I know what you’re thinking: “didn’t you guys just preview Section 8: Prejudice last month?” Why yes, yes we did. However, Nick hadn’t played the original for a solid comparison preview. The PAX East preview of Section 8 Prejudice is for both the experienced Section 8 players, and the people who just want to get into a game that offers some pretty hardcore strategy and shooter elements.
As you may or may not know, Section 8 is a first person shooter/strategy title that puts the player in a body suit customized to their needs. Each player selects a loadout from the drop ship; primary weapon, secondary weapon, personal ability, and armor type. After customizing their armor, the players are rocketed down to the surface of the planet before landing wherever they choose on the map.
This is how each player will respawn after death, so the sequence is something you’ll get used to. Once on the surface of whatever map you’re playing on you have a few different goals. In the Co-op mode I played in, it was me and three other guys protecting a computer in the center of the base. I watched a few levels go by and the strategy for each level was vastly different than the last.
In order to protect your base/computer, you’ll be able to purchase items to be dropped to the planet much the same way you were. Say you wish to call in a turret - you’ll hit up on the d-pad and select the turret. Then you find a place to throw a flare down for delivery. After a few seconds a pod drops to the planet and unfolds into a turret.
Strategically placing things like these turrets, weapon reload stations, vehicles, etc is essential to survival. You’ll also be able to change your players load-outs from one of the stations you drop, adjusting weapons and personal abilities on the fly.
Personal abilities for your suit include being able to heal objects or allies, or other tweaks that really help out in a pinch like grenades or something of that nature. Using any of your abilities to help team mates earns money to purchase drops like the turrets or weapons. Other ways to earn money is to kill the enemy - so basically anything you do that helps the team will earn money. If you’re one that sits back and doesn’t like to get your hands dirty, you’ll still accumulate funds slowly over time.
Section 8 is one of the most visually appealing shooters I’ve ever played, and that part carried over just fine - too bad the original game was almost entirely versus. This is where Prejudice vastly differs from the first. Unfortunately the campaign is still a single-player experience, but the added co-op survival mode is a real treat for people wishing to work together. Applying strategy with those around you really brings this game to life. It’s tough as a single player to ask your A.I. buddies to drop something specific, so co-op is greatly appreciated.
The developer I spoke with said that they really learned a lot from the first game and basically took all that was good, and improved it. Being able to change your weapons to whatever you like was a huge improvement - in the original you were stuck with weapons for your class (if I remember correctly the healing/medic class had a shotgun and a handgun or something like that, whereas the assault class had an assault rifle and grenades).
Another much appreciated change was the different missions. A lot of the first game was very repetitive as a single-player experience since all I was doing was capturing points by myself, and shooting A.I. with my A.I. buddies. Being able to defend a point with others during a set amount of time was a great overall experience - and I can see myself doing that for quite a bit longer.
In this mode it was easy to get caught up in everything and almost stress out when you were respawning. That trip down to the surface from the drop ship seems like forever when the map is flashing with red enemies and your allies really needing your help. I really appreciated the feel for this game much more than the original, which isn’t to say the first was a poor experience, just that Prejudice is a better one.