This week sees the sequel to a game which was released back in 2009 and was met by mixed reviews, but did spawn a huge fan base. Fast forward to 2011 and the sequel is set to hit the Xbox Live Arcade, PC and PSN as a fully downloadable only title. The game in question is none other than Section 8: Prejudice. So is it going to be a thrill a minute free fall from orbit? Or is it just another trooper who’s lost his mind on the battlefield?
Section 8: Prejudice is developed by TimeGate Studios and is a game of two halves. First off there is the huge online side of the game which pits up to 32 players against each other over vast battlefields to see who will come out on top. The other half is a 5 hour standalone campaign which picks up where the first games’ story finished off.
In the campaign side of things you return to Section 8 as Alex Corde, a member of the 8th Armoured Infantry or elite force known as Section 8. The squad’s name, Section 8, is derived from the US military discharge regulation for reasons of being mentally unfit to service. It is the unit’s nickname because of their participation in near-suicidal missions which you would have to be Insane to accept.
The game starts where the first left off with you trying to get information out of the leader of the Arm of Orion who is being held in a secure location. It comes to light that the Arm of Orion has vast amounts of information on the government and Section 8. It becomes clear that they’re not going to get any information out of him, but while this is going on a shadowy figure is stalking the base and soon starts picking off the outer guards. Turns out that this is the start of a jail break.
The first mission sees the Arm of Orion break their leader out of jail and, with the help of this shadowy character, throw the base into chaos. This is the start of what is an explosive campaign which sees Corde and his men fighting to stay alive and to get to the bottom of what is really going on and who is really pulling the strings.
The campaign sees you fighting from sun kissed valleys and frozen wastelands, to volcanic backdrops in what is a thrill a minute story with lots of twists and turns. The campaign is also a great way for newcomers to the series to get to grips with the controls and weapons in the game, which will help you when you head online. It will also give you a great upper hand when it comes to learning the maps used in multiplayer, as the game uses the locations from the campaign like Crysis 2 and Reach.
You play as a super solider in Section 8: Prejudice who wears a power armour suit which provides damage absorption and augmented mobility. It also gives you super speed and the ability to activate vertical thrust. The suit allows you to have a lock on system which aids you greatly online and in the campaign. In short, you are a fully loaded badass.
The suit is key to the gameplay in Prejudice as it gives you the upper hand in fire fights as well as letting you re-spawn on the battlefield anywhere you like. This is one of the standout features of the game and is called “Burn-in”. When you spawn and respawn in multiplayer you are shot out of a drop ship and rocket towards the surface, dodging the anti-air fire and having to hit the brakes at the right time for the perfect landing. Or you could just land right on top of an enemy which works just as well.
Along with your armour, you are armed to the teeth with an array of weapons from SMG to rocket launchers and everything in between. The game has a great selection of fire power to choose from as every weapon comes with at least three different ammo types from solid slugs to EMP rounds.There’s something for all the gun nuts and an endless array of combos, although this will come into it’s own in multiplayer.
For the game being download only, the team at TimeGate have done an outstanding job on the how the game looks and sounds. In fact it looks even better than the original I would say. The game is also full of really nice little touches, like when you are fighting in the snow and you look at your squad, you can see ice forming on there armour.
When it comes to multiplayer, this is where the game shines and really takes off. The online side of things sees 32 players battle it out in conquest mode, a capture and hold mode where there are 2 to 3 points on the map and the team that holds them the longest wins. With most of the maps being lifted from campaign, they are pretty huge and see you fight in some great locations; again the frozen wasteland is a standout map for me. The “Burn-in” feature really comes in to it’s own online, letting a squad of players drop in anywhere on the map. The start of the games are often a frantic race to see who hits the surface first and capture the points. So expect lots of fire fights from the get go.
On top of the standard gun play, you are also able to call in deployables like mini-guns and rocket turrets to help defend a point from attackers. There are also more helpful things like sensor arrays (radar) and supply depots which will help the whole team. Then there’s the really fun stuff like Mechs, tanks and, new to the series, bikes which change the way the battle is going as it forces a team to pick anti-vehicle load outs if they hope to stand a chance. All of these cool toys can be bought by spending “Requisition Points” which you are awarded every time you get a kill or perform a support action.
Online matches are kept fresh also by Dynamic Combat Missions which change from game to game. These see the team having to do things like defending convoys or a VIP, collecting Intel which is scattered across the battlefield, or just eliminate the enemy team. This is a great feature for online play as it really adds to the feeling that the battle isn’t just focused on 2 or 3 points, but that it is a real warzone as it stops players from just camping in at the points and forces them to complete the missions for larger amounts of Requisition Points and to help the whole team to victory. It also ensures that no two multiplayer games are ever the same.
The game also has a horde style mode called Swarm which sees a squad of four players having to hold down a point on the map for 15 minutes, while wave after wave of enemies try to capture the point back. This is a great mode to play with friends as the waves get harder as the clock ticks downs. And it forces the squad to work together and to cover each other in the heat of the battle.
The game also has a support website with full online stat tracking which lets you check out where you sit on the leaderboard for a number of things and also lets you manage and run a CLAN from the site with ease.
TimeGate have unveiled a loyalty rewards program for Section 8 fans in the form of unlocks for online play. Anyone who played the original Section 8 will instantly unlock Aegis Armor and the Reactive Plating upgrade, while those who reached Level 25 will additionally unlock the Ablative Layering upgrade. If you were Level 50 you will unlock an Explosives Amplifier upgrade. It’s great to see TimeGate giving the fans something back in the new game for all the time they spent playing the original.
Section 8: Prejudice is an outstanding downloadable game that plays well and looks beautiful at times. This is a must buy for fans of the first game and players who enjoy games like Crysis 2 and Reach. But for newcomers there is also more than enough to take their mind away from the likes of CoD and Gears, especially at the 1200 MSPoints/ £9.99 price tag.
Lock and load