An Unprejudiced Review
When looking at any sequel, one must consider the changes that have been made and whether these changes are for the better or worse. However, instead of making major changes to the formula, what TimeGate did with Section 8: Prejudice was give players something that looks and smells more appetizing but has the same flavor when it hits your palette. Considering the first game of the series was a decent enough play, this is not necessarily a bad thing. But Section 8 never reached the bar set by other first-person shooters. Prejudice follows the same road as its predecessor, with only a few surprises, but still a fairly satisfying experience that is downloadable for only a quarter of the cost of full retail games.
The story consists of this overused plotline: space marines swoop down onto planets to quell any kind of resistance, ultimately saving mankind from annihilation. The barely noteworthy story revolves around the Spear, a group of genetically-enhanced supersoldiers who plan to take revenge against all humans. As Captain Alex Corde, you and members of the 8th Armored Infantry must fight against the uprising and engage in suicidal missions in order to destroy the Spear. The clichéd plot is made even more lackluster by remedial scriptwriting and voice acting which, aside from refreshing Aussie accents, is chock full of the stereotypical soldier machismo. The lengthier campaign is an improvement to that of the first game, which can only be described as a multiplayer tutorial. But even so, with a story and characters that just don’t tug at your heart, it’s a struggle to find the incentive to finish the game.
As with Section 8, the focus of Prejudice is still on the multiplayer. Prejudice has some delightful multiplayer features, but is still missing that little bit of saffron to make it spiced just right. The Conquest mode holds up to thirty-two players in a score-based battle, blending together all the singular modes (Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, King of the Hill, etc.) Although there are only a handful of map options, each has a robust playing field with many control points and various natural and man-made environments. You gain currency by dispatching enemies and completing one of nine types of Dynamic Combat Missions, which range from airstrikes and convoys to jamming and recovery missions. You can then use the accumulated wealth to purchase turrets, supply points, and vehicles. The vehicles and mechs have their different fortes, but the aim and control of many weapons are poorly tuned, making them more detrimental than advantageous. Although respawning via the orbital drop system is clever and fun, the strategic element is hindered as you are often waylaid by anti-air weapons and enemy clustered control points.
The Spawn mode in multiplayer has a smaller yield of players, but keeps the action focused and satisfying as you defend an outpost against waves of AI controlled enemies. Because the maps are more confined, you are better able to coordinate battle tactics. You can place machine gun and missile turrets in choke areas where the enemies respawn and outfit each member with a supportive loadout.
The game includes a fairly standard selection of weapons: assault and sniper rifles, pistols, shotguns, missile launchers, and mines. Each loadout is customizable with a different array of ammunition that adjusts the range, accuracy, damage, and other elements of the weapon. This becomes very important in multiplayer, but in the single-player campaign, you’re rarely given enough detail about the upcoming mission to choose a proper set. Even with frequent supply points provided, switching to a different set may be the wrong choice. For example, you could find yourself being mowed down in close quarters combat holding a sniper rifle. A few unique features round out the capabilities of your character. There’s a repair tool option to fix destroyed enemy stations, an Overdrive function that allows you to cover large areas in a short time (as well as ram into opponents for heavy damage), and an infinitely useful jet pack that’s available from start to finish with only a short reload time. The ability to launch yourself onto any rooftop or over a group of enemies makes for great point placement both in single and multiplayer mode.
Section 8: Prejudice uses the Unreal Engine 3, the same as in Gears of War, making it one the cleanest and most visually-appealing downloadable games to date. There are many different environments to explore, from volcanic zones filled with ash to snow-laden mountain ridges. While the areas are vast, the game doesn’t do so well at keeping you in the playing field. Instead of the typical invisible or natural barriers which prevent you from straying too far, crossing the play boundary puts you in a restricted area with warning lights, sounds, and a voice prompting you that shutdown is imminent. There is never any explanation as to why you suddenly die if you fail to return.
With hefty map sizes comes some hindrances. The cookie-cutter crates and barriers pasted throughout the landscape leave a mark of unoriginality, and the buildings and areas you’d expect to have a sizable population are quite barren, with nary a civilian in sight.
As was mentioned before, the voice acting is pretty shoddy. Fortunately, however, the rest of the audio gets two thumbs up. Every weapon produces a different effect and every explosion sounds authentic. The music, while not likely to have you humming in your sleep, does a better job pulling you into the struggle than the actual story does. While the dialogue in the single-player campaign is awful, the quick “pat-on-the-back” lines in the multiplayer keep your morale boosted, only to deflate it just as quickly when you hear you’ve lost a control point or failed a Dynamic Combat Mission.
When all is said and done, Section 8: Prejudice doesn’t feel like a true upgrade to the original, and there’s plenty of room for improvement. But with a lengthier single player campaign, action-packed multiplayer battles, and the promise of more game modes in the near future, all for the bargain price of fifteen dollars (and no need to waste gas to pick it up), there’s certainly enough incentive to add it to your repertoire. Until the next big FPS blockbuster on your must-buy list is released, that is.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.7 Graphics
Large, beautifully created environments, but the man-made structures are too sterile and the programmers used the copy and paste far too often. 3.2 Control
Fairly easy to navigate for a FPS. The vehicle and aiming have been worked better on other shooters though, and need to be tightened here. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Aside from horrendous voice acting, everything else is spot on. 4.0 Play Value
While the single player story won’t hold your interest, there’s still more than enough packed into this download to keep you satisfied, at a price that can’t be beat. 3.6 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|