Section 8: Prejudice Review

Title   Section 8: Prejudice
Developer  TimeGate Studios
Publisher  TimeGate Studios
Platform  Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Genre  First-Person Shooter
Release Date  May 4, 2011 (PC)

Section 8: Prejudice is the digital download only, standalone expansion from TimeGate Studios, promising to be bigger and better than the original with more weapons, more multiplayer modes and a longer single player campaign, all for the low, low price of £9.99 (on Steam).  Section 8, let’s be honest, was a bit of a flop. The game itself was reasonable, but it just didn’t pick up the sales (Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 came out the month after it, ouch) and its multiplayer servers died away even though the game was solid and, for the time, was top notch visually. Sadly it just didn’t live up to the standard of the day, but enough of that – we are here to review its sequel. Has TimeGate Studios pulled off a comeback?

Prejudice puts the player back in the armoured boots of Captain Alex Corde, a member of the elite 8th Armoured Infantry.  The story picks up pretty soon after the end of the original where the Arm of Orion have been defeated and Captain Corde is taking it easy when all hell breaks loose. The campaign starts with you back at base training the next group of 8th Armoured soldiers, which ties in neatly with a quick tutorial. The single player takes place over a series of eight missions, and involves the player being tasked with completing various objectives as you fight your way through the legion of Arm forces, much like the first game.  The levels themselves can, unfortunately, be pretty linear with sections of the huge map blocked off by invisible walls and kill zones, and so the player is invariably directed straight through without having any freedom, which is a shame given the size of the maps, but is a much needed sin to drive the player through the various set piece encounters.

Sadly, the single player suffers from the worst storyline and voice acting I’ve ever experienced in a game and, at times, you find yourself dumped on to another planet without so much as a cut-scene to explain why you’re there. This gives the game a horrible disjointed feeling, and I reached the end wondering why I was even fighting the final boss, other than that he was bad. I don’t blame the developer though; this game was clearly aimed at the multiplayer crowd with a single player tacked on for good measure so it’s perhaps best that you don’t buy it if you’re expecting the exciting conclusion to the Alex Corde story. You will be disappointed.

There have been numerous additions to the weapon and armour customisation systems. Weapons can now be customised with an ammo type, allowing for more varied damage across infantry and vehicles, and TimeGate have added a new vehicle into the mix, the jet bike, allowing for quick transport around the larger multiplayer maps, which is essential if you’re on a kill streak.

The multiplayer modes are a little more interesting with the return of the classic conquest mode, where 32 players battle it out over control points, and the new co-op mode swarm. In swarm mode, four players team up to defend a single control point against waves of NPCs, but what makes this mode unique compared to other “Horde” style co-op games are the DCMs (Dynamic Combat Missions) whereby, during play, side missions will pop up at random intervals, which could be anything from defend an NPC VIP to collecting intel that happens to be lying around on the map. These DCMs reward players in the form of cash that can then be used to deploy turrets or vehicles.

My experience of swarm mode, so far, is that it’s pretty easy. After eight matches I’ve had only one defeat and so, to me, it feels like it needs to be longer and maybe a little harder.  The idea is fun, however, as it can be intense and is a fresh take on the standard game mode.

Conquest mode is where, in my opinion, the real fun is to be had. Similar to other control point game types, the player’s main objective is to hold on to the most control points and whittle down the other team’s points until you win but Section 8, however, piles on a couple extra layers. Each control point is a fortified base, with automated turrets and Anti Air (AA) defences. Add to this the use of multiple DCMs and the battlefield can become hectic to say the least. What makes this mode particularly interesting is the game’s unique spawn mode: flying face first into the planet from a drop ship in low orbit. With the orbital drop, there is very little in the way of camping or defensive fighting. What really makes this mode work is the addition of bots so, if the server is quiet, the rest of the player slots are filled out with some really smart AI which adds to that overall sense of  scale. The battles are, therefore, always full scale.

Time for an example: AA turrets are in every base to stop enemy players dropping right on to control points, so the first target for a team is usually the AA and, when this is down, defenders start to find enemy players landing on their heads. This drives a very fast paced and dynamic multiplayer experience as you don’t know when someone might fall out of the sky and land on your face.  Players are also able to purchase turrets and vehicles to help defend their control points and take the fight to the other team so if you happen to be out walking around and come across a giant mech, it’s best to run.

The game modes are supported by some very impressive visuals. It’s not going to blow up your PC or console, but it’s no slouch, and there is something of an improvement over the original game in that there are some stunning graphics to be seen in the single player and even in some of the multiplayer maps. The levels are detailed and expansive, giving the players some beautiful vistas to look out over but, sadly, there are only around five full maps all in, with single and multiplayer maps simply being sections of the larger maps. Character and weapon models are sharp, and aspects such as the reload and overdrive animations are smooth. All of this, combined with a pretty decent sound track and sound effects, makes Prejudice a solidly built shooter that I can’t really find fault with.

  • Looks great.
  • Intense multiplayer experience.
  • Price tag.
  • Lots of customisation in both single player and multiplayer.
  • Poor storyline (Yes even for an FPS)

Prejudice is good. I’m not going to lie; it’s not the best FPS I have ever played, but if you’re sitting around waiting for the PSN to come back on so you can frag some fools in COD or Killzone, this may be the game to tide you over. For a price of less than £15 it delivers a playable single player shooter experience, and an incredibly enjoyable multiplayer experience that other developers in the genre could learn from. All of this content along with the promise of more multiplayer modes to come in the not so distant future? I think that’s a pretty good deal.

