by Max Keogh
previewed on PC
A brand new IP
It is fair to say that developers of First-Person Shooters have not really taken any chances. Most games place the player in settings and situations that he is already familiar with, making it –look- new rather than –be- new. Granted, more recent offerings such as inFAMOUS and Prototype have attempted to bring something new to the table. TimeGate is looking to add their latest game to this list as well.
Section 8 involves the player fighting upon the war-torn planets of tomorrow. Mankind has spread out to the stars, colonizing remote planets to delve for resources no longer found on Earth. But large empires are hard to control. Colonies rebel. To deal with the insurrection on New Madrid, Earth unleashes a special unit called Section 8. This brutal and armed to the teeth group of men gets all the dirty jobs, and guess what? You’re one of them.
Whilst the plot does not seem to break any new ground, Section 8 definitely seems to have its own nifty ideas, which make it look like a potentially fresh, inspired First-Person Shooter.
Making it unpredictable
TimeGate Studios aims to give players a wide range of tools and abilities to do things their own way. In doing so, they promote a high level of ‘randomness’ in the game, making gameplay both varied and unpredictable. This philosophy can be seen pretty much anywhere you look. Players can customize their load options for their weapons and they can even chose where they want to spawn. Oh wait… It’s not quite spawning what you do in Section 8.
Rather than having you spawn on preset spawn points, TimeGate wanted to give players some control over where they would appear on the battlefield. You enter the combat zone by dropping from 1000’s of feet from the sky. This drop is called “burning in”. Closing in on the planet’s surface, you will slowly see more of the situation on the ground. Luckily, you can influence where you will land. Your power armor is equipped with boosters, allowing you to break and drift towards an area of your choice.
Ah, but not so fast. You can’t just barrel down into whatever area you like. There are some restrictions here. Before you drop, you can see blotches of red that indicate areas that are so heavily defended by anti-air guns that you would never make it down in one piece. Best not to jump there eh?
Dynamic Combat Missions
One of the key components of Section 8 are the ‘Dynamic Combat Missions’. In multiplayer games, the player can
choose whether he wants to participate in missions that will be generated by the game specifically tailored to the player and his team.
The dynamic combat system looks at the team composition and the team’s actions to generate an impromptu mission. There are many ways to trigger a particular mission and much like the game’s varied core gameplay ideas; the ‘dynamic combat missions’ are not short in variety. One objective for the team could involve somebody escorting a VIP from one control point to another control point, or to destroy a convoy before it reaches its destination.
There is also another type of mission in the game called Counter Dynamic Combat Mission. Every time a mission is given to one side of the war, the other side will be asked to do the opposite. The more Dynamic Combat missions the player and team complete, the more rewards they will receive. These rewards will help contribute your victory on the field of battle.
There is no denying that Section 8 has ambitions, It does seem to utilize otherwise simple and familiar game play mechanics to provide an experience with more depth than your average shooter.
The Dynamic Combat Missions are certainly more fun than the chewed out standard capture the flag missions seen in so many other shooters. While somewhat similar to Medal of Honor: Airborne, the concept of “Burning in” on the battlefield is sure to add some spice to multiplayer gaming as well. In fact, from everything we have seen so far, the game may well turn out to be a multiplayer hit.