Section 8 is extremely hard to review. It is a multiplayer game first and foremost, but with no-one playing it. It sort of renders the entire game obsolete. It’s obviously a Halo clone, quite an enjoyable one at that, but Halo is the reason why no-one is playing this, which is quite disappointing. Section 8 just can’t compete against this Goliath of a game. Section 8 is David, Halo is Goliath, but David has run out of rocks.
Section 8 does have a campaign mode, but it is entirely unnecessary. The plot is indecipherable and the actual levels are just multiplayer maps filled with bots and bland objectives. The campaign mode struggles to even hit the hour mark and, what with all characters being bots, you just don’t care about the story or the characters. I suppose the developers felt the need to put in a single-player aspect, but when it’s as poorly done as this, there is no real need to do so. Look at Shadowrun for instance. That is a multiplayer game through and through and it sticks to that. Sure, you can play offline, but it doesn’t feel the need to tack on a really poor story instead of just giving some background to why you’re fighting, which Section 8 doesn’t even really do. The game has good guys and it has bad guys. You don’t know who either side is working for, what they are doing, why they are doing what they’re doing and where the hell they are.
The gameplay is extremely Halo-esque too. The enemies have life bars that take a while to deplete, making it less fast paced than games such as Call of Duty 4 and involves you strafing a lot more. The guns are nothing special, which is disappointing from a sci-fi FPS. I mean, even Prey had some cool weapons. Here you just have your bog standard guns: machine gun, rifle, rocket launcher etc. The problem as well is that the guns don’t feel all that powerful. You’re meant to be an amped up space marine and your guns should reflect this. However, when faced with numerous enemies, there just wasn’t enough time to kill them before dying at the hands of their uber weapons.
Despite the gameplay being pretty average and something we’ve all seen before, there are a couple of gimmicks that are pretty interesting. One of the main selling points of Section 8 is the ability to spawn anywhere by dropping onto the map. As long as it is above ground, you’ll be able to land there, maybe even taking a few enemies out when you crash down from space. It’s really cool to just drop down, float around the map once you’ve braked and then drop right back into the action. The long dropping animation does get a bit annoying, especially if you need to get back on the map to help out your team. Guns and vehicles can be dropped onto the map as well, earned through money you make in the game. Having an ammo drop handy is a great strategy, however the vehicles are extremely hard to control and, if you’re on the business end of one, extremely hard to take down and ruins the balance of the game.
The maps in Section 8 are pretty big and, since vehicles are so terrible to control, your best bet is to just run from A to B. The problem here is that both your running and sprinting speed are way too slow. Putting you against a tortoise would result in a victory for the latter. However, the boost run ability is pretty cool. Sprint for long enough and your boost will activate, switching to the third person view of your suit running at high speeds. The problem is, when boost running it is extremely hard to stop resulting in you crashing into walls a lot of the time. It also takes forever to heat up.
There are jet packs too, to get around a little easier, but these are faltered by the same things as the boost run. Add to that the fact that the jetpack fuel runs out pretty quickly makes the jetpack more of a novelty use than a worthy addition.
The main problems with Section 8 arise when you try to get into a multiplayer match. The game boasts 32 player matches, yet most games, if you even find one, only ever have around 6 people in them. That is the most I have ever found in a match. There are simply not enough people playing this game to warrant a purchase. No doubt as people come to realise that no-one is playing it, they will sell their copy on, thus meaning even less people are playing.
I really would like to recommend Section 8. It has some pretty neat features which make it stand out from Halo, especially if you are tired of it, but the fact it is mainly an online game with not enough people playing it renders it obsolete. By all means, rent it and enjoy what matches you actually find because you will enjoy those matches, but do not buy it else you will just feel cheated in the end.