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Review

Review: Section 8

It's just dropped in.

One franchise that has sadly skipped the PS3 is Halo. The story is excellent, graphics improve with every new game and the multiplayer, well let’s just say Halo 2 was still being played up until recently. It is a brilliant game by all accounts and if anything that resembled it appeared on the PS3, I would gladly jump right in. That’s where Section 8 comes in. I’m not saying it was trying to imitate Halo’s finesse but it is very, very similar. Although, you’ve probably not heard much about this game. Section 8 is a sci-fi shooter. That pretty much sums it up.

The main focus of Section 8 is multiplayer, there is no denying that. The very first option you are given is the online side of things and the majority of the trophies are for the multiplayer. Once you enter a game, you can choose to burn-in (rocket in from the sky) freely or land right next to a squad member. Most players choose the more exciting approach and I constantly found myself trying to land on one of the enemies. It can be done but it requires a lot of luck. This is by far the most exciting bit of the gameplay but you must still be careful where you aim; the enemy can easily set up anti-aircraft guns.

Matches allow up to 32 players and are based around capturing and defending objectives (like the campaign). Players are given limited use of jet-packs and a lock-on ability, allowing the player to drop in all guns blazing or sneak past enemy defences and pick out the most dangerous targets. There is also a set of classes to choose from with the normal range of weapons available, from sniper rifles and pistols to assault rifles and RPGs, and perk-style add-ons can also be customised to perfect your load-out. The lock-on ability is great for RPGs and its limited use helps keep things fair. Vehicles can be called in for use if you rack up a big enough kill streak but they did seem overly complicated to use. Along with the capture and defend objectives are small, optional missions. These can range from defending intel to assassinating a key opponent and really help to keep players on their toes.

Controlling your character does work well though. If you are a fan of shooters then everything is in the “right place.” Obviously there are some slight alterations to accommodate the jet-pack but the main controls are consistent with other games. I would say that shooting while using your jet pack is very difficult but I expected nothing less. Judging the amount of damage you’ve dealt can also be hard to see and sometimes I felt as though I was only shooting at an opponent to see the shield and health meters lower, making the process rather dry.

Below the multiplayer mode in the main menu lies instant action allowing you to play against bots (who also fill any extra spaces online). Although this may seem like a nice addition, the AI are ultimately too easy to defeat. Your squad mates in the campaign also follow this trend. No matter how much they shoot at an enemy, very little damage will be done and at times they can be seen simply running in circles.

Section 8 does also offer a campaign mode but it feels a little tacked on. With a handful of levels and the gameplay consisting of run here, capture this and defend, you could easily go through the story in a few hours. It basically acts as a tutorial for the online mode helping you to understand the burn-in feature, test drive the vehicles and find the class most suited to your style but this could have easily been summed up in a twenty minute tutorial, similar to Warhawk.

The story is quite weak and I never felt the slightest twinge when what’s-his-name was killed but it is a great warm-up and some of the cut-scenes look very good. Less can be said for the characters models and a few textures. I noticed during the campaign they sometimes took a very long time to load, making me wonder what they did optimize during the extra development time. However, the battlefields are extensive and the buildings and vehicles hold up well visually, which is great for when you use the suit’s high-speed running ability. As I’ve said before, the gameplay is very repetitive and hardly challenging. If you do die, then you simple respawn from the sky and continue from where you left off. Exactly like the multiplayer. Not once did I feel under pressure from the enemy, or even that I was going to fail the mission.

If you don’t enjoy online warfare then I’d steer clear of this game. It is perfect for those looking to fill the Halo void but don’t expect the story to be of the same standard. There are plenty of other games offering the same experience but if the campaign mode was removed and some niggles fixed, we could’ve had the next Warhawk. Albeit in first person.

Pros

  • Spawning is actually fun
  • Solid multiplayer experience

Cons

  • Campaign lacks any form of story
  • Some graphics already look aged

A fun online experience but I can’t see this continuing to be played long into the future with so many other shooters available. The story may be a littleĀ lacklustreĀ but if you simply treat it as a lengthy tutorial, you’ll have a great time online.

Score: 7/10

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