and it all starts with the online cooperative mode. The same set of missions are available to play in co-op and for the most part they feel largely the same as the single player counterpart with a few differences.
The first are the level choke points which force both players to be present to move forward, this sort of keeps players tethered to one larger area at a time. It’s not really a positive or a negative, but it’s worth noting the gameplay element is there. The best part about the co-op play on the Vita is the use of the system’s built in microphone for voice chat. This makes it incredibly easy to coordinate assaults on enemies and time stealth take downs. What I really like about this vocal option is that you aren’t wearing a headset like on the consoles or PC, making the communication feel a little more natural.
There's some other gameplay elements that help separate co-op from the single player game. Player revival goes a long way to making some of the harder missions much easier, instead of simply failing on death, you can be revived by a buddy and continue along the way. I also found numerous tactical decisions during gameplay like flanking maneuvers and luring enemies into charges set by the other player as things that simply can't happen in a single player experience.
While I found the co-op play more satisfying, it won’t actually help you complete your single player experience. You’ll still earn experience and be able to level up your operatives, but you won’t be able to unlock any additional missions (save for the bonus stuff) by playing co-op. It’s not really a huge deal, but for missions you get stuck on in single player, it would have been nice to utilize co-op to complete them.
Even though Unit 13 is a really enjoyable experience from the gameplay perspective, the game does appear to have some serious technical issues. I’ve experience numerous hard lock ups of my PS Vita system since installing Unit 13, forcing me to do a full reset and even something called “rebuilding the system database” to get back in working order.
This early in the PlayStation Vita’s life cycle it’s really great to see some of the developers trying some new things that meld console-like experiences with on the go gaming. The game is just engaging enough in cooperative play to border on addictive, despite a few nuances. Unit 13 tries some new things that keep it feeling fresh, and whether you sit down to play a single mission at a time or ten, you’ll find yourself enjoying it the whole way through.
The Co-Op Experience: Team up with a friend through 36 co-op missions. Level up your characters. Voice chat is available using the Vita's build in microphone.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.