Tuesday I alerted fellow DToiders that Section 8, a highly Tribes looking game, was on sale for $14.99 on PSN. Perhaps motivated by the potential for fellow dtoids to orbital drop on, I purchased and decided to play some while it was still on sale so that I could give quick impressions. I'm now 3/4ths of the way through the campaign and I wanted to get some multiplayer in before dropping this knowledge.
So what is Section 8? It's an old school shooter that borrows from far too many games to count while adding a few tricks of it's own. Which is both it's blessing and it's curse. You see, if you play this game you'll notice the glaring influences. Such as the deployment purchasing dynamic of The Outfit. The class based loadout systems of Counterstrike and Team Fortress. The quick mobility of Crysis. The jetpacks of Tribes. The checkpoint capture systems of Unreal Tournament and Battlefield. Finally, the shield dynamic of Halo. Adding to it's out trick, respawning via an orbital drop, giving you both a birds eye view of the entire battle, and a potential kill as you land.
Now look at all that stuff and say it with me, "wow, sounds like a shopping list of epic badass shootery." Frankly, yes. Having all these elements work together goes a long way to making this a fairly unique game, but at the same time it strips this game of it's own unique voice. And obviously the developers were aware of this. Because all the elements mentioned are actually dialed down, seemingly out of fear. After all, gamers love to call games ripoffs and even if they were, so long as the game is good, the game is good.
Because of this, the jetpacks aren't quite as central as in Tribes. In fact, most of everything it attempts feels dialed back. Which ultimately begs the question, why? Shooters have evolved rapidly in the past 15 years and a LOT of the fun, addictive game designs have been left behind. Section 8 takes us back about 5 years, and in a good way. When the headshot wasn't the instawin, where the kills were hard fought, when the story didn't pretend to be shakespeare, and when it just felt good to kill.
Because of this, and this alone, I can recommend Section 8. It has the old school gameplay the Killzones and Modern Warfares leave in Bad Companies. However, I cannot recomment it above the sale price of $15. The short campaign and likely short lifespawn of the online community makes it not worth any price above $20. It's good, but PSN is the right home for it.