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Avatar ImageReview: Section 8: Prejudice
By: | April 20th, 2011 | XBLA
PC |PSN |Review |XBLA

Chances are that you didn’t play the original Section 8, and even if you did, you might not have the best things to say about it. The campaign wasn’t impressive in the slightest, and multiplayer lobbies were noticeably devoid of players. It wasn’t awful, but at least there was plenty of room for improvement.

It’s been nearly two years and TimeGate Studios is back with Section 8 Prejudice. All in all ,the TimeGate development team is looking to raise the bar of what gamers can expect from downloadable shooters: and at just a $14.99 price point, it’s hard not to bite.

Let me just say right out of the gate, that TimeGate Studio’s ability to craft narrative has improved dramatically. That’s not to say that there’s a deep and meaningful plot here, but it is head above shoulders over their last effort. It makes sense. I know what’s going on, and its actually entreating.

In the universe of Section 8, earth’s natural resources have been depleted, and its ecosystems ravaged. Consequently, humanity took to the stars in search of fertile planets to colonize. In the last game a rebellion occurred, leaving “The 8th Armored Infantry” to lick their wounds. Suddenly, a new threat appears and humanity’s survival is once again on the line. Enter space marines to save the day once more!

It’s difficult to look at, play or even talk about Section 8 Prejudice without drawing comparisons with Halo. While I was playing the game for review, several people remarked about how similar the game was to Halo, on occasion outright mistaking it for one of Bungee’s AAA shooters – a true testament to how visually similar they are.

Unlike more twitchy shooters such as Call of Duty, the space marines in Prejudice take quite a while to be killed. At least you won’t have to worry too much about turning a corner, getting two in the head, one in the chest, and winding dead without a moment’s notice. Marines have lengthy bars of health and you’ll need to punch through enemy shields before killing them. It’ll be common place to defeat an enemy then duck behind a rock to wait for your shield to recharge…hmmm sounds familiar.

Also familiar are the controls. It’s a decidedly old school FPS. They feel slightly floaty and just a tad imprecise – as opposed to the weighty, grounded feel of something like Killzone. Just up that sensitivity and prepare to jump around to avoid oncoming fire while you dispatch your enemies.

You’re probably thinking that Prejudice doesn’t earn many points for originality. However, it may surprise you to find that TimeGate Studios has a few tricks up its sleeves. While TimeGate does several interesting things with what is otherwise a pretty generic FPS, there’s one thing I’ll always remember the Section 8 franchise – spawning.

Rather than random or predetermined spawn points, you’ll be dropped in from orbit – landing wherever you’d like on the battlefield. Landing directly on enemies is a sure fire way of getting an instant kill. Just make sure to watch out for anti-air guns on your way down.

Sprinting may feel slow at first but hold it for a few seconds and your marine with go into overdrive. This pulls you back into a third person view and increases your speed dramatically. It’s incredibly useful for getting to places in a hurry and is just plain fun.

There’s a lock-on feature that allows you to, well, lock-on to enemies for a short period of time. The ability has to recharge between uses, so it isn’t anything game breaking. Due to enemies’ robust health and the title’s less than perfect controls this is definitely a welcome feature, and definitely comes in handy when you’re in a heated firefight.

Lastly, holding the jump button will activate a jetpack. Unfortunately, there is only a limited supply of fuel so you won’t be flying around forever. However, it only takes a few seconds to recharge before you can use it again, and like the overdrive sprint it is incredibly useful for getting around the map. It also definitely adds another dimension to combat. I mean, come on, who doesn’t like raining death down on their enemies?

There’s a variety of weapons: snipers, machine guns, shotguns, you’ve seen them all before. Interestingly though, each piece of equipment can be customized in a number of ways to suit your style of play – boating 60 in total. In the single player you can freely switch between the weapons you’ve unlocked, whereas in multiplayer “loadouts” are pre-made and separated into distinct classes.

Section 8 Prejudice features two multiplayer modes, the first of which is a 32-player team-based competitive multiplayer. Something a tad more interesting is the game’s co-operative multiplayer. It’s a survival mode called swarm. Blending tower defense and shooting, four players will defend an objective from waves of enemies. Racking up kills earns money, which can be spent to requisition turrets – which spawn much the same way you do.

While I generally enjoyed the game, I have some frustrations. A few minor glitches were some pretty annoying crashes. I couldn’t even exit back out to the dashboard, and needed to cut power to the system to get back to playing.  These crashed happened on more than one occasion, both in single and multiplayer modes.

With the single player clocking in at just five hours long, the true testament for this game will be the support of the online community. When the original Section 8 was first released, it launched as a full-price retail game on the 360 – struggling to find an audience. With a low price point and improved…everything really, Section 8 Prejudice has the potential to provide players with a lot of entertainment.

When compared genre juggernauts like Halo, Call of Duty and Killzone, Section 8 Prejudice has a hard time measuring up. It’s interesting because it straddles the line between what we would expect from an inexpensive downloadable and a full retail title. Section 8 Prejudice may never be a replacement for your favourite AAA FPS, but those willing to look past a few flaws will find a lot of fun at a budget price.

Note: If you’d like the game on your platform of choice, the PC version is due out May 4 and it will be landing on PS3 by the end of summer. TimeGate Studios will be providing dedicated servers for all three versions and has “aggressive” post-release DLC plans.

Rating Category
7.5 Presentation
Prejudice looks good, if maybe a little outdated.
How does our scoring system work?
9.0 Gameplay
It might not be the most polished game in the world, but Section 8 Prejudice is fun, fast and awesome.
7.0 Sound
The music is fitting, but nothing to write home about.
7.0 Longevity
You'll sink a few hours into the single player before delving into the 2 multiplayer modes, but your mileage may vary.
8.0 Overall
Those willing to look past a few flaws will have a lot of fun with Section 8: P, at a budget price.

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    Given the praise given to this game by gaming peers, I’m sold

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    might as well try it. i’ve spent 1200 MSP on things that sound much worse

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