30 Reviews in 30 Days, Day 14 – Section 8: Prejudice

I am probably one of the few people you will meet who both played and enjoyed the original Section 8. Yes, I will admit it basically did not have a single player campaign, but Timegate did enough unique things with the multiplayer for that game that it was enjoyable. Unfortunately, not many people did play it, so it soon died out in the multiplayer realm. I found myself resigned to the fact the franchise was dead.

Then Timgate announced a sequel. Not just any sequel, but  a $15 downloadable title (first for XBLA, then for PC and PSN). I was excited, and I bought it after release, hoping the lower price point would encourage more people to buy it.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered Section 8: Prejudice actually had a single player campaign worth playing.

There Actually IS a Story

The universe was built on the back of marines. They were bread to help colonize hostile environments, and then after they were no longer needed, they were abandoned by their government. Those who actually knew about what happened presumed they were dead.

It may not be the greatest, but the story is solid enough to keep your interest.

At least, that is what they thought until the Arm of Orion shows up, declaring vengeance  As Alex Corde of the 8th Armored Infantry, you must fight against these hardened marines as they strive to wipe out those descended from the people who betrayed them. You will find yourself fighting through various environments, watching your division suffer heavy losses as you strive to find a way to keep the Arm of Orion from succeeding.

Okay, so the story is not going to win any rewards, but there actually is one here. After playing through the multiplayer training disguised as a single player game in the original,  Prejudice’s story feels rather fleshed out, if a little cliche. There is enough here to keep you interested, and what is even more impressive it is is about 6-8 hours long, something rather unheard of for a $15 downloadable title.

Still, you do not play Section 8: Prejudice for the story. It’s just a nice little surprise to find it has one. The reason you play this game it its unique touches to multiplayer.

Still Just as Good

Those of us who actually played the first game recognized some very unique approaches to multiplayer gaming, and fortunately, they all make their return in Prejudice. The first thing this game does away with is poor spawn points. How, you ask? It eliminates spawn points entirely.

Spawn points? We don’t need no stinkin’ spawn points!

Confused? Let me explain. Your soldiers are launched onto the battlefield from overhead drop ships. This allows you to choose where you will drop onto the map bellow. You have free reign to drop anywhere, though areas where the enemy has anti-aircraft guns set up are not recommended as they will blow you out of the sky before you can land. Once you choose where you want to go, you are shoot out the ship, and you choose when to activate your landing jets. Activating them earlier can allow you to gain more control over where you land, but it can leave you a target for soldiers already one the battlefield. Waiting too long can lead to you not slowing down enough to avoid taking damage or even dying from colliding with the planet below.

As far as combat goes, players have both shield and health, and you must take both down to take out an opponent. This can be tough, cause the ability to activate overdrive, which allows you to move at a high rate of speed, and jump jets make many an enemy a fast moving target. To assist you in hitting them, you can activate a temporary aim lock. This can help you turn the tide in a fight, but relying on it too much will get you killed.

There are four multiplayer modes: Conquest, Swarm, Assault and Skirmish. To be honest, the one I spent the most time playing was Conquest, mainly because it was the most unique version of this mode I have ever seen. Yes you have the standard four control points, and the first team to reach the set score wins. You even have the ability to cash in your kills for vehicles, anti-aircraft turrets and other devices which aid your team. Seems pretty standard, right?

Why doesn’t every shooter let you switch load outs on the fly?

There are two major innovations Section 8: Prejudice adds, however. The first is the supply depots called down by you and your teammates actually allow you to switch load outs. As with many games, you can have multiple characters set up with different weapons and items. Well, the supply depots  allow you to switch them out without having to wait until you die.

The second is even more impressive. As you progress through the battle, your team can activate different missions. These can range from protect a caravan, help escort a VIP or protect a supply cache long enough to gain access to what is inside. If you can complete this mission, your team will score some major points. Not only do these missions help change up the gameplay, they can turn the tide in favor of a team which was getting destroyed.

I mentioned three other game modes, so I should probably touch on them a bit. Swarm is basically a hoard mode with a rather steep level of difficulty, even on lower levels. Assault separates teams into attackers and defenders battling over a control point. Skirmish is basically Conquest without the control points, making it the “deathmatch” of the series. While none of these other modes feel nearly as fleshed out as Conquest, they were all added free, so you cannot complain too much.

Worth the Play

Section 8: Prejudice is worth playing if you are looking for a new variation on the sci-fi shooter. With a nice if not overly inventive single player campaign and a relatively dedicated fanbase still playing multiplayer on PC, it would still be worth picking up on sale. Section 8: Prejudice gets an 8 out of 10.

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