Section 8: Prejudice
While Prejudice's depth is important, however, its boiled-down simplicity is just as crucial. Section 8: Prejudice offers a lot to hardcore FPS fans who want to spend their evenings arguing tactics and drop-points, but it offers just as much to casual fans.
The way that players respawn by dropping onto the battlefield from orbit, for example, is great for serious matches, but it also enables an immediacy of violence that less strategically-minded players will appreciate. If all you want is a simple multiplayer shooter that lets you kill and be killed with minimal waiting in between, then Prejudice delivers in spades.
The massive levels, which run the usual gamut of Fire, Ice, Jungle and Science planets, support this accessibility too, as does the huge
40-player count. The levels are so large and open that it almost doesn’t matter where you land, as there’s always going to be someone within shooting distance, or a deployed turret if not.
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Prejudice falters in a few places, however, with one of the biggest problems being the fact that it’s a game primarily designed for consoles – as evidenced by the lack of weapon recoil and the addition of a lock-on power-up that essentially legalises auto-aim. These features aren’t enough to ruin the game, and it’s not as if we left each match complaining that the sci-fi weaponry didn't feel real enough, but it does affect the tone enough to make the PC version feel like an afterthought.
And, let’s face it, getting killed by a sniper who uses the auto-aim power to overcome a lack of skill and secure a perfect headshot isn’t ever likely to be very much fun.
Prejudice’s budget price also manifests itself in a lack of multiplayer modes. There are only two game types on offer, Conquest and Swarm, both of which come with offline practice modes populated by surprisingly capable bots. There’s also a big box labelled ‘Coming Soon’, which seems to hint at post-launch DLC additions, presumably at a price.
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Of the two multiplayer modes, Conquest definitely offers the most long-term appeal and revolves around the capture of Control Points, as well as dynamically generated missions. These dynamic missions are all equally impersonal – Protect the VIP! Assault the convoy! Gather the wreckage! – but serve their function of introducing random factors very well.
The second mode, Swarm, is more of a co-operative effort, with players trying to hold off titular swarms of foes for as long as possible. It’s enjoyable enough, but it’s also hard to get excited about something we've seen so many times before.
Equally, though, it’s hard to slam Section 8: Prejudice too much for a lack of content when you consider that it costs less than £10 and still manages to offer some of the most frenetic and fun violence we’ve seen in the last few months. There’s nothing breathtakingly innovative or shocking about it, and in many ways it’s nought but a by-the-numbers shooter.
Regardless of the unapologetically generic setting and aesthetics though, Prejudice’s scale, depth and accessibility make it a very attractive option for some cheap multiplayer gaming. It doesn’t do anything new, but it does old things well enough to be worth a look, despite a few niggles and flaws.