Review: Section 8: Prejudice Is Light On The Wallet, Heavy On Firepower
Big First Person Bang For Not Much Buck
04.20.11 | By
Xbox Live Arcade games are a nice little version of Netflix's Instant Viewing service. They are there when you want them, and you don't have to leave the comfort of your couch to get them. However, one thing I always find difficult to gauge with XBLA titles or even PSN titles for that matter is the value you get from your purchase. With some titles, you tend to feel a little short changed after completing the game, and the replay value just isn't there. However, with Section 8: Prejudice developed by TimeGate, for 1200 Microsoft Points ($15) you get a solid single player campaign and a multitude of multiplayer modes that give full retail titles a run for their money.
The original Section 8 was a bit of a lukewarm experience. While the game was solid, the single-player mode felt a little rushed and the story felt like it was thrown together while the developers were sitting around sharing drinks. Not this time around however--things run much more smoothly, they make sense and while the voice acting leaves much to be desired, it doesn't detract from the overall gameplay experience. The story is a bit rudimentary--you're saving the world from what seems to be an inevitable takeover, it is impressive for an Xbox Live Arcade title and with 8 moderately long campaign levels there is plenty to do and a plethora of weapons and gadgets at your disposal to keep things fresh. Prejudice even figures in a integrated tutorial level in the form of showing new recruits the ropes (ironic), and at the same time you're learning the controls.
Controls are for the most part pretty similar to most first person shooters on the market. Your character Alex Corde has a wide range of weaponry at his disposal. You can equip two weapons and two explosive/repair/melee weapons at a time. There are various supply points scattered throughout each campaign level which you can use to change your loadout or repair a deployable. Weapons are a little imbalanced--sending a rocket launcher to the face of an opponent does similar damage to hitting someone with a sniper rifle in the chest which tended to be a little frustrating. Vehicles and other devices can be purchased at timed intervals within single player mode when it is convenient for Corde to use them in a specific situation. And by the way, going around in the mech and smashing things like The Incredible Hulk is destruction personified. Corde also has a jetpack that you control with the right bumper that you are able to use for a limited distance. While moving Corde around is fluid, running is a bit clunky. You hold down the left stick, and the screen will shift to a third-person view as you attempt to control your character running wildly while still trying to maintain having the control stick pushed in. It would've been nice to see it mapped elsewhere.
Where this game shines however, and where players will get most of their value from is the multiplayer. There are a multitude of maps, with hidden places for each of those 5 worst teammates in online FPS. With 4 players at a time, you can play Swarm or with up to 32 players you can play Conquest, both of which offer different gameplay experiences.
Players will be familiar with the gameplay style of Swarm as it is the standard "WE MUST DEFEND THIS HOUSE" style of FPS multiplayer. Teams of up to 4 players create a stronghold and must protect their base from hordes of AI players using various weapons and gadgets that are at their disposal using Requisition Points that they earn during the match . If you can get four of your friends to play this with you over XBL, it's a guaranteed good time.
Conquest is quite the enigma--in a good way of course, and the mode that I personally enjoyed the most while playing Prejudice. With 32 players on two teams, and huge (and by the way, quite picturesque) maps it can get absolutely insane! Players skydive from dropships with pinpoint accuracy (it's an incredibly intense experience) although there are usually anti-air turrets awaiting their arrival if they decide to drop into enemy territory. During the game, you are given Dynamic Control Missions that change throughout the course of the game--either eliminating every player on the opposing team or capture (and hacking) a specific base. Players can also use points earned during the match to acquire vehicles, turrets, and supply points. There is just so much here for players to do during the game, and I could not imagine players refusing to come back for second helpings.
Section 8: Prejudice is one of the best values on the Xbox Live Marketplace. For only 15.00, you get a solid single player experience and a multiplayer that rivals those of larger publishers. While there are a little hiccups here and there with weapon imbalances, controls and so-so voice acting, it does not change the fact that Section 8: Prejudice is a solid FPS and the TimeGate development team should be proud that they are able to sell this title for such a steal.
REVIEW SCORE: 8.5/10
Section 8:Prejudice is available on Xbox Live Marketplace for 1200 MS Points today April 20. It will also be available on the PC via Steam, Direct2Drive, Impulse and TimeGate.com on May 4, and on the Playstation 3 via the PSN Store later this summer.