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  1. Edward Edward says:

    Sounds like an interesting way to do a sequel, especially considering the lack of success the first one suffered. I think it’s something other developers need to do and I wish them luck with it; if they can pull it off hopefully it’s something we’ll see a lot more of in future.
    As for the game itself, I was bored before the first Section 8 demo timed out, and I’m not a multiplayer man, so coupled with the story for single player being that bad, I’ll have to take a step away from it, but I honestly wish them success.

    Great review Mark :D

  2. Chris Toffer says:

    Great review Mark. The price tag alone sells the game I think. Considering the latest COD DLC is £11 for five maps, it really highlights how we are getting screwed as gamers for DLC.

  3. Samuel Samuel says:

    I liked the original. So I downloaded the demo the other day. I wasn’t that impressed by it. The story is very contrived, way worse than even most FPS games, talking about the same level as Crysis. But at least Crysis can boast awesome graphics. Prejudice seemed a bit… polygonny to me. Like a game from five years ago, people’s heads look more like Kryten from Red Dwarf than a human being. It feels dated in other ways too.

    It’s a shame, it’s cheap and I liked the original, but shooters have moved on. I don’t think I’ll be getting it. Still, good review Zero. I don’t entirely agree with you, but to each their own, you know.

  4. Lee says:

    @Samuel – it’s not full price though to be fair so holding it up against full retail releases isn’t really on. If anything it wants weighing up against games like Blacklight Tango Down and Monday Night Combat.

    @Toffer Eleven quid! Your having a giggle!
    Actually it’s odd that they went and released up against something with CoD written on it, again!

    I enjoyed the demo and will be picking a copy up when funds allow. Rather spend £15 on a new game than £11 on an add on to one.

    Out of intrest what sort of length is the single player?

  5. Adam Adam says:

    Nice Review Mark :)

    Picked up this on 360 the other day and really enjoyed it. Gave the trial a whirl first (sadly not available for the PC Version) and once the 30 minute multiplayer trial had wound down, I was begging for more.

    I think it’s unfair to judge the Single Player on any merit other than a technical one. At this price, if the voice acting is a bit hammy (think I recognised the guy who narrated the Crackdown games in the training mission) and the maps are narrow well then how can we find fault. Two years ago, BF1943 released with 1 map for the same price, no single player and we loved it.

    The MP is hellafun though, love that they have added bots into the mix to keep things interesting, I always think its a shame that for console shooters, the big scale FPS is always off the cards. Having bots to keep you checking over your shoulders really does shake it up and full credit to Timegate for taking this approach :)

  6. Mark mark_s says:

    @Ed Glad you enjoyed the review dude. You are probably right not to pick it up. It’s a multiplayer game first and if your not into that then I wouldn’t bother.

    @Toffer Yeah man, when you have a game of this quality coming out for the same price as a couple of maps, you have to wonder what developers think of their customers. The reason they can release a game like this for 10 quid is, there are very few changes in terms of engine or content to the original, so it cuts down on production cost. They have all the stuff there, just need to shuffle it around and make it new.

    @Preach Got to disagree on the graphics dude. Not sure how you can call it “polygonny”. Don’t get me wrong, its not Crysis but still, it looks good for an engine thats a few years old now. I’m sure it looks like crap if the settings are down low ;)

    The story though, agree with you there. It doesn’t get any better than the first few levels and becomes a series of “We have to stop those guys! RUN OVER THERE!” and they do that for about 8 levels. It can be forgiven though and they do try to stick in some moments to draw the player in, but those moments are lost in a cloud of meh.

    @Lee It’s a game that should be compared with the likes of like you said, Blacklight and Battlefield 1945 or whatever the DLC game was. When you compare it to them, its a amazing for the price. Plus the free DLC game modes they are bringing out.

    In terms of length the single player is about 8 missions long. Depending on difficulty like 3-4hrs on easy I guess.

    Cheers for the comments.

  7. Samuel Samuel says:

    Cheeky bugger. I didn’t have the graphics on low! Heh. I don’t mean full on polygons, just not rounded if you look closely. I imagine it makes no difference in a full on firefight, because it’s moving so fast, but I really noticed it when I was trying not to listen to the awful voice work when talking to other friendly characters in the base.

    I guess it is unfair to compare it to full priced shooters, but I don’t think it’s a defence either. I quite liked the demo of that Battle: Los Angeles game they had on XBLA in March, it had a passable story and the graphics looked alright. I very nearly bought it, decided to wait for it to show up in a deal of the week or something. There’s a game that’s the same price level, and I think looks better. I’m not entirely convinced that “it’s cheap so I’ll forgive it’s shortcomings” works. A game is a game, and money is money. If a game is really good, I’ll pay through the nose for it. My experience with Mass Effect 2 proves that. If it’s bad I wouldn’t buy it for a quid though.

    I get where you’re coming from guys, it’s just not for me.

  8. Lorna Lorna says:

    The second I read about the awful single player campaign and lack of story, I knew that, aside from it being a shooter, that this was certainly not for me! Those things are some of the most important aspects in a game (for me), so I won’t be picking this one up, although it was well covered here and I can see that it represents a bit of a bargain for the multiplayer shooter fan. You can’t really argue with that Steam price and the visuals look pretty good… the drop ship thing is also a fantastic idea; hope it does well.

  9. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I first saw this when the invitation to play it at PAX came through, and when the gameplay video got to the point where it was a team of four players defending a base against a ridiculous amount of enemies… I knew this was the kind of game I’d go mental for. It reminded me of the Horde Wave section of Mad Moxxi’s Underdome where you could quite easily have to take out fifty or so baddies on your own, and I loved that particular section. It wasn’t about skill; it was about having the balls to just run out there and take on as many enemies as possible and hope you managed to get through it. So that aspect of Prejudice, along with firing yourself out of a craft at high speed, got me pretty excited. It’s definitely one I’ll be picking up at some point, purely for the multiplayer stuff though.

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