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There is a single player component to Section 8 but it is best enjoyed as a multiplayer experience. If you are looking for an in depth story and a gripping series of single player levels then look elsewhere. If you want a fast paced multiplayer FPS with real depth then you should sign up for the 8th Armored Infantry, or Section 8 for short, without delay.
You play as super soldier Alex Corde and the objective based single player campaign is a short and sweet. It serves best as an introduction to the principles of the game which only really come to life when human opponents are involved. The weapon set in the game is uninspired and you’ll get your hands on assault rifles, sniper rifles, shotguns, rocket launchers and explosives. You can also man the big gun at times and there is some limited vehicle play. Your standard movement is beefed up by a limited use jetpack and a super sprint which you can use to quickly cover large distances.
The core Conquest mode is all about dominating a large territory. You have to capture specific points on the map which give you control of zones. It takes time to capture a zone and once it belongs to your team you have to defend it. The team based gameplay works best when you can coordinate your efforts and solo assaults are rarely successful. The basic domination aim is complemented by a side quest system which challenges you to perform small tasks for bonuses such as destroying specific targets or people.
The gameplay is chaotic at times but it does allow for a good tactical approach and if you can play the game with two teams who are taking it seriously and genuinely playing as teams it is hugely fun. The respawn mechanic is also excellent as you fall to the planet’s surface from orbit and have to apply the airbrakes at just the right moment to perform a graceful touch down.
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Built using the Unreal 3 engine Section 8 does look like a typical sci-fi game. It is chunky with pristine geometric bases, angular futuristic weaponry and generic body armor on the characters. The animations are decent and the scope of the environments is good but there is nothing really special going on here visually and this is not cutting edge stuff. The rolling hills and rocky terrain provide some variety on some of the maps and the visual effects are well made. The interface and map system is also clear and intuitive so the game is easy to pick up for experienced FPS players.
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The game doesn’t offer anything much of note in the audio department. The sound effects fit, the ambient sound is sparse and the music is unobtrusive.
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As I mentioned before this is chiefly a multiplayer experience and it offers enough quality in this department to provide a great deal of replay value. FPS addicts will find this an enjoyable option and the fact you can tailor characters to your own liking and change your class (or Load Out as they are called in the game) during gameplay is a nice touch. There are some limited options in terms of engineering tools to fix your bases, medical abilities to heal yourself and others, and stealth abilities for a sneaky assault but the specialization is never stringent enough to become a key facet of the game.
There is space for Section 8 amongst the multiplayer FPS titles already out there. The developers have definitely chosen carefully when it comes to creating a tactical experience which never deviates from accepted FPS tenets and because of that it is easy to pick up and get into.
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This is a good. solid FPS game and perhaps the greatest flaw is the fact it lacks a personality of its own. The generic art and sound coupled with the familiar gameplay don’t help Section 8 to stand out which is a shame because it is a well made game. It is unlikely to spawn a successful series or threaten the big FPS boys like Call of Duty or Halo but it should support a lively community for a few months at least.