Section 8 comes out as an odd game right from its title – some of you may already know the meaning behind the term; it’s a reference to a regulation in the US Army related to discharging personnel for mental issues – and this relates quite well to the game’s characters, which are presented in an almost suicidal manner, always engaging in life-threatening missions and highly risky situations.
There’s both a singleplayer campaign with a good number of levels, as well as a multiplayer component to try out your skills against others online. If you’re playing the campaign, you’ll be taken through a rather cliched story, which still serves the game’s purpose nicely – obviously, the focus here has been on the sheer gameplay, and not that much on the plot. You’re given a special suit equipped with various gadgets, allowing you to move at great speeds on the ground while also using a jetpack to move around the aerial space of levels.
Respawning in multiplayer has been handled very uniquely – instead of starting over at a pre-determined point, you’re given the choice of doing a “burn-in”, in which you first pick an arbitrary spot on the battlefield, after which you’re dropped from a spacecraft from a tremendous height.
You’re not completely unlimited in your choices of where you can land though, and you’ll have to be careful not to fall into the sightlines of enemies and their anti-air defences, which can blow you out of the skies before you’ve even realized what’s going on.
You can manoeuvre your character as you’re falling down though and even stop the fall completely, allowing you to more finely readjust your landing spot if you notice any trouble waiting for you on the ground.
Hey, it’s the Unreal Engine 3 – wouldn’t you know it! Sarcasm aside though, it’s easy to understand why FPS developers are turning to the UE3 so often these days – it offers a good balance of graphics quality versus system requirements, while also being extremely flexible for the developers themselves, allowing them to concentrate more on designing their actual game, instead of trying to work their way around engine limitations and problems.
The system requirements are somewhat higher than the standard UE3 game, on the other hand – you’ll need a faster processor and more RAM to run it smoothly, plus a video card that supports Pixel Shade 3.0 (there’s absolutely no backwards compatibility for the older versions, so if your graphics card isn’t top of the line – you’ll have a problem running this).
There’s a faint sign of cross-play between console and PC users in this title – using the Xbox 360′s “X-Server” function, you can set up a dedicated server from a PC, which can then be played on by Xbox 360 players. There’s a similar feature for PS3 players as well, represented by the TGNServer technology – which basically serves the same functionality.
Section 8 lives up to its name by providing fast-paced, dynamic action played out by characters that are anything but sane. It’s a thrilling experience whether you choose to play it in singleplayer, or against other people online – your time spent will be well worth it.