Available at a budget price Section 8: Prejudice offers a lot of value for fans of online First Person Shooters and to the original Section 8 and is worth more than its asking price if you're willing to put in the time. Included for £10 ($15) is a single player campaign that will last around 5 hours and many more hours online.
Section 8: Prejudice in its single player campaign tells the story of Section 8. You control Alex Corde (who was also in the first Section 8 game) who is a part of a military force that consists of soldiers that are deployed into the field by being fired from an orbital cannon (let it be noted that in single player you will find that this element does not really come into play and shines more in the multiplayer). Section 8 find themselves up against a military force that is after revenge - they want them wiped out, to go into any further detail would spoil whatever plot there is. It isn't a bad plot and nor is it non-existent, it does a good job of preparing players unfamiliar with the original Section 8 game (such as myself) and introduces gameplay elements throughout the campaign from simple basic training to using vehicles and deploying mobile turrets, both important in the multiplayer component. I also never got tired of making use of the 'overdrive' run which had you sprinting across at high speed ploughing into a bad guy as you arrive at their camp.
The campaign will keep you occupied for a good 5 hours on normal mode give or take an hour depending on how good or bad you are. The story is functional and gives you enough to do in a few different environments. The game never leads you into thinking it's a serious space marine epic, but it's a passable 5 hours and there are only a few short occasions where things get frustrating. While you don't get your epic single player campaign with Section 8, I found the single player helped me be a better fighter when I joined the online fight and be of better help to the other members of my team. For the price tag attached to this game, you are given a campaign that lasts around the time as some £30-40 games sold at retail.
Gameplay wise, there were a few small issues I had which starts with the AI allies and enemies. Neither are the smartest and I found myself getting swarmed with bad guys at later stages of the campaign, such as when it was required to stand our ground and protect something or survive for a set amount of time, my allies were sometimes useful but overly I died a few times from sheer numbers of guys gunning only for me. I also found that bad guys usually spawned at random spots in the area without a real pattern; it wasn't really an issue until you come across areas where they are all behind objects and structures where they can easily shoot at you but you have to do some jetpack jumping and random shooting to take their shields out. The last issue I had with the single player was enemies using jetpacks. It is limited in its use and is generally used for getting up to higher structures or leaping over gaps because it's difficult to fight using it, but the enemies did not have the same limitations as they didn't have any issues aiming at me while hovering about although it was hard for me to aim at them without spraying their general area with gunfire or making use of the limited lock on ability. While the AI isn't the best for the most of the campaign towards the end the enemy becomes a lot tougher through their relentlessness in all gunning for you and their shields and armour take a lot more to get through, engineers are the worst.
These issues aren't enough to make you quit, but they are things that just slow down the fighting and niggle as you try and get through the game, although in the end it isn't representative of the major portion of the game which lies in the multiplayer battle.
The online multiplayer is the mode where you will be spending most of your time. Even if you don't have an internet connection, you can bring in AI bots to help you get the most out of the game.
There is a reasonable variety of weaponry that you can equip yourself with before being shot down to earth and with each gun there is usually more customisation by the way of choosing the ammo you use. This largely comes down to whether it does more damage to armour or shields. The guns are your FPS standards and its really that customisation that makes each soldier running around a different fighter. Each time you die you will find that you can change the loadout you can arm yourself with before you rocket off again. So if certain gun and ammo types aren't helping you then you can change quickly enough. There are also supply depots that can also give you the chance to top up your ammo and change the guns while on the ground, you will never be stuck too long with a bad combination of guns and tools.
Dynamic Combat Missions (DCM) also occur fairly often throughout the matches. These are pretty much secondary objectives to get your team bonus points. These objectives can vary from capture the flag in the guise of capturing or protecting intel, escorting or recovering. These give extra things to do while defending or capturing bases. Both teams generally ignored these unfortunately as it was hard enough to defend a base as a lone soldier while escorting a NPC across the map, although the times I did take on one of the DCM's. I found it fun to change things up and get some bonus points to help bring the team closer to victory.
