Section 8
by Invictus

Basic Information:
Developer: TimeGate Studios
Publisher: SouthPeak Interactive
North American Release Date: March 25th, 2010
European Release Date: April 15th, 2010
Trophies: 38 | 10 | 2 | 1

Section 8 is a first-person shooter developed by TimeGate Studios. Originally released in August 2009 for the PC and Xbox 360, it was recently released on the Playstation Store. While the original version was plagued by glitches and low server population, the port to Playstation promised to address those issues.

Did it?

Gameplay in Section 8 offers a few unique twists. To start, there are no fixed spawn points. Every time you die, you'll choose your destination on the map and "burn-in" from orbit, being careful to avoid anti-aircraft fire and deploy airbrakes at the right time.

Additionally, as your teammates complete certain tasks (ie, two kills in one life with an assault rifle), your team earns mission points which are then applied to a "Dynamic Combat Mission". These missions can be anything from recovering Intel to destroying enemy outposts to escorting VIPs.

Finally, as you personally collect experience you'll earn "Requisition Points" which can be used to call down deployables like AA guns, point defense turrets or vehicles.

Combining these three innovations with a rather deep class selection screen, and you've got very welcome additions to an otherwise standard FPS formula. Bases can be built and assaulted anywhere, and the large variety of ways a game can play out ensure that you'll rarely get bored.

While nothing is actually wrong with Section 8's singleplayer, it's not anything great, either. Essentially a glorified tutorial, Section 8's campaign provides one with an introduction to game mechanics while playing to the tune of an underdeveloped and unfinished story.

Players will run through the campaign on Hard mode in approximately three hours, which isn't that long at all. To make things worse, the gameplay here is rather inconsistent, at some times being excruciatingly frustrating while other times posing no challenge whatsoever.

While some badass cutscenes try to help things along, they don't really succeed and add to the lack of balance that plagues this offering. But if you're buying this game, you're not buying it for the singleplayer anyway, and maybe that's why there was such a lack of focus on what could have been rather interesting.

Multiplayer is where this title really shines. A plethora of options are available, from online matches to Instant Action, as well as a variety of game modes like Swarm, Super Swarm, and One Man Army. The various modes will will balance teams according to their rules and up the challenge for players really looking to get hurt. There's not much that's more challenging than taking on fifteen Insane bots on one's own.

Thankfully, the bots also transition into ranked matches. While this makes mostly for easy kills, it also allows for a fully functional ranked match with a minimum of just four human players, which is a boon for a title perviously lamented for its lack of online life.

Full stats tracking is nice, although I would have liked to see more clan options. Currently, the only thing membership provides is a clan tag, and to even attempt to join one you must login to the game's website - it's can be handled in-game. Splitscreen also seems like a natural addition to this game, especially in Instant Action and/or campaign co-op, but it's not a present feature.

Despite those disappointments, the numerous ranks and many, many accomplishable feats and badges offer numerous hours of enjoyable multiplayer, on- or offline.

Technically, Section 8 is a solid (while not outstanding title). Utilizing the Unreal engine, its textures are solid and the sounds are crisp. Nothing is too innovative, though - it's clear that TimeGate Studios went with substance over style. You won't find any real eye candy here, not even in the backgrounds.

The music is interesting and well done, and the sound cues suffer little to no lag. However, this part of the game suffers from little variety, and soon the audio will grind on you as it become more and more repetitive. You'd do well after your first dozen or so matches to just crank up your MP3 collection and do your own things.

The trophy list for Section 8 is a varied, well thought-out one. A few glitches are present, but they all work in your favor so there's not much complaining. The trophy images are nice to look at (with the exception of the platinum), and it's a fairly polished set.

Tasks include beating the campaign on hard, ranking up a fair way, earning all feats and badges (in-game tasks) and beating bots in Instant Action. There are also a couple of trophies for specific tasks like killing three players with one explosive, or performing a fatality in the Heavy Armor.

All in all, it's a satisfactorily varied list that will help to keep boredom astray during attempts at the platinum.

Gameplay: 8/10 superb

Singleplayer: 6/10 tolerable

Multiplayer: 8/10 superb

Technical: 7/10 good

Overall: 7.25/10 good

Section 8 has the makings of greatness - certainly its innovations are strong ones that make up for a few of the issues present, like lack of detail in the graphics. A few more players online would be nice, but that's not something the developers can control.

Despite its lack of polish in some areas, Section 8 is a remarkably fun game when everything comes together (as it often does), and well-worth the $30 price tag. I mean, who can really argue with a half-price game?