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Section 8: Prejudice Review (XBLA)

I was disappointed with the original Section 8; Not because I didn’t enjoy the gameplay. I did. I was disappointed because after a few weeks it was hard to get a game with a decent number of actual human players. I would join a server and play for half an hour, talking away to my team mates before I released I was playing on a server populated solely by bots.

Section 8: Prejudice, by TimeGate, aims to tackle some of the issues around the longevity of the original. First off there is a singleplayer campaign following Alex Corde, a member of the elite Section 8. The Conquest multiplayer mode is the meat of the game where 2 sides battle it out to control areas on the map and complete sub objectives. There is a new game mode, Swarm, where a team of 4 are faced with waves of computer controlled enemies and have to work together to fend them off. There is also the promise of new game modes being made available at a later date though it is not clear if these will be added in an update or be served as DLC.

The singleplayer feels like a very long tutorial for the multiplayer. The player is constantly reminded what their objective is and how to complete it. At one point you are granted the cash to call in a vehicle from the dropship with no explanation as to how you came by this cash or how you might get more of it. They simply fit the singleplayer game around the multiplayer mechanics. The singleplayer story itself suffers from Call of Duty syndrome. You are constantly nagged by your team mates and flashing visual indicators mark every destination meaning there is no real thought involved just mind numbing go-here do-this gameplay.

The Conquest mode is where the game really shines. Two sides battle for control of various points on the map and you get more points the more you control. The winner is the team to hit the designated point total before the other team.
You are presented with an overview of the map and can choose where you are dropped into the action. Both the player and the enemy can capture or deploy anti air guns which are very effective at killing enemies trying to drop directly into your control point. I found as I played that I liked being a defender most of the time. I liked setting up defences at a control point and then holding off any enemies who tried to take it.

The sub objective or DCMS (Dynamic Combat Missions) appear randomly or can be activated by players. These provide bonus points for completing objectives like calling in an airstrike, escorting a convoy or protecting a VIP. The enemy is also notified of these DCMS and will gain points for stopping you from completing the objective.

You gain cash for killing enemies and completing objectives. This cash can be used to call in items from the dropship. You can call in supply depots, gun and missile turrets, tanks and various other items to help take and hold the control points. My favourite is the mech suit, allowing you to stomp around the battlefield filling enemies with hot lead and in some cases crushing them with your giant mech arms.

The Swarm mode is your standard wave defense game mode. You have one control point and it must be defended against the waves of computer controlled enemies. Like with Conquest mode you gain cash for killing enemies which can be used to call down items to help you with your defense.

One way Section 8: Prejudice is trying to increase its longevity is with the introduction of a levelling and unlock system reminiscent of every other FPS game that has been out the past few years. As you play in ranked matches you will gain xp and level up and at certain levels you will unlock new weapons, armour, attachments etc. Some unlocks require you to obtain certain achievements while playing singleplayer or multiplayer. The achievement I like best but have, as yet, been unable to obtain is for killing an enemy by dropping onto them from the dropship.

All in all there is plenty in Section 8: Prejudice to keep players entertained. The number of sub objectives and different play styles mean that no two Conquest matches are ever the same. With the promise of new game modes there might just be more life in it than in the original.

6 destroyed deployables out of 10

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