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Published on April 26th, 2011 | by Ben Gray

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Review: Section 8 Prejudice

Release Date: April 20th 2011 Genre(s): First-Person Shooter Developer: TimeGate Studios Publisher: TimeGate Studios Rating: T+ (Teen), 16+

[Rating: 8/10](8)

In all honesty, it’s fair to say that the current king of FPS on the XBLA market still stands as one of its earliest entries; Battlefield 1943. Despite limitations from the shooter, there hasn’t quite been one since then that has come close to being as good as it was; Breach and Blacklight: Tango Down were fair efforts, but soon lost people’s attention, whereas BF1943 still has a large amount of players still online right now. Making people enjoy your game is one thing; having people continue to play your game years after release is another. But for the first time since then, I actually think we have another big hit, downloadable shooter on our hands that comes in the form of Section 8: Prejudice. The original Section 8 was a retail title, with fair critical acclaim and had some interesting ideas. The sequel was originally intended to be a retail release as well, but developer TimeGate decided to go with a retail-budget downloadable title for Prejudice; bringing back all the innovations of the original. This game boasts Campaign, Conquest and Swarm modes and right from the start it sounds like a package too good to be true for its low price tag. Now normally things that seem too good to be true are exactly that, but surprisingly Prejudice delivers what’s on the tin.

It's-s-s Sss-ss-sooo C--Ccc-Coo-ld-d....

The campaign is roughly five hours long, and mainly consists of going from point A to B or defending location after location, so there isn’t much else to that formula. However, the campaign delivers some surprising CGI sequences only seen in retail games. There’s a wide variety of massive and gorgeous environments throughout, ranging from fiery caverns of lava to chilling arctic conditions, so you never feel like you’re running around bland corridors. It’s also the first downloadable shooter I’ve seen on the XBLA to really concentrate on a single-player section as well as the multiplayer, so it’s definitely welcomed by those of us who aren’t always able to access the internet. Five hours is what it takes to complete, as said, and whilst it might lack in variety, it certainly makes up for it in quality compared to other games. But Prejudice shines in the multiplayer segment, despite only having two modes on offer. Let’s talk about Conquest first; it’s huge. A massive amount of players on an equally as massive battlefield; 32 players to be precise. The original was criticized for its maps being way too big and half the time you wouldn’t even venture far, but Prejudice keeps the pace constant throughout, with plenty of side missions and distraction during the match, where you can step away from the major action and go score some additional points for your team, adding huge variety for different play styles. Sometimes there can be too much happening at once, but generally it all caters for all the players. The scale of it all is enormous and a fully-fledged ranking system and unlocks keep the interest going for hours on end. The other major game mode is Swarm, and lends itself to the sudden surge of co-operative game modes in recent years. You and three friends have fifteen minutes to protect an outpost from increasing enemy waves, rather than having a set number to kill or so many waves to complete. Once again, this is another upbeat and fast paced game mode that can be played on numerous difficulties, and is definitely a great blast with mates. Side missions also make an appearance but can be quite hard given the fact that most of the time you’ll need to run at the enemy to get to them, but provide hefty points in reward for success.

That's a nice view you have there....

But it’s the little things that make Prejudice stand out from the crowd. The game supports both AI enemies and teammates for both multiplayer modes, and is surprisingly intelligent – in fact; I’d go as far as to say they’re some of the best AI I’ve seen in games; they actually kill opponents instead of simply firing in their general direction, they will come and hunt you down and they will get on with their objective. Also, the drop pods are another unique feature of Prejudice, being able to spawn where you want on the battlefield and shoot down from the sky to that location (which is truly epic the first time), and you’re also able to call in turrets and vehicles in both modes to help you out. The graphics are on form; running from Unreal Engine, and other than some cheesy voice acting, this is a pretty good package. Dedicated severs are also available and since launch have stayed stable and generally lag-free, whereas Breach’s online spiralled downhill after launch. Section 8 Prejudice is simply the best XBLA FPS since Battlefield 1943, boasting value for money and plenty of distractions. It’s one of those games that I can see still surviving in a year’s time, and it’s about time someone got the formula right.  

The Good

  • Great value for money
  • Fantastic multiplayer
  • Keeps Section 8’s unique features

The Bad

  • Cheesy voice acting
  • Campaign sometimes lacks in variety
  • Only one beard in the entire game
[Rating: 8/10](8)

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  • No pregame lobby, and not being able to join as a group of friends is a big negative hit, for a game that is so focused on team play.

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