Section 8: Prejudice Review
Not too long ago, we got a chance to preview Section 8: Prejudice. After that taste, we couldn’t wait to see how the full version of the game (which is only $15!) would turn out. Now we’ve played it, and honestly, you should too.
Prejudice, a download-only title that is now available on XBox Live Arcade, is a first-person shooter that chronicles the exploits of the 8th Armored Infantry. When you first see the game, you may feel the urge to write it off as “just another Halo clone.” This is an urge you would do well to resist. It may look like Halo, but as you dig into the game, you’ll find game play that is very distinctive.
Section 8: Prejudice (PS3 [Reviewed], XBox360, PC)
Release Date: August 02, 2011
First up was the campaign mode. Having only played two missions in the preview, I was wondering how the singleplayer would shake out. Prejudice offers a campaign that can be finished in about five hours, which is about what we’re coming to expect from most full-priced FPS titles these days. One of the highlights is a level late in the game that requires you to retreat through enemy troops while avoiding massive mining lasers that will kill you on contact. That’s not to say that the campaign is perfect, but even with its somewhat bland writing and voice acting, it can comfortably stand next to high-profile titles and make a solid showing.
The campaign mode really isn’t the focus of Prejudice, though. Instead, it’s a story-based way to introduce you to all the goodies you’ll be using in multiplayer. Because of this, there are plenty of new toys to try out throughout the story, including vehicles, weapons and even a mech suit. All of these set the stage for where Prejudice really shines: multiplayer.
Prejudice’s multiplayer is loaded with options and balanced as well as anything out there right now. Much like 1998′s Starsiege: Tribes, success on this battlefield is tied to being able to move and think in three dimensions. The ‘Overdrive’ sprinting system and jetpacks mean that if you can’t do anything but wander around on the ground, you’re going to get squashed.
Camping is also a thing of the past here, as Prejudice’s spawn system has you dropping in from 15,000 feet to any spot on the battlefield you choose, as well as crushing anyone you land on into a squishy mess. Of course, the opposing team can choose to deploy Anti-Air turrets that will blot you from the sky on your way down, so it’s not a license to kill on its own.
Further enhancing the multiplayer offering is Prejudice’s unlock system, which avoids many pitfalls of similar systems. There really are no filler items here. Everything is useful, from the repair tool that also functions as a medkit to new armor and ammo types. You can save numerous custom loadouts from the main menu, and switch between them on the fly at any supply station in game.
At present, there are only two multiplayer modes, but the game’s menu has a placeholder titled “Coming Soon.” We don’t pretend to know what this means, and when we asked, we were told only this: “TimeGate Studios has robust plans for post-launch support of Section 8: Prejudice.”
The first mode is Swarm, which teams you up with three other player to attempt to defend a control point against an AI assault. Success requires that you survive 15 minutes without the AI taking over the point, and that’s no foregone conclusion. It’s reminiscent of Survival in Left 4 Dead, where each successive wave of enemies is more and more difficult to defeat.
Conquest is the other mode, and it’s a full-on, 32-player competitive battle. Players fight for control of 4 control points. Holding these earns points, and the first team to reach a preset number wins. You can also earn points by killing opponents, defending capture points, or through what Prejudice calls DCMs.
DCMs are Dynamic Combat Missions. There are nine different types of DCMs, and either team can trigger one depending on how many points the opposition holds. You’ll find yourself attempting to assassinate an enemy VIP, gathering wreckage, or guarding a convoy to name a few. These DCMs earn larger amounts of Victory Points than simple kills do, and those Victory Points are important not only to your score, but to your strategy.
Victory Points can be spent by a player to purchase deployables, such as minigun turrets, anti-air turrets, or supply stations. They can also get you a vehicle, like the aforementioned mech suit, but also including a hover bike and a friggin’ tank. Even with all these options, I still never felt that the game was anything but meticulously balanced.
One other additional feature TimeGate is rolling into Prejudice is the Stats Portal. This portal will let you link your XBox Live, Games for Windows Live, or PlayStation Network account to the portal, and from there track your stats, and those of all the folks playing the game. This is also where you can track clan stats, create a clan, upload a logo, and even search for and apply to clan. It’s a nice bit of integration for a downloadable title.
Overall, Section 8: Prejudice presents an amazing anomaly to today’s gamer. It’s a fully featured FPS with a robust multiplayer system that costs exactly the same as a Call of Duty map pack. Its graphics aren’t cutting-edge, and it still has a few rough edges (primarily in singleplayer). Despite all that, it’s still hands down the best multiplayer shooter I’ve played this year. Trust me, you won’t spend a better $15 on gaming in 2011. It’s on XBox Live now, coming to PC on May 4, and slated for PSN this summer.
- Well-balanced multiplayer
- Serviceable campaign that prepares you for multiplayer
- Amazing variety in online play with only 2 game modes
- Stats portal and clan features
- Price. It’s $15!!
- Dated graphics
- Bland voice acting
- Uninspired writing