Section 8-SKIDROW



Section 8

TimeGate Studios are a developer well known for their release of the Kohan real time strategy series which was a favourite with the gaming community a few years ago. They tried to push the boundaries of the genre and for the most part it worked well. They were also responsible for the F.E.A.R. Expansions - Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate. Today we review their latest game, a multiplayer focused shooter.
While taking control of a futuristic soldier in space armor seems like a very overused concept the structuring and implementation of the game is surprisingly fresh. Fans of the game Tribes might notice the jetpack homage but in reality the games have very little in common. Imagine a ‘Halo’ title with a much wider Battlefield style multiplayer mechanic and you are getting close.
As a single player FPS it is not wonderful and this is generally due to the artificial intelligence of the bots themselves. They are largely quite stupid however the single player does serve as a good way to get into the many facets for the online experience.
Corde’s Story is the single player element of the game and you play this on the planet of New Madrid which is the setting for the entire game. Taking control of Corde you fight your way through a series of objectives, pairing up with various characters to tell the story of what Section 8 (otherwise known as the space marines) are doing on the planet and who they are fighting. If you play through Corde’s story you will have a fair idea of how to handle yourself later with other human players.
The game starts with you falling down from the sky with fire on all sides towards a hostile battleground and it is a great mechanic the developers use for ‘respawning’ into the environment. You can choose where you wish to land and even put on landing brakes just before hitting the ground to allow for a more effective entrance. There are some areas of the map which you can’t target due to anti air flak but I like the fact that the developer is changing the concept from a boring stopwatch timer. This also means that you can never be sure of where the enemy will appear as you could be running into a freefall hotzone with a few troopers respawning behind you from the sky above.
While in the sky you are presented with another option, your loadout selection options. Section 8 is a class based game with characters such as snipers for recon and long distance attacks, an anti armor unit and an engineer to repair. Nothing new here, but the game creates a slightly more interesting environment by offering customizable loadouts - any player can carry the repair tool for instance and even the straightforward assault configuration can be tuned to offer different methods of play. Additionally there are a plethora of passive modules you can add which give a variety of effects to your combat abilities - meaning you literally have an unending mix of options at your disposal.

Section 8’s armor system has two modes of defense. The usual armor is available and you also have a shield which is a standardized regeneration unit which heals itself over time. Instead of being merely a specific hit point device it is only good for canceling out long range explosions. Therefore if you have your shields in operation and a missile hits nearby causing a blast you will be fine but if you get up close n’ personal with another soldier and get shot in the face with a shotgun, it won’t help.
My favourite option (as always) is the sniper class with a customized high, fast recharging shield system which means I am well protected against long range counter attacks ... while for example someone who is defending a capture point in a building would opt for high powered close range weapons with hardened armor. It is this diversity in game style that really separates Section 8 from the masses.

You can fight from long distance with high precision weapons and you can get up close and personal with a specialized loadout to make combat exciting and rather long lasting. The team based elements can be dealt with in a variety of ways. I do however feel that the games greatest strength is with a well structured and organised team. This was made perfectly clear when I headed online and met up with a very well prepared enemy who were working in unison against our unorganised and messy team. It was strictly one way traffic and I ended up logging out to hang my head in shame.
Section 8 is certainly aiming to keep players alive as long as possible to make the combat more appealing and when you die the respawning is more creative and inventive. Getting revenge from the air by pounding into an unprepared enemy is very satisfying. Add these solid multiplayer elements with other options, such as the short term jetpacks, personal mortars and the power run system (which initiates after a period of running) it ends up chaotic and fun. There are also mechs, tanks and defense systems which are built via deployables. The end product is a huge array of combat options which is set to appeal to a huge audience.

Section 8 is a mega online game with many opportunities for high tension multiplayer action. There are battles for control points and turrets and tanks and troops can fall from the sky when you least expect it, meaning this is a game to keep you on the edge of your seat. The rewards are there for all styles of gameplay, from sneaky stealth tactics to all out full frontal assaults. It is a game that borrows the best elements of all of the major online games in recent years and combines them into one effective and entertaining online mix which will appeal to a massive cross section of gamer. You do need to play as part of a team however, so if this doesn’t appeal to you then this won’t be your cup of tea.

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