The New Old School
TimeGate Studios’ newest outing into the realm of first-person shooters provides for a polarizing experience. On the surface, the mix of old school shooter feel and innovative multiplayer features seemingly creates a very deep and highly enjoyable experience. After prolonged play however, a number of glaring issues manifest themselves. This ultimately leads to Section 8 being an occasionally exciting experience, with a lot of unfulfilled potential.
The Sky is Falling
Section 8 includes a single-player campaign titled “Corde’s Story”, which follows Alex Corde, the newest recruit of the 8th Armored Infantry, as he battles the Arm of Orion. While providing a coherent plot and semi-linear gameplay, the very short single-player campaign proves itself to be no more than a tutorial for the multiplayer experience. And Section 8 is above all a team-based multiplayer shooter.
Forgoing static spawn points, and the grieving that can go along with them, Section 8 allows players to “burn in” to the battlefield. Players are able to view an overhead dynamic map of the action and choose any point at which to deploy their avatar, adding a tactical element to respawning. One can choose to deploy directly into an enemy base, along-side teammates, or in a remote area. Every respawn provides for a differing tactical advantage and experience.
Before burning in however, players have the option of choosing their loadout, which includes two weapons, two types of equipment, and passive modules. The standard fare of weapons is included, such as assault rifles, machine guns, pistols, sniper rifles and rocket launchers. The different types of equipment are more varied with options like grenades, mortars, and repair tools. Passive modules however, add an interesting role-playing aspect to the game, allowing players to slightly customize various attributes such as shield strength, weapon recoil, and run speed.
A number of default classes exist with preset loadouts, such as the Assault class and the Engineer class, but Section 8 also allows for complete customization. In conjunction with the ability to spawn anywhere on the map, the class customization feature allows for complex tactical considerations before a match has even started. For example, when utilizing an assault-type class, the player might want to burn in directly into a large firefight, whereas a sniper-type character might be most effective by dropping in far from an ongoing battle.
Once on the battlefield, a number of other features provide for an exciting and adrenaline-pumping one-on-one shooter experience. Avatars in Section 8 have a large number of hit points. Combining this with regenerative shields results in long periods of intense shooting to take down an enemy.
A number of movement options add to both the difficulty and excitement of firefights. First, and perhaps most thrilling, is the ability to use jetpacks. Soaring high above your enemies while firing a copious amount of bullets is always satisfying, especially when they are unable to aim precisely in return.
Players also have the ability to run with a speed boost. After holding down the run key for a short period of time, the in-game character will enter an accelerated run as the camera pans back providing a third-person view. It is very useful for traversing the extremely large maps and escaping from potentially fatal situations.
Refreshing respawn option and great character customization.
The team spirit is hard to find in its current player base.