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Avatar ImageGamer Limit Review: Section 8
By: | September 28th, 2009 | Xbox 360
Review |X360

Section 8
[We apologize for the tardiness of the review, but the Australian version of Section 8 has constantly been delayed, and was finally just released]

Ever since SouthPeak Games released Two Worlds in 2007, I have been avidly following their publishing career. Two Worlds was a game that offered an incredibly promising idea, but ultimately failed to find any consensual appreciation amongst the gaming community.

Since then, Legendary, X-Blades, and Velvet Assassin have all fallen within the same category of an intriguing idea gone wrong. Does Section 8 break the SouthPeak hoodoo? Or is developer TimeGate Studios doomed to failure with their latest release?

Those are difficult questions to answer. While Section 8 does provide a massive multiplayer experience for console enthusiasts, it ultimately lacks the challenging and unique aspects that can turn a game into a classic.

For those searching for the next Halo: look elsewhere. Section 8 is a multiplayer game at its core, and its attempt at a solo campaign is laughable at best. This fact is endorsed by the “Multiplayer” selection sitting atop “Campaign” in the main menu; TimeGate clearly has very little confidence that their target audience will care much for single player missions.

And with good reason. Starting the campaign, you are immediately thrown into a world riddled with boring cut scenes, poor voice acting, and little to no storyline. Single player mode is essentially a bunch of multiplayer maps pitting you, Alex Corde, and your fellow 8th Armored Infantry units against a horde of bots, and the occasional carbon copy boss.

The voice acting is stale (unnecessarily so), and the cast seems to have been plucked out of every corner of the globe in an attempt to add a universal feel to the game. To be blunt, the script is unconvincing; the addition of random accents only adds another ludicrous element to an already ludicrous campaign mode.

Section 8

Completing single player won’t leave you glowing with a sense of accomplishment, unless of course you crank it up to the highest difficulty, and for those who don’t have Xbox LIVE Gold, your journey will end here. Without the ability to play online, Section 8 is a definitive rent-first game.

Now that we have the depressing stuff out of the way, let’s get down to what this game is really all about: bigass multiplayer.

Section 8 may not have received all the press in a season when FIFA 10, Assassin’s Creed 2, and Modern Warfare 2 are set for release, but in the world of console multiplayer news, Section 8 reigned supreme.

Too long have Xbox gamers had to wait for 32-player multiplayer, and Section 8 delivers it in spades. Joining a 16-player team may seem daunting to the uninitiated, but after a few matches of team-based carnage you should be hooked on monkey phonics this sci-fi FPS.

Whether you are playing solo or multiplayer, you will always start each respawn several kilometres above the battlefield. The effect is a nice touch, especially if you have a high-definition television, and if you aim well you can do some serious damage by crashing into enemy troops. The drop-in  mechanic also allows teams to maintain the upper hand when they are in the lead. For example, if you attempt to drop in over an enemy outpost, more likely than not you will be torn to shreds by automated turrets before you have even hit the ground.

Section 8

Similar to several other space shooters, your team’s objective is to score 1000 points before your enemies do: namely by killing enemies, and controlling objectives. Random missions are extremely riveting, and you will always find yourself with something to achieve in Section 8, rather than simply flying around with your jetpack, or camping behind conveniently placed crates. Tanks, convoys, and extra outposts can appear at any time during a multiplayer match, and it is thanks to these innovations that the game becomes more than a simple sci-fi arena frag fest.

Unfortunately, there are several basic elements that are simply not attended to, and more often than not, it will have you tearing out your analog sticks in frustration. Standard movement is extremely slow: an inconvenience that TimeGate has attempted to counter by adding supersonic speed, but the inability to shoot when in this mode makes it more of a hindrance than an aid.

The jetpack feature was relentlessly plugged in the lead up to Section 8’s release, but it tends to fall flat on its face in multiplayer. There was rarely a moment when I engaged a member of the opposition and activated my jetpack; it was simply easier to jump, or use the environment, than to readjust my reticle while defying gravity.

Section 8

All of the preceding thoughts bring me to the age-old argument of whether or not first-person shooters are truly viable on consoles. Halo managed to succeed where previous FPS developers had failed; they combined simple game mechanics with an exciting multiplayer engine, and fans were thankful for it. Section 8 tries so hard to be a console game, but even the epic multiplayer allowance can’t distract you from the fact that the PC variant offers quicker response time, and up to 40-player multiplayer.

Something happened when Bungie’s Halo crashed onto the scene almost a decade ago. All of a sudden science fiction shooters were the latest craze, and developers began commissioning more titles than the market could handle. When that happened, the standard for console shooters skyrocketed. No longer were gamers satisfied with the norm; they expected perfection. As the years have passed, we have been treated to a surplus of games that have attempted to follow in Halo’s footsteps. Some have been brilliant; many have not.

