TimeGate and SouthPeak's futuristic first person shooter is now available through the PlayStation Network! How does it measure up?
Title: Section 8
Publisher: SouthPeak Interactive
Developer: TimeGate Studios
Genre: First Person Shooter
Players: 1 to 32
Rated: T for Teen
Section 8 is a futuristic space marine FPS. Unlike most space marine FPSes, you battle a rebellion instead of aliens dressed in powered armor. This rebellion, known as the ARM of Orion, takes advantage of other planets bad communication systems and proceeds to sack the planets before they can even sound the alarm. Upon discovering the ARM's plot, and sends in the 8th Armored Infantry, led by Alex Corde (that's you) to stop The ARM. Basically, Campaign Mode involves you working for the aforementioned government trying to stop The Arm from detonating an omnicidal nuke. That makes them the bad guys, even though the government you work for are pretty big jerks about everything.
The Campaign Mode is just the tip of the iceberg for Section 8, the game puts a lot of stock into it's multiplayer mode. With a lot of maps available right off the bat and 3 more available as DLC (or included for free with the PS3 version). There's also the ability to assign bots (CPU controlled players) to matches. So if it's 3AM and no one's online or if it's just regular 9PM and your buddy Jimbo is too pre-occupied to join, you can just have a bot or two -- or 30 join up. Normally, this would make me wary, but the bot AI is pretty good! They make better opponents than partners though, as the bots will attack you with EXTREME prejudice if they're on the opposing side. If they're on your side though, they'll still do their job and defend base, but not really follow you into battle or provide cover.
Controls are the same for both Campaign and Multiplayer, though they can be modified to your liking. Chances are however, you'll stick to the classic configuration. Figuring out exactly what each button does might take a little bit of time and deciding what combination of weapons might take even longer. On top of that, deciding what attributes you want to level up will take a little more time. For me, testing out different combos to see what works best is a lot of fun, others may find it to be a little tedious. You'll also get reinforcements from space to help you in battle. Huge mechs, supply depots and missile silos all drop down from space to give you an edge in battle. As you play through the game, you'll collect money which can be redeemed for these goods, which then drop out of space and land on a marker, set by you. It takes time to collect these implement, but the wait is well worth it, the advantage some of these goods provide (namely the Heavy Armor mech) are invaluable and fun to play around with. Basically, if you get to the Heavy Armor, you may as well be walking around in the Megazord or a mini-Voltron (sans sword).
The controls aren't without their faults, though. Like every FPS you can hold down the L Trigger to focus in on your enemy to make shots more accurate. Section 8 takes this one step further and adds a lock on system on top of that to make sure every shot connects. The only problem with this is that locking on comes with certain rules. You can only lock on once and then you have to wait about 10 seconds to lock on again. If your target goes outside your lock on radius, then you lose your lock on ability and have to re-charge it. There shouldn't be any wait to lock on and there shouldn't be an penalty for an enemy moving out of range. While it's possible that if there wasn't a wait to lock on, then the game would turn into nothing point blank shootouts, I think making the lock on feature constant would force players to fight while finding a way around being locked onto, which would make for much better confrontations.
The graphics are one of the best things about this game. Buttery smooth and lovingly detailed, this game took no short cuts when it came to the graphics. The aforementioned drop-in sequence looks intense and though I've never plummeted to Earth from space, I'm willing to trust that Section 8's depiction is fairly accurate. As you descend to earth, you've got flames on either side of the screen and the world is a blur. It's like a roller coaster ride on steroids and it's as beautiful as it is surreal to watch. The maps are very well-designed; gigantic mountain ranges, vast deserts and various otherworldly landscapes make up the maps and every single thing looks great, which is a great thing for any map pack let alone maps like these that stretch out as far and as wide as these maps do.
There's very little to comment on regarding the music in Section 8. It was never offensive but it never really stood out at any point. The only notable thing I can say about the soundtrack is that it's appropriate. The background music had a very militaristic sound to it, appropriately enough. Other space marine games (I'm looking at you, Halo franchise) tend to have melodramatic orchestral tracks in the background -- very unfitting. Thankfully, Section 8 has a fitting soundtrack and won't have you wanting to hit the mute button.
-Excellent graphics and visuals!
-Drop-in system works well with spawning and ordering re-enforcements.
-Bots always ensure you always have an opponent or a partner.
-If you love Star Wars Battlefront, you'll love multiplayer mode.
-Expect to take an hour or two get the hang of things.
-Campaign mode is extremely short.
-Waiting to lock on is a chore.
If you like the idea of playing as Boba Fett on steroids, then this game is for you. You can customize your arsenal, call in reinforcements as you please and turning your character into a one man army is as easy as going to the configuration screen and fiddling with a few options. The high multiplayer cap allows for grueling team deathmatches and in the event that you CAN'T find anyone to melee with, fear not, the bots have your back.
Whether you're dropping in or traversing the surface of another planet, you'll be impressed by Section 8's graphics.
Campaign mode is too short, but multiplayer mode and mech riding more than make up for it!
The soundtrack is tense and dramatic without having to be over the top.
Thanks to bots, you'll always have a competent team mate or opponent in multiplayer mode.
Section 8 may take some time to get used to, but it's nothing short of a good game.