by Jeff Gates
reviewed on X360
Three games in one (cntd)
The second play mode, 32-player Conquest, is not reinventing the genre but it is sufficient. In the previous game there was great potential in the multiplayer, but it fell short because of the type of people who were playing it. Gamers whose strategic abilities have been dulled thanks to Call of Duty turned what is a very team-oriented experience into an “every-man-for-himself” ordeal.
Our time with Section 8: Prejudice did not consist of player matches but instead of offline bot matches. While we cannot definitively say whether or not the multiplayer has been improved in the sequel to nullify the above-mentioned issue, it does seem like the team aspect flows better. The modes still exist that require strong team support but a few good friends should be able to swing the tide in most matches.
The third mode, Swarm, is advertised as “the game mode where FPS meets Tower Defense.” This is where all the fun and gameplay of Section 8: Prejudice comes together in one great 4-player co-op event. Again, this is nothing new; it’s a fairly typical horde mode with a lot of strategic elements. Yet time and time again, game after game this proves to be a winning formula and fortunately that’s the case for this title as well.
Section 8: Prejudice looks pretty good for a digital title. Running on the Unreal Engine, the game boasts strong lighting effects and believable vehicles and creatures, even if the textures are a little weak. While the visuals are cool they are nothing we haven’t seen before: the buildings, vehicles and even the characters are all similar to the many other sci-fi shooters of the past. In fact, this holds true for the campaign as well: there is one point in the campaign that appeared to be strongly influenced by Halo 2 multiplayer map Coagulation.
An irritation we came across in regards to the gameplay is the repair tool which is simply too powerful. This device allows players and AI to fix their armor and health while in combat. However, at points it becomes very irritating to find oneself shooting at the same character for 20 seconds and seeing that not only isn't his health deteriorating but in fact it’s getting better because the AI is using the repair tool.
When you factor in how slowly your avatar moves, this game can become unreasonably frustrating. What would typically be the walking speed in most titles is the pace at which you run in Section 8. This quirk continues into the Overdrive mechanic, which is a speed burst ability. It takes about 5 seconds of “sprinting” for the Overdrive to kick in. It may not seem like a long time but when you are in the heat of battle it is tedious to say the least. I imagine the slow pace is designed to induce the use of more strategic methods in combat but it just makes the game more annoying.
The AI is another thorn in my side. While sometimes very aggressive and challenging there are other instances where you will find the enemy standing in corners and staring at walls. It is as if some of them are strong, intelligent and willing soldiers while others are the Opum of the gaming world - seemingly waiting for you to pass by and maybe even offering a friendly nod as you obliterate their defences or a “How do ya do?” as you stab a knife into the neck of their squad members.
Well worth it
With Section 8: Prejudice you are given three enjoyable experiences all wrapped into one 15 dollar package. This game does not innovate or rejuvenate the genre in any way but neither does it hamper it. It is well worth its price. The story is entertaining, the gameplay is diverse, and the modes are distinct. The deficiencies of the original Section 8 are for the most part gone, and it does not feel as if Section 8: Prejudice fell short of its potential like its predecessor.
Surprisingly good campaign, diverse strategic gameplay, Swarm is great co-op fun
Underwhelming sound, unbalanced AI, nothing we haven’t seen before