As with modern online shooters, there is a level system which sees you being rewarded for good work with higher ranks, better armour and weaponry choices. In each battle you are also awarded money for performing certain actions throughout the match, such as killing enemies, repairing, hacking and assisting your team mates. The money earned is then used to purchase and deploy turrets, supply depots, mechs and more all of them fired from orbit to you. The vehicles you will come across the most are the air bike and the mech and neither are the easiest to control but they offer more armour and heavier firepower for holding back the enemy, it's always more fun to be giving out a beating with the mech than having one pick you up and smash you into the ground.
Conquest mode pits red and blue teams against each other to take control of bases around the map while also performing the DCM objectives to keep things interesting and to obtain bonuses such as a tough NPC soldier or extra vehicles.
Meanwhile there is killing as many enemy soldiers as you can and protecting your bases and capturing others, but you will quickly find that success in this mode comes down to working together and when the team is kind of working together you will find that you are less likely to be a lone soldier futilely trying to protect the base while surrounded by mechs and tanks. Signs of your team working together will see your bases protected with extra missile or gun turrets and less overwhelming enemy attacks.
While it is fun to rocket down to the area you chose to deploy, thudding into the ground and taking off like a bad ass, this part of the battle quickly becomes less fun if you keep dying and the map has more areas filled with enemy AA guns that will wipe you out before you hit the ground. In the end, the deployment feels more like a loading time before you enter the battle mixed with a quick time event to hit the brakes on your descent, but once you hit the ground and sprint off into battle is when the fun begins.
This multiplayer mode sees you and three other people facing off against waves of increasingly tougher enemies for 15 minutes while keeping them from overtaking your base. I played it with a team of strangers with AI bots mixed in to fill out the numbers, but this feels like a mode that would work really well with a group of people you can communicate with. It was even fun in offline mode with bots as your team as they are a lot more helpful than in the single player game, sometimes even better than people online seeing as computer players didn't stick themselves under the lift unlike some. In Spawn you only have to look after the one base which is a bit easier than having to help a larger team hold 4 bases spread out across the map, but then if the enemy finally takes your base you don't have one to fall back to until you can fight for it back so the game stops more suddenly. It's not that long until you're starting a new match in a new location fighting back the swarm.
The graphics are good enough and even on my middle of the road laptop I found that I was able to run on some of the highest settings. While the visuals won't set the PC graphics world on fire, they weren't bad either. I didn't come across any visual glitches although the indicator arrows to show where enemies were could be misleading and made it hard to tell where they were when there were bases with many structures.
To be entirely honest I never really noticed the music. When I did sit down to listen to I found it to be standard fare for futuristic space marine shooters. Sound effects aren't anything to write home about but they are functional. The voice acting was generally average or poor and in the end unless you were deeply invested in the story there isn't that much distinction between few characters that talk. The weapon sound effects like the music and voice acting is forgettable as most of the sounds between the guns aren't that dissimilar from one another or just lack the power that seeing a hail of bullets from your gun would suggest.
Section 8: Prejudice excelled the most in its multiplayer modes, for the most part single player is forgettable beyond preparing you for the online game, There is no point when the game becomes unplayable. Most frustrations came from moments within the single player campaign which brought the game progress to a crawl. This usually involved facing off against hoards of enemies with great aim while allies are nowhere to be seen. As mentioned earlier, the only real multiplayer issue was the repetitive nature of being fired from orbit onto the battlefield over and over. While the game works best when there are people who want to play and want to work together. The matches only last so long until one team reaches 1000 points and then everyone is sent to the next map to fight again and it's only a matter of time until you turn the tides and come out of the battle with a win.
So is it worth it?
Section 8: Prejudice is a solid game for a great price given the content and playability you will find if you spend the time on it. While the single player campaign won't have a lasting impression, it is a good entry point into the overall package and multi-player is a lot of fun and all the more fun when working with a group of people who want to work together. For now I can only review the content available but any new content such as the fast approaching 'Assault' mode can only add on to the amount of time that you can get out of this game and with gamers fast approaching the 10 million kills mark that unlocks this mode now is the perfect time to leap in and get the most from this game.
Additional: for those who may be wondering, the PC version does use Windows for Games.