by Jeff Gates
reviewed on X360
Digital market caters to smaller players
The industry has changed. It is no longer a necessity for developers to seek a publisher to place their games on a disc in order to reach a wide audience. This means that intellectual properties that are not traditionally seen as popular by publishers can move to the digital market to possibly gross a decent income. This idea is based on the fact that a downloadable game is typically cheaper to produce and often costs less than a retail title and therefore it is more appealing to consumers.
Section 8: Prejudice is a prime example of this philosophy. Its forebear Section 8, released in September of 2009, has sold just over 225,000 copies worldwide since release. This underwhelming number forced its developer Timegate to defect from the financial safety blanket of a publisher to produce and market Section 8: Prejudice all on its own for XBLA, PC and PSN.
The game is named after the 8th Armored Infantry who received the pseudonym “Section 8” for always being eager to take on risky assignments (no, I don’t get it either). The player takes control of Captain Alex Corde just as the team attempts to eliminate the last of their recurring adversary: the Arm of Orion. Conveniently for their future employment, this final confrontation brings them head-to-head with a new and much more dangerous threat: The Spear. This rogue group was one of the first Armored Infantry battalions and now it seeks revenge for past government testing and general disgust towards humankind for its warmongering ways.
While the plot isn't anything new and it is slow to start, it does deliver some great moments. While I cannot go into details of these great moments for fear of spoiling the campaign for you, I can tell you that the general storyline is plagued with inconsistencies. One obvious example of these is naturally the very method The Spear opposes the warmongering ways if humankind: by starting a fight.
Three games in one
The gameplay of Section 8: Prejudice is rather diverse, offering three separate ways to enjoy the game, the first of these being the traditional single-player.
Despite the fluctuations of the story, the single-player campaign is surprisingly entertaining and rewarding. Difficult boss battles and large-scale conflicts make for tense moments that will help you get reacquainted with your inner rage. The player has the choice of being very strategic or diving head-first into combat using nothing but their rifle and a heavy dose of jetpack with no regard for their own lives. For the tactical gamer, things like deployable supply depots and missile turrets can be dropped in to assist against an onslaught of enemies, and mechs and bikes offer a fun alternative to using the avatar.
Surprisingly good campaign, diverse strategic gameplay, Swarm is great co-op fun
Underwhelming sound, unbalanced AI, nothing we haven’t seen before