Expectations were low for this PSN shooter that’s old news for 360 and PC gamers. Oh look another space marine shooter on a distant planet. Wake up at the back though because Section 8 is actually pretty good.
The short single player campaign is pretty much an introduction to the controls and the game modes, which involve running to an enemy base, taking control of a module by pressing X, waiting around for a meter to fill then running off to another one, all while your AI teammates prance around doing sod all.
If you die you’ll spawn a fairly long distance away from any action while your team mates run around shooting randomly, with their own base-capturing X buttons seemingly halfway through their intestinal tract. It’s all over pretty soon and you’ll come to realise the basics and the walking mech suits you can steal are slow, but hard to take down and tanks are awful to steer but they at least have three other seats in which to sit and blast the merry shit out of everything coming up red in your crosshairs.
There’s more to the game, but it really only grabs you when you take it online. Thankfully there are plenty of people playing already in action-packed 32 player matches. 360 gamers moaned it looked like Halo and thus carried on playing said over-rated fully priced title.
Match objectives generally involve capturing bases and holding them for points (first to a 1000 for example), but sometime players might have to hunt down a commander, usually some poor sod on the other side who needs to stay alive for a set amount of time. It warms your heart when you realise he doesn’t know it’s him and he needs to keep his head down, but instead you watch him charge into battle head-on against a tank with his team mates desperately sprinting after him trying to defend his suicidal bonce. Good times. There are also Swarm matches that have human teams facing an onslaught of AI bots.
When spawning into battle you drop in from orbit and during the final seconds you can float down to somewhere more precise. It’s a nice touch that I’m surprised more shooters haven’t incorporated since Medal of Honor: Airborne and Battlefield 1943. You can opt to land near your squad or drop anywhere on the map you fancy, look out for anti-air turrets that’ll have you re-spawning before your lead-riddled corpse hits the ground.
A Real Space Marine
Every player has a jet pack for temporary leaps and hovering which can drive your opponents mad as they start to unload a clip into you only for you to disappear above while they wildly flail around trying to find you. It doesn’t last long though and it’ll have to recharge, so be ready for a fight again once you land.
It’s when combined with the sprint boost that things get really interesting. Hold down the sprint button for a few seconds and the camera zooms out to a trailing third-person camera as you hurtle across the alien planet with fantastic speed, aided all the more by the camera change. Time a boost jump with this and you can leap over a fortress wall, sprint through the base, dodging turret fire, get to a console, capture it and zoom back out again, grabbing a nice handful of points before the other team even realise you were there. It’s smash and grab brilliance and an excellent addition to a familiar match-type.
Other abilities include a brief lock-on target that recharges over time and the ability to buy supporting air-drops. You’ll earn cash in each match for kills and objectives that you spend on delivered gun/rocket turrets, sensor arrays, loadout stations, mechs and tanks. It’s all pretty cheap too which means anyone with a trigger finger has a chance.
As with any shooter with today’s gamers in its sights, soldier loadouts are customisable, with a variety of perks available. These might be for better accuracy, avoiding lock-ons, better recharge rates for sprints/ jet-packs or better shielding.
Shields are where my main gripe with the game comes in. Players have a health bar and a shield bar above them when you target them. Most of the time it will take around a full clip of machine gun or assault rifle fire to get through and take most of their health away. Now I don’t know if people have opted for only shield perks, or they’ve unlocked something at an obsessively high level, but sometimes even from behind at point-blank range you can unload a full clip, hit them with a rocket, whatever, and it barely shaves a hair off their shield bar. What the hell? I’d love to say it could be lag, but I never noticed the other tell-tale signs such as players teleporting around the screen and so on. The action flow was pretty flawless to be honest.
There are over 20 maps and while many of them feel a bit samey, it’s still an impressive number for such a small release. Unlike MAG, you can enjoy yourself and win by either playing with the team or just zipping around the map, getting involved in any skirmish you come across. You know, just having fun.
- Sprinting and jet-packs add to the pace and excitement
- Over twenty maps
- Easy to grasp, fun to play
- Not exactly a looker
- Annoying shield bullshit sometimes
- Very short single player game
The Short Version: £20 might be a bit steep as the older 360 version is less than £10 with a disc. It’s a lot of fun though and leaping over a base wall doing a one-man smash & grab is absolute dynamite. Get playing with a good crowd online and you’ll be at it for hours at a time.