Section 8 ReviewPlatform: PC
, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Publisher: TimeGate Studios
UK Price (as reviewed): £8.99 (inc VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $14.99 (ex tax)
Section 8 doesn’t initially seem to promise much of anything at all, dropping players into a too-similar world of faceless space marines fighting against generically labelled baddies with weapons we’ve all seen before. It’s only real shtick is the addition of jetpacks, which we’ve seen a thousand times before – as recently as in the original Section 8
, in fact.
While Section 8 doesn’t impress all that much when laid out like that, however, it’s important not to dismiss Prejudice on first impressions alone. Truth be told, although Prejudice definitely suffers from its lack of creative ambition, it’s buoyed up by an impressive efficiency and utility. It may look generic, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun to play when you get right down to it.
As a game that’s primarily defined by the various tools it puts at your disposal – Jetpacks! Mechs! Deployable mini-gun turrets! – it should come as no surprise that Section 8: Prejudice is best appreciated online, with friends. The multiplayer offering shouldn’t just be your primary concern, but the only reason to really consider buying the game.
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The singleplayer isn’t terrible for what it is, but what it is just isn’t really interesting enough to justify playing through. It’s essentially an extended tutorial that’s broken up by the introduction of shouty men who tell you what to do and reward you with more shouting. The storyline sees you cast as a member of the eponymous Section 8, whose speciality is dropping onto a battlefield from orbit, tasked with fighting the evil Arm of Orion. TimeGate does its best to create memorable characters, but that’s difficult in a world where it’s often hard to tell the goodies from the baddies.
The multiplayer, however, handily does away with such issues and instead presents a style of combat that manages to be simultaneously pared back to basics and possessed of an impressive depth.
Section 8: Prejudice Trailer
The depth primarily comes from the previously mentioned tools to which you're given access. Players can carry two weapons, as well as two items with which to bolster their power; the default knife and grenade options are predictable, but sensors, mines and air-strikes are also available from the off. As if that wasn't enough, players also get to select individual skills, as well as which armour they want to carry. It’s possible to jump in and just start playing with one of the pre-made classes, but creating your own classes is a deep enough process to put the likes of Call of Duty to shame.
This level of tactical depth runs through each multiplayer battle like a vein, though, and isn’t just limited to pre-match planning. Dynamic missions litter the battles, for example, giving casual players a wealth of tasks to perform, and providing more serious bullet-flingers with some tough choices to weigh up on the fly. In the heat of a Conquest match, with the two sides tied, is it better to spend your time grabbing a control point or blocking the enemy from capturing your convoy?
It’s never as simple as just glancing at the scoreboard, especially when the parachuting mechanic from the original game returns and players are able to respawn almost anywhere on the map. The pace and pitch of entire matches can change within seconds if you’ve not got one eye on your mini-map for holes in your anti-air defences.