Friday, May 6, 2011

Section 8: Prejudice Review

Section 8: Prejudice

Developer: TimeGate Studios
Publisher: Xbox LIVE Arcade
Platform(s): Xbox 360 (XBLA), PlayStation 3 (PSN), PC
Genre: Action & Adventure, Shooter
Release Date: April 20th 2011
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points, $15

Section 8 launched as a retail game in 2009 with mixed reviews due to some flaws in the game. TimeGate Studios took the brave decision to release a sequel straight to XBLA, PSN, and PC for $15. Has it paid off? Read on and find out.

Prejudice continues the story shortly after the original game. You play as Captain Corde tasked with wiping up the remaining forces that betrayed your side, a group of genetically engineered soldiers created by the military. The campaign is spread across several levels differing in terrain which involve completing objectives such as the usual run and gun, providing cover fire for your squad and infiltration missions. Vehicles also make up a portion of the game and see you drive a hover-bike with the aim to destroy key targets to progress. There is a bit of everything which keeps the game interesting.

A decent number of weapons and equipment are available and can be interchanged at Supply Depots found during the levels. The usual fare of assault, machine and sniper guns can be chosen and can be modified with different types of ammunition. For example, assault guns have four mods available; Rail Rounds offer long-range distance while Slug Rounds give great damage on enemies armour but are weaker when shooting their shields. At easier difficulties the mods are not a necessity but on hard it can make a very noticeable difference. Your player also has two very handy additions to his capabilities; a super sprint which engages after a few seconds of normal sprinting which gives you a lengthy boost in speed and a jet pack which allows several seconds of flight.

The campaign is of (now) average length, taking around five hours to complete. Considering this is a downloadable game it rivals boxed games such as Homefront in length. While the original campaign was seen by many as an added bonus, Prejudice does have some thought and the campaign is enjoyable to play. Overall the game is quite easy though I noticed that in the hard difficulty there were a few sections in the game that were overly hard compared to others. An example is a level where you have to escort a tank to its destination. I had little issue with the game up to this point and then the difficulty ramps up to insane as you try to kill enemies and repair the tank at the same time, if the tank is destroyed it is game over!

The multiplayer side of the game is what everyone will be buying the game for. The Conquest mode has four large maps which may sound few in number but these can each be split into three smaller maps effectively giving you twelve. Support for up to 32 players in a game is impressive, these can be hosted either on official TimeGate Servers, dedicated servers hosted by a player or finally an offline mode. You can add bots to make up the numbers if there are not enough human players. One feature that is lacking is a lobby to invite friends in to and join a game. This can result in a mad scramble, firstly to join a friends game and hope you can get in and secondly be on the same team. This is a near standard feature in multiplayer games and surprisingly it is missing!

Conquest plays like modes found on games such as Bad Company 2 where you must capture a location and try to keep possession for as long as possible. Prejudice adds a further element with Dynamic Combat Missions (DCM) which are random team missions such as collecting intel, escorting a convoy or securing a location. Successfully completing a DCM will reward your team with extra points, failing will give your opponents some points. DCM are a great feature which integrates playlists such as Capture The Flag or VIP into the game, it adds considerably to the dynamics of the game ensuring no two feel the same.

Deployables are another addition and are a replacement of sorts for killstreaks. These are purchased with the money you earn from completing objectives or killing enemies and come in a few varieties. Mini gun and rocket turrets keep infantry and vehicles at bay and anti-aircraft turrets take out airborne infantry when they are drop shipping. Vehicles can also be deployed and include hover-bikes, mech units and tanks, all of which can be used by your player. The deployables introduce a great tactical edge to the game, especially the anti-aircraft turrets as they limit where your opponents can drop from orbit.

The second multiplayer mode is Swarm which is a take on the popular hoard mode. Swarm is playable over 12 maps and 5 difficulties up to insane. Four players, a mixture of human or bots, must defend a location against waves of increasingly difficult enemy opponents. As with the Conquest mode, deployables can be used which gives a feel of playing tower defense style game. If done well, hoard games can be extremely fun game to play and Swarm seems to have the balance just right. A third mode is planned but has not yet been announced what it is yet, my guess would be something along the lines of the Bad Company 2 Onslaught mode.

For your 1200 :MSPoints: / $15 you get a five hour campaign and two great multiplayer games with Conquest and Swarm. TimeGate have managed to squeeze in a lot into that 1.8GB download which compared to some boxed games in terms of content and value is amazing. Prejuidice is yet another online first person shooter but it has enough difference to make it stand out from the Call of Duty clones. I can easily see this replacing my regular online shooter Bad Company 2. Seriously, it’s that good!

Campaign is fairly good but the game excels in the online modes. The lack of a lobby system for friends to join is inexcusable though!
Great looking graphics thanks to the Unreal engine. There are some occasional texture popup but nothing that spoils the game.
Music and sounds are reasonable but nothing memorable.
9.0Final Score

You can find more information about Section 8: Prejudice at

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