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Section 8: Prejudice Review
publisher: TimeGate Studios
developer: TimeGate Studios
PIV 2500, 3GB RAM, 9GB HDD, GeForce GTS 240 / ATI Radeon HD 3870
|ESRB rating: T
release date: May 04, 11 (released)
|» All About Section 8: Prejudice on ActionTrip|
What can you get for 15 bucks? Lunch for you and a buddy? The new Lady Gaga CD (as if you didn't already own it)? (Actually, I don't own it and I vowed violently hunt down anyone who tries to recommend it. - Vader) How about a brand new Sci-Fi, team based shooter for the Xbox or PC with a single-player campaign, multiplayer and co-op modes that can be played with up to 32 players, a mix of humans or bots and dedicated server support? No? What if we throw in the ability to tweak your weapons, ammo and equipment to better suit your own play style? Still, not enough? Ok, how about if you can buy vehicles and support structures with cash you earn for killing other players or completing a variety of dynamic mission objectives during the round? Oh, and did I mention jet-packs? (Go on... - Vader) Ah, now you are interested! Roll all those features into one game and you have Section 8 Prejudice, newly released from Timegate Studios.
When I first heard about Section 8: Prejudice back in December I was curious that maybe this was the modern day version of Tribes I had been waiting so long for. Tribes was also a team-based shooter set in a sci-fi universe that pit two teams against each other online. The game was fun when it debuted over ten years ago, because it let players customize their weapon and equipment load outs and had fast frenetic game play. At the time this was common enough but in Tribes each suit of armor the player selected also featured a jet pack that allowed them to move across the map quickly and take to the skies (until the charge ran out) for combat. While Prejudice is not an exact clone of the Tribes series, it's hard for me to play without getting a subtle feeling of d'ją vu and by all means, that is not a bad thing. In fact it's good enough that I ponied up thirty dollars on launch day to buy copies of the PC version of the game for myself and my son on launch day.
This shield would obviously come in handy in a prison shower.
The mustache speaks for itself.
The Tribes series had a steep learning curve and made it difficult for new players to get into the game without getting their heads handed to them by experienced players. When Tribes 3 tried to introduce a single player campaign to help train the newbie, it was an awful mess. Luckily Prejudice's single player campaign, while still serving as tutorial, leads the player through the nuisances and features of the game in much more enjoyable and engaging way. You know you are being spoon feed details of game mechanics, like weapon load outs, how to use your suit's 'over drive' that allows you to run at super fast speed around the map (and into players) and other play details but its well paced and has enough of a story to keep you from getting bored. Granted, that story is not Shakespeare, but it's good enough to keep you moving forward from one mission to the next.
Sure you will probably never touch the single-player mode after you play through it the first time. However, I would strongly suggest that even veteran gamers play through the five hour single-player campaign (on hard mode for the most rewarding experience) so you can learn the ins and outs of the all the weapons and equipment before jumping into multiplayer. If you must skip the single-player campaign, your best bet is to play in offline mode with bots until you are up to speed. I am annoyed that the game uses checkpoints (most likely thanks to Prejudice being released as an Xbox Arcade games as well), so you cannot save the game anywhere you want. Also, you cannot skip in mission cut-scenes so if you die or have to restart the mission at a later date, you have to sit through the cut scene you have seen before. While it didn't bother me all that much, some of the voice actors and a lot of the dialog is cheesy to the point that you wish for a bag of tortilla chips so you could at least enjoy some nachos or at least could hit the space bar and skip the banter.
If you are still not ready to mix it up in a head-to-head match you might want to try Swarm mode, which puts you and up to four of your fiends against wave after wave of increasing harder computer controlled enemy units. As you take out the bad guys and earn money, you call down equipment and build defenses to assist you and your teammates. Timegate likens Swarm to a tower defense game and I can see the similarities but don't let that fool you. The action is fast and fun and allows you to hone your skills with the suit load outs and combat mechanics. If you do happen to die in any mode, you get to enter the battlefield by being shot from an orbiting ship like a human cannon shell. As you hurtle towards the ground you can apply air brakes and try to land on enemy units or support structures to destroy them or find a more favorable spot to launch your ground attack from. I have played the game for many hours now and this effect still makes me giggle like a little school girl. You have to be careful when you select the entry point on the map as anti-aircraft turrets can shoot you out of the sky as you descend. Nothing can humble you faster than being turned into armored Swiss cheese as you approach the battlefield. Also calling down support structures and vehicles can be blown out of the sky and you will lose your hard earned cash if you are not careful.
8.5 Very Good
Jetpacks, multiple game modes keep things interesting, single player campaign teaches you the game on the sly, Jetpacks, fifteen dollars for this much gaming goodness cannot be beat;
Dialog and voices in single player campaign could be served over nachos it's so cheesy, Microsoft Live for the PC has a long way to go, no 'save anywhere' feature in single player.