Time Enforcer Anubis here with a new game review!
Section 8 has an ambitious plan going for it. It attempted to bring Tribes 2-style gameplay into the modern era of gaming, and gameplay-wise, did so fairly well.
Sadly, however, it failed to really take off.
Section 8 developer TimeGate Studios wasn’t going to be discouraged so easily, however. They recently tried again with a sequel, Section 8: Prejudice, released on the Xbox Live Arcade and PC, and soon coming to PSN.
Section 8: Prejudice works off of a mix of its unique premise and tried-and-true gameplay elements. The game is a Tribes 2-styled team-based multiplayer FPS, focusing on teamwork, customization, and mobility. Players customize their own loadouts to spawn with, which can be changed on the field from supply depots, can requisition vehicle and turret drops, and have several options for travelling cross-map. It wouldn’t surprise me to find Tribes on TimeGate’s list of inspirations for Section 8. The similarities, however, begin to blur from there. Section 8’s big gimmick is its respawn system. Instead of simply reappearing somewhere on the map after death, players respawn by “burning in” from high altitude. This gives the game a degree of unpredictability, as enemies can drop in almost anywhere on the map.
Prejudice is comprised of a campaign and three multiplayer modes. The campaign is pretty standard in terms of FPS games: A series of story-driven missions that attempts to make creative use of the game’s mechanics. While the campaign is solid enough, the game’s respawning gimmick isn’t given much time to shine.
The real meat of the game is its multiplayer. The main mode, Conquest, is a mode based around capturing Control Points around one of the game’s quite large maps. Holding control points raises a team’s score over time, but that’s not the only way to win. Section 8 boasts a dynamic multiplayer experience, and delivers. Throughout Conquest games, teams will periodically activate Dynamic Combat Missions, or DCMs. DCMs are mini-objectives that range from convoy escort to intelligence recovery, all the way to enemy VIP assassination.
The other two multiplayer modes include Swarm, a co-op game of “hold the objective” against ever-increasing waves of enemies, and Assault, an attack-and-defend game where one team plays the offense, the other the defense, and the two switch off after a round. Both modes also make full use of the game’s unique gameplay elements and stand on their own quite well.
Prejudice has both an extensive and limited collection of weapons. The actual weapons are few in number. Each weapon, however, has variants that change how it acts. For example, the machinegun can, instead of using rounds effective against players, use rounds effective against vehicles and turrets. These extra variants must be unlocked, however. Prejudice’s unlocking system is remarkably forgiving. Equipment can be unlocked either online or offline, giving everyone a chance to unlock helpful equipment.
Prejudice also includes some noteworthy features for hardcore online players. The first is the ability for the Xbox Live Arcade version of the game to connect to PC-based dedicated servers. This isn’t Shadowrun’s PC players playing against Console players (We don’t want to repeat that). Rather, it’s simply a way for the Xbox Live Arcade version to work more like a PC FPS with its server structure. The other feature of note is a personal favorite, multiplayer bots. Whether used to pad online teams lacking players or just for a fun relaxing game of Conquest alone or with a couple friends, I really hope botmatch multiplayer is on the way back.
For 1200 MS Points ($15) on the Xbox Live Arcade, fans of team-based FPS would be absolutely insane to skip Section 8: Prejudice. This game has as much going for it as a full-price game, at a quarter of that. If you’re looking for a multiplayer FPS with dynamic, ever-changing gameplay, you’re missing something big not playing Section 8: Prejudice.
‘Till next time!
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