|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Abylight||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Deep Silver / Gammick Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 28, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
From a birds-eye view perspective, your forces are reasonably detailed despite being pretty small. The cramped nature of the touch screen layout and an inability to get a good look at anything that's not within your immediate proximity forces you to spend a lot of time watching the map on the top screen. The constant map is great for navigation purposes (it can be dropped down to the touch screen to check on distant locations), but it's hard not to rely on the map for constant consultation. Otherwise the game looks pretty good.
You control different combinations of your four squad members at different times and can group them to have everyone but the character you're directly controlling follow you and provide cover fire. Levels are designed to herd you into switching between members frequently to capitalize on their abilities. Freedom is mostly an illusion here; the way levels are designed, it's pretty clear when you're meant to use a certain character to proceed - especially since you have no real choice in the matter. Sure, you can decide whether or not you want to pick off the snipers from a distance with Kendra, detect explosive mines with T.K., blast bosses with Dag's bazooka, or open gates with Bill at the necessary moments. But choosing otherwise often leads to an inability to proceed or a quick death.
Managing your squad can sometimes be unnecessarily difficult in tense situations due to finicky controls. The touch-centric controls have you moving your forces by holding the stylus on the screen and dragging it around wherever you want to go. You can only shoot at enemies when they're in your line-of-sight, since firing requires you to tap on them. You can instantly select between individuals by tapping their icon, and linking them together to follow your selected character is simple. Comrades will follow you and shoot where you tell them to (occasionally firing at nearby enemies on their own), yet they also tend to stand around and get killed in the face of heavily armed foes. Also, switching between primary weapons and special attacks with a tap of the shoulder button or stylus works fine most of the time, but it's problematic in mini-boss encounters where getting hit momentarily stuns you and prevents you from firing. It's not uncommon to have a team member inadvertently mowed down while fumbling to get a shot off.
Elite Forces: Unit 77 mainly suffers from its generic presentation and lack of innovation. There's very little about this game that makes it stands out from other more interesting handheld action games. The gameplay itself is moderately entertaining if you can keep your squad mates from dying. It just doesn't have that spark that keeps you coming back for more.
CCC Staff Contributor