The beta test opened to North American gamers last month, although access was limited to users who were given keys in a staggered format. Now, with the game only a couple weeks away from launch, the beta has been opened to anyone from North America, Europe or Australia who has a FilePlanet, IGN or GameSpy account.
The beta will give gamers "a first look at Section 8's online multiplayer mode with two of the maps from the final game, as well as a variety of some of the vehicles, weapons, deployables, missions, and equipment." Windows XP or Vista, a 3Ghz CPU, 1GB RAM (2GB for Vista) and an Nvidia 7800 or ATI X1800 video card will be required to run the game.
Powered by the Unreal Engine 3, Section 8 is a futuristic FPS in which players wear special armor that allows them to be dropped anywhere on a battlefield from ships hovering high above. The ability of players to begin fighting from anywhere on a battlefield will add a new element of unpredictability, as fixed spawn points and preset routes through maps are eliminated from the gaming equation. In a hands-on preview last May, our own Keane Ng called Section 8 "a solid capture-point shooter that comes off as fairly rudimentary but packs in its fair share of nuances."
To get a copy of the beta, head to fileplanet.com/promotions/section-8 and log in (a free account is good enough, you don't need to be a paid subscriber), sign up for your beta key and start downloading! Section 8 lands on August 28 for the PC and Xbox 360.