For Section 8 to truly be considered a gem, it would has to revolutionize the way we play this genre. We would have had to be made to think outside of the box, to be challenged in a way we never thought possible and to be entertained in a unique, unorthodox manner.

Unfortunately, Section 8 lacks that ingenuity. To the mainstream gamer, it may be considered an entertaining multiplayer romp, but to console devotees who have waited for a shooter that finally treats them with respect, Section 8 will not be our holy grail.

Rating Category
5.0 Presentation
There is nothing spectacular about the look of Section 8, despite the galactic setting. The maps are decently sized, but even jetpacks can’t make up for the lack of originality.
How does our scoring system work?
5.0 Gameplay
The shooting mechanics are clunky, and you may often wonder whether you are, in fact, playing on an Xbox 360. Completing the solo campaign is not in the least bit rewarding, but the drop-in feature will give you something to look forward to.
6.0 Sound
The developers revert to hackneyed sound effects and music, rather than stepping out of their comfort zone and attempting something unique.
8.5 Longevity
If it weren’t for multiplayer, Section 8 would not even warrant a review. However, 32-player matches are exciting, if only for a few hours.
5.5 Overall
In a genre filled with dull, uninspired shooters, Section 8 sits atop of the pile of mediocrity.

  1. I really wish SouthPeak would execute their games better. They come up with awesome ideas that fall short in gameplay, which is what matters most. Legendary could have been completely awesome if fighting wasn’t such a complete pain in the ass to do (how many werewolf heads did you hack off?)

    Velvet Assassin was really promising too, and I loved the concept. Unfortunately, it was frustrating to the point of me not finishing the game, despite loving the story-line. I think I’ll pass this one up to avoid some disappointment here, too.

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  2. It’s really disappointing that this game didn’t turn out well. I had really high hopes for it, and was originally looking forward to it. I just don’t have time for another generic multiplayer-only shooter.

    Thanks for the review Simon. :-)

  3. Great review. Just saved me a few bucks :)

  4. Great review! It’s a shame that Section 8 didn’t turn out well, since it reminded me a little of Mass Effect.

    • avatar Adnan

      You could definitely see your exertpise within the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  5. Strangely enough, this was one of the more positive reviews I read for the game and it’s inspired me to check it out when I can find it for cheap.

    • avatar Gbenga

      I clicked like: mlreey because the video was entertaining and creative. It sucks that they expect to charge for these features. (Don’t they make enough money off the game already?? Why not include some of the features?)Anyway, I’m pretty sure? I won’t pay for this. The only thing I found mildly attractive was the theatre mode features (having an pvr and an editing software would be just as competent). Other than that, the other features seem essentially an unecessary expense.

  6. Thanks for the review…I hated the demo but wanted to make sure the game was the same way. I hated batman AS’s demo too but that was a pretty good game….Always good to double check!

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  7. Excellent review! I rented the game just to try it out, and was bored of it after a few days. It was fun running around, but it felt like a dumbed down Tribes.

    • avatar Jenni

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  8. Why are you comparing games? I’m not here to criticise you but every game has a unique purpose, and it’s a bit unfair to compare games. Also, playing a game with preconceived notions is unfair too, enjoy what it is.

    This is coming mainly from a development standpoint. I’ve had so many people say “Looks like this” and “Will this be just like this” that it’s kind of unfair that our games are put A; To a mainstream standard and B; Not really appreciated for what they really are.

    Just my two cents. Review the game, it’s purpose and premise, if it delivers, and your bones to pick.

    • avatar Liezel

      First of all I apologize for omtnimig the F. out of Bob’s name upon my first contact, the truth is I am old and forgetful. I actually have no excuse! So sorry ’bout that!Secondly, thank you for coming here today. I will be ordering several copies myself for my library which is mostly of course aviation books.This is a pleasure to have you here. Hope you are patient with us here. This is a little slower pace than you are use to. It can go on for days. so you can go and check back evey few hours and it can be quite productive for you. You can check the button below to be notified when there is a reply or comment to your blog!Thanks again Bob. JR

    • avatar Manuel

      Thank you for all the kind words. If you’re going to get my books (excuse me for shouting) PLEASE GET THEM DIRECTLY FROM ME: I’ll be glad to try to aneswr George’s many questions when I can take the time to do so, but you can find most of the aneswrs by googling my name: Robert F. Dorr.The most questionable thing in Griffin’s bio is the combat infantryman badge, which is customarily awarded only to those in the infantry branch (plus Special Forces) who have been in combat for a specified period. Griffin’s bio lists him as a military journalist. I don’t believe he claims to have been in Intelligence.

  9. (I’m not defending the game or criticising you as a person.)

  10. @jazzman

    For me, it’s almost impossible to go into a review like this one without anticipation. The reason? This game had so much media surrounding it before, and after, it was released.

    It didn’t come out in Australia until the end of last week, and by that time I had already read a vast amount of reviews; not to mention the plethora of trailers, videos, and interviews floating around the web.

