Armored drop troopers plummet from orbit to do battle with hostile forces on a war-torn planet in Section 8, a sci-fi first-person shooter from developer TimeGate Studios. Unfortunately, despite a few surprisingly fun gimmicks, Section 8 falls short of greatness and winds up playing like a generic cookie-cutter shooter.
Expect to be frustrated from the moment you turn the game on with menus that are clunky and ugly, and text that’s hard to read. It’s even tough to navigate your way to the game’s single-player campaign, which will likely be your first stop before jumping into online multiplayer matches. Once you finally do get there, you’ll find a disappointingly skimpy single-player mode called Corde’s Story. It’s too bad that playing through this brief and unfulfilling campaign does little more than slap you in the face with a thin story and a few recycled multiplayer maps flooded with weak bots before it ends. There are no impressive set pieces, memorable moments, or interesting characters here - making the single-player campaign feel more like a drawn out tutorial to teach you Section 8’s basic gameplay mechanics and fill you in on its sadly generic lore.
You play as a soldier in the Eighth Armored division - and thanks to your exoskeleton battle armor, you’ve got a few unique abilities. First, you don’t spawn on the map, you “burn-in.” Jumping from dropships cruising above the battle zone, you can select any point on the map and crash into it like a meteor. You’ll see flames licking at your face and your altitude counter ticking down as you plummet to the ground, and it’s up to you if you want to hit the ground like a bomb or apply the air brake to tweak your approach. Drop straight in and you’ll be on the ground faster, but you’ll need a moment to recover from the landing. Slow down and you can set up a precise landing, but you’ll be out of the action a few seconds longer. With some practice, you’ll be able to curve your descent while under the fire of enemy anti-aircraft cannons. Burning-in looks and feels great, and it’s the coolest feature Section 8 has to offer shooter fans.
But once you land, the mediocrity sets in again with a traditional armory of standard weapons complete with jetpack and speed boost abilities. The jetpack allows you to reach almost any vertical space on the