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Section 8: Prejudice Review

Greg Tito | 24 May 2011 23:00
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The campaign encourages the player to use the supply depots peppered around the levels to switch loadouts regularly. You can pick which two weapons you bring with you and what ammo that gun is loaded with while also filling up two equipment slots - reserved for a repair tool or a large complement of grenades or delayed detonation bombs. You can also fine-tune where you place ten "talent" points, choosing faster recharging shields or maybe increased run speed. At first, I scoffed at such granularity, but I soon needed to switch up my loadout after every other fight in order to be effective. Up against a lot of fast moving infantry? You'd do better to use the machine gun with napalm bombs to burn up their armor. Facing a lot of turrets and entrenched defense? Go for the launcher with crash missiles that do extra damage against structures. The preset loadouts work fine, but you can save your preferences simply in the loadout menu.

The campaign is not without flaws, some of them glaring. The space between checkpoints is frustrating, especially when you get stuck on a particularly difficult section. It may be a symptom of my familiarity with modern game design, but I absolutely hated that I had to replay cutscenes or long unfun sequences to get to the hard part. I also don't understand why sometimes an area was accessible, but covered in red diagonal warning lines on the minimap. If you stray into these areas, an annoying buzzer sounds and you have ten seconds to return to where the level designer wants you to be or you die. I hate artificial boundaries in games as much as the next guy, but this isn't the solution.

Playing through the campaign not-so-subtly introduces you to concepts useful in the multiplayer modes, but I actually found that refreshing rather than contrived. Using supply depots to switch up loadouts is just as important, and the custom sets you carefully craft in single player carry over to multiplayer. In the campaign, you'll learn how to call down other equipment like defensive turrets and even big mechanized suits and other vehicles, which works exactly the same in multiplayer. The objectives of the campaign also somewhat mirror the multiplayer; I enjoyed defending a point from waves of bad dudes just as I would defend it by bad dudes online.

Like the recently released Brink, Prejudice's multiplayer rewards you for teamwork more than straight kills. The leaderboard reports the number of kills, but players are ranked based on the XP they receive and you definitely get more for healing your pals, assisting on kills, and completing objectives. It can't be a coincidence that the time I spent online in Prejudice was filled with wonderfully coordinated and helpful teammates; people who haven't met before are more likely to work together well when the game incentivize them to do so.

Section 8: Prejudice "shipped" with two multiplayer modes: Conquest and Swarm. In Conquest, two teams totaling up to 32 players compete to hold points and complete random objectives. Swarm has your team of four guys repelling wave upon wave of increasingly badass AI attackers. The new Assault mode switches teams between attack and defense to control points for a long as possible. Figuring out the particulars of each mode is a little tough. The game doesn't hold your hand here, but, once you know what's what, you can find tons of joy in shooting your fellow man in nuanced battle.

TimeGate Studio's gambit of offering a full game for $15 on XBLA seems to working out. Even a month after the game's release, I had no trouble finding matches so it seems Prejudice is filling a niche amongst shooter fans.

Bottom Line: Section 8: Prejudice offers a fun set of shooter mechanics, with a complete campaign and robust multiplayer package without costing you a full $60.

Recommendation: If you've been salivating over the latest rash of shooters but didn't want to drop 60 bones, download Section 8: Prejudice for well-designed multiplayer action and a decently fun campaign.

This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.

What our review scores mean.

Game: Section 8: Prejudice
Genre: Shooter
Developer: TimeGate Studios
Publisher: TimeGate Studios
Platform(s): XBLA, PC

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