A quote widely misattributed to George Orwell asserts that people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. The members of Unit 13 are such men. Armed with state-of-the-art weaponry and code names like Animal, Zeus, and Chuckles, these grizzled soldiers venture deep into enemy territory to put the enemies of peace and freedom to the sword. Unit 13 lets you undertake these missions, and it makes accomplishing your objectives and surviving against imposing odds a suspenseful and satisfying task.
There's not much of an overarching story here. You get 36 separate missions to complete, which see you trying to thwart the efforts of the terrorist organization Awlaad Al-Qowah by assassinating high-ranking members, rescuing kidnapped journalists, obtaining intelligence, and so forth. These small missions are well suited for gaming on the go, with some of them lasting just a few minutes, but the disjointed structure prevents you from getting engrossed in them the way you might with a cohesive, story-driven campaign.
The nine environments your missions take you to include a stately embassy, a metro station, a Middle Eastern bazaar, and others. The realistic details and believable layouts of each one make them fitting settings for your grim tasks. Bodies collapse convincingly after you deliver the killing blow, lending weight to your actions. Unfortunately, the voice chatter undermines the serious vibe a bit. Both your current operative and the unseen commander who chimes in over the headset sometimes lay on the gung ho attitude a little thick, straining credibility by reminding you that the people you're killing are evil with a capital EVIL and that you’re doing the world a favor by terminating them with extreme prejudice. It's as if Unit 13 is afraid that you might, even for a moment, question the nobility of your actions or entertain the idea of any gray morality in this tale of shining champions of justice against absolute monsters.
The missions fall into four categories: covert, direct action, deadline, and elite. Covert missions require you to maneuver sneakily. If an alarm is triggered--by an enemy you've alerted to your presence or by you taking a wayward step into the sights of a surveillance camera or the laser beams of a security barrier--the mission ends in failure. In direct action missions, you're free to approach situations in whatever manner you see fit, from sneaking around to charging in guns blazing. Deadline missions require you to work quickly and complete your objectives before time runs out. Elite missions, as you'd expect, are the toughest of the bunch. On elite missions, you do not have regenerating health; your health is restored only once per mission, at the halfway point. Additionally, there are no checkpoints. Death means starting the entire mission over from the beginning.
Regardless of the type of mission you're on, moving with caution and an awareness of your surroundings are key. Unit 13 doesn't shuffle you down corridors; it places you in open environments that are often patrolled by enemies and provide ample opportunities for cover. It's very easy to line your reticle up with exposed enemies while safe behind a wall and then pop out to instantly eliminate them with headshots. The aim assist helps you keep a bead on enemies if they start moving. The ease with which you can target and kill enemies makes you feel like an efficient, highly trained operative, but it also takes some of the satisfaction out of the shooting.
So the challenge lies not in targeting and killing foes but in keeping yourself alive. Most missions give you regenerating health, but it still only takes a few shots in rapid succession to finish you off. So when you opt to hide behind cover to take out large groups of enemies, you want to be sure to choose a strong position that doesn't make it easy for enemies to flank you. The fragility of your operative's life and the need to stay vigilant make moving through these dangerous environments suspenseful, at least at first. Enemies are positioned in the same places and follow the same patrol patterns each time you attempt a mission. So if you try a tactic one time that doesn't work well, you can learn from it and simply try a different tactic on your next attempt. This allows for a trial-and-error approach in which you keep trying different tactics--different pathways through the environment, different cover positions--until you stumble on those that allow you to get the job done.