By AndrewG009 5 Comments
So Section 8 is coming out tomorrow and after playing the demo a few times I have some thoughts I would like to share. To kick things off, it is one of those multiplayer titles that feels like Unreal Tournament or Team Fortress. Actually, to be honest, it feels a bit like the two of them had a twisted screaming child together, had it taken away from them by birth and raised by Robert Heinlein who actively encouraged it to play with others. I think that sums it up relatively well. Granted, it was only a demo, but there were several things the little slice of the game did really great and a piece or two that felt like a spoiled pumpkin pie to the stomach.
Enough of these food allegories though, let's get down to business.
Section 8 takes place several hundred years in the future where mankind has set out to colonize the stars. However, when one of those planets rebel in the form of the Arm of Orion, mankind once again sets out from Earth to kick ass and take names. Deriving their name from the old US Army term for soldiers who are mentally unfit for duty due to the reasoning that they are essentially crazy, Section 8 gives off the same vibe at times, but it never feels like madness in the Eternal Darkness kind of way. And that's good, because it isn't what I want. Once the main cinematic rolls and the title screen appears, you're given the choice for a few options. You can begin an instant action round, which much like Unreal Tournament throws you into a match with bots, and you can literally jump right into combat. Corde's Story follows Alex Corde, a member of Section 8. Story mode sounds like it will basically be a series of Instant Actions that have cinematics spliced between levels in which you've kicked sufficient amounts of ass and taken the amount of names deemed necessary by your commanding officer. Finally, you can take the game online for some carnage against something that is being controlled by a player with a pulse. Multiple gameplay options and maps, many of which were unavailable in the demo only serve to drive my curiousity forward.
Once you've chosen a gameplay mode, be it instant action, online or story, you're presented with a screen that allows you to choose a loadout. This is where the Team Fortress feeling came into play because there are multiple character classes, none of which will feel daunting to anyone who has played a team-centric shooter in the past. There is standard Infantry, Engineer, Guardian, which functions in the same manner as heavy support, Medic, Recon, etc and each of these can have their individual loadouts modified. Therefore, no matter what class you want to play as they can customized and tailored to your particular style of play before dropping into the combat zone, which I confess is one of the coolest spawn features I have ever seen in a video game.
Prior to spawning, you will be presented with a map of the currently engaged combat area. There are red icons, signifying the enemy, as well as blue icons, which identify allies. Additionally, there are blue and red circles on the map that extend a certain radius from the bases that are currently in control of whichever side, these are the range of the AA guns. Now, dropping from the sky is hazardous enough, but when Anti-air guns come into play, it become particularly dicey. Should you choose to drop in range of AA guns, you can make it to the ground, however you're shields and possibly armor will have suffered damage and you'll have little to no breaking time before you hit the ground if you want to survive, making you easy pickings for any opponents defending their base. This won't always work though and should you drop too deep into AA gun range, you'll be getting ready to respawn even before you hit the ground. But as I said, this single unique play mechanic may be the deciding factor in what drives me to pick up Section 8.
Once on the ground, there are various locations on the map as well as different objectives that can be activated at any time. There are computer centers from which players can hack their way into controlling a facility, and taking a note from several multiplayer titles, the more players in the vicinity the faster it seems to come under the assaulting teams control. There are armories and indoor areas, but these merely serve to change up the scenery and don't really give the map I was able to play any further life. As far as objectives, there are convoys, intel and vip missions that occur at random times on the map all within the same game round, so it is always changing up. This felt confusing at first, but the more I listened to the in-game announcements, the easier it got to know when they would occur. Moreover, the combat felt very fluid and really didn't feel clunky, but it did take some getting used to at first.
After all, any title, especially shooters have a slight learning curve. Section 8 has a curve, but it didn't take that long to get the hang of it. The shooting feels a bit odd at first, but zooming in and even locking on become second nature after a round or so. Melee feels smooth as does the ability to go into a dead run before activating jump jets to do some shooting mid-air. While I was initially cynical that this would merely be a game wrapped around the sole gimmick of the drop, having grown up reading Starship Troopers, I was happy to see that wasn't the case. Overall, this does feel above average as a shooter, but I am loathe to admit that without playing against other people it could grow repetitive.
Ultimately, as with other titles, it is the little things that set them apart. Team Fortress had the team dynamic. Every class supporting the other created a stronger whole and won games, which is what make TF so much damn fun to play even to this day. Unreal Tournament is frantic arena combat that keeps on going until the score limit is reached. I would like to think that combined with the drop spawn, this could very well serve as a potential best of both worlds. However, only time and the final product, which I decided part of the way through this to follow through on and pick up. Here's hoping fortune favors innovation.
now how do i land on someone and kill them.