    I believe that I did review the game and its most notable facets in an unbiased manner. I would never judge a game by simply its developer, or opposition for that matter. That would be foolish. On the contrary, I searched for some unique features that could bump up the overall score, but to be honest, I struggled immensely.

    I understand where you are coming from, but you have to understand that the majority of gamers go into a game expecting it to be something from all the media and hype that surrounded it. I hope I didn’t come across like I was merely comparing a game to a classic.

    Section 8 is simply an unremarkable title in an already cluttered genre, and I judged it accordingly.

  11. As a side note, I think every single review I’ve read on this game compared it to Halo: and for good reason!

    The only people who would buy this game are bored Halo fans, and they need to know whether its worth quitting/forking over $60 for or not.

  12. I got this confused with the excellent movie District 9. Which was stupid of me.

  13. avatar Lina

    The P-47 fighter-bomber story and all that suurnrods it the plane and the men that it served are brought to life in Robert F. Dorr and Thomas D. Jones’s new book, Hell Hawks! Mr. Jones, a veteran astronaut, B-52D pilot, on Kindle see his Marine Air: The History of the Flying Leathernecks in Words and Photos, and Mr. Dorr, a former senior diplomat, are veteran authors in the field of aviation history and space exploration. In this book, they give us drama and emotion, a powerful sense of history combined with illuminating action. Dorr and Jones’s well-told story belies the cliche about Flying Fortresses and Mustangs winning the war: Their narrative is absorbing and enjoyable to read. Introducing the voices of numerous pilots, ground crewmen, and enemies, Dorr and Jones blend a trove of original interviews to create an air men’s history of the 365th Fighter Group and the vast destruction it wrought. Chronicling the Thunderbolt’s interdiction war makes for an exciting narrative. It brings new light to the historical importance of ground attacks by fighter-bombers that wielded great devastation on German military forces. The term for fighter-bombers or what authors Dorr and Jones, using the German’s own coinage, have called Jabos are tactical ground attack aircraft such as the Soviet Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik, RAF Hawker Typhoon, and the USAAF Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. But, for all its familiarity and indisputable greatness, the P-47 Thunderbolt’s beginnings and the development of its mission are not generally understood in comparison to the glamous North American P-51 Mustang. The P-47 s calling as a fighter-bomber spanned thousands of missions against Hitler’s armies. But three episodes stand out as decisive in the victorious campaign: The breakout in Normandy, the race to the Rhine, and the Battle of the Bulge. Riddled with anecdote, fortified by detailed accounts of exciting air action stories, Hell Hawks! is an enthralling read, equal parts victory and defeat. Dorr and Jones’s writing is sharp, their approach sharper: they write All too often, they saw their planes return with bent propellers, holes in wings and fuselage, and traces of the battlefield, dirt, stones, shrapnel, branches, leaves embedded in the wings and cowling. But it was precisely the P-47 s ability to limp back to base with seemingly fatal damage that made it the ideal aircraft for ground attack. For those who find comfort in believing a fighter pilot’s role in western Europe was noble, impersonal, and detached mainly machine against machine or at the least a gentleman’s duel, like the First World War’s classic dogfights, this book will disappoint, indeed, its look at ground attacks carried out by the Hell Hawks offers no glamor for the readers. The authors counter, The pilots took a fatalistic attitude toward the work, which was gritty, dangerous, and frequently terrifying. It is important to understand, as Dorr and Jones do, that the Allied armies’ role in defeating Hitler’s panzers would not have been possible without the Ninth Air Force’s relentless tactical ground attacks. When Dorr and Jones make the statement, The 365th pilots were justifiably confident in their ability to deal with whatever opposition the Luftwaffe might throw at them, they have the evidence to back it up Their kill ratio was 8 to 1 in air-to-air combat. What makes this book worth reading is the author’s compilation of vivid Ninth Air Force experiences. However, also of importance to the reader is the realization that: Few if any of the men in the Hell Hawk’s group relished being in the war, but circumstances beyond their control made them participants. In the book’s concluding chapter, Final Mission, Dorr and Jones salute the achievement of Hell Hawks: The combination of skilled pilots, a rugged, capable aircraft, close and reliable communications between the air and ground teams, and the courage to fight a brutal, dangerous war at close quarters created an irresistible force that overwhelmed one of the most successful armies in history. Hell Hawks! pays tribute to an iconic beast of a fighter. As crew chief Charles Johnson, states, That P-47 was one tough airplane, and I guess so were we. A former Hell Hawk proudly states, Our pilots never got the credit they deserved. In my opinion, going down to fifty feet, at 350 miles per hour, and putting two five-hundred-pound bombs on a Tiger tank was a greater contribution to the war effort than shooting down an Fw-190. Hell Hawks! contains a gallery of forty-seven interesting photographs, two ETO maps, and a Ninth Air Force Fighter-Bomber Organization Chart.

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