Section 8: Prejudice preview
There’s a lot to like about a game that warns you to take cover to replenish your shields, then sends jetpacking enemies over the top of the jeep you’re hiding behind. Sure I threatened the developer’s family and whined about how unfair it was, but this is the sort of moment I want from an FPS.
Section 8’s fights always had a fascinating fluidity. The maps are big and open, the enemies capable of approaching from any angle, the loadouts entirely customisable – and the game drops dynamically generated missions into the bigger multiplayer games at will. This standalone expansion has a five-hour campaign, bolstered by 32-map multiplayer and a new four-player co-op game. All three modes take the same open-battlefield format, with bots filling in the holes when needed. There’s plenty of room for fun tactics and emergent silliness.
You’re a powersuited solider, boosted by a jetpack and a mech-o-sprint. By itself that’s enough to produce joyous moments of running, leaping and blasting: such as when I found a turret one of the bots had placed. Every player has the ability to call in support, from turrets to supplies and vehicles. Positioned on the edge of a large rock, the turret was firing missiles into one of our bases, while a repair beam snaked back to an enemy using the rock as cover. I fired missiles at the turret so the guy would focus on it, sprinted around the rock, jetpacked to the top and forced him to flee by peppering him with rifle fire. Then swapped to a rocket launcher to take down the turret. Divide and conquer, motherfucker.
All around, gnarly little fights were taking place. An enemy mech was struggling to keep a bunch of my team’s bots from his VIP. The mission itself was dynamically generated, dropped into the bigger battle for control points.
Control points have to be ‘hacked’ then protected from enemy reacquisition, so it’s here that the larger tactical situations form. It’s impossible to protect them from every angle, especially when the game is tempting you to leave them unguarded and hunt for cash-boosting wreckage. But two or three people holding off invaders, deploying turrets, repairing and healing, jetpacking away when things get hairy, delivers exciting, intense firefights.
Moment to moment is where Prejudice shines. If there’s a flaw, it’s trying to figure out the larger plan. With continual distractions and a busy HUD there’s usually too much going on. The control points on the map I played were structurally similar, which doesn’t help.
And it uses fucking Games for fucking Windows Live. Fuck’s sake. Regardless, Prejudice has fun filling its niche: another tech-heavy Battlefield-style game. It’s looking like a fun shooter, and one with plenty of potential to entertain.