Most of the Steam sale madness has finally died down now that the holiday season is behind us. I’ll probably be writing full reviews of several titles I picked up recently, but for the moment I want to give my first impressions of a game I bought at the behest of His Majesty TotalBiscuit, Ye Olde King of the Web. The game is called Section 8: Prejudice.
It comes to us from a little studio called TimeGate, proving that if you can get your hands on the Unreal engine, you can actually do something new with a genre as storied as the first-person shooter. There will be people who say this particular type of gaming is either stagnant or dragging down all of gaming as a whole, with the behavior of kiddies on X-Box Live and the proliferation of chest-high walls, regenerating health and brownish-gray environments featuring brownish-gray player avatars. To those people, in addition to just about anything Valve does, I’d point to Section 8 as evidence that their argument is full of shit.
The basic premise is that the titular Section 8 is a division of what amounts to the Mobile Infantry as Heinlein envisioned it: dudes in powered armor dropped from orbit into global hotspots to dispense death at range. The antagonists are the similarly-equipped Arm of Orion and as to why they’re fighting, I can’t say. There’s a single-player campaign, but I’ve only played about five minutes of it at time of writing. I wanted to drop right into the multi-player.
And drop I did. You see, instead of having a specific spawn point, you begin by looking at an overhead map of the battlefield. You can see your control points, mission objectives and even movements of your teammates and opponents. Clicking on the map selects a drop point, and you begin the round by hurtling from your dropship onto the battlefield below. It’s probably the most involving respawn timer I’ve seen in a game like this for a very long time.
There are some superficial similarities to Halo what with gents in powered armor only carrying two ranged weapons at a time, but the gameplay couldn’t be more different. The sprint/overdrive mechanic and the jetpack built into your suit gives you incredible mobility, which you better be taking advantage of. Each control point, once hacked & secured, can give you access to your different loadouts on the fly. You have a lock-on feature with a cooldown period you can use to quickly shoot down an enemy. And yes, go back two lines – you have a jetpack. Just watch out for AA turrets.
As you work to support your team and seize objectives, you’ll earn points and cash. Points contribute towards your level and unlocking new ammo variants and other goodies. Cash can be used in-game to purchase equipment like the aforementioned turrets, tanks, speeders and mech suits. I’ve tried a couple different bits of equipment and the vehicle handling seems all right. It definitely adds even more variety to an already involving and exciting game. The maps themselves also add diversity through Dynamic Combat Missions, or DCMs, which range from securing intel to escorting a VIP across the battlefield. The more of these you complete, the more points your team earns and the more goodies you can unlock. It’s a lot more interesting than just camping a point.
Suffice it to say I’m glad I picked this up during the Steam sale and I’ll probably be playing more of it in the days to come. You can see more gameplay in the video below, and if you’re interested, I’d highly recommend picking it up. Be aware that it does use Games for Windows Live as it’s also available on the X-Box 360, but I say don’t let that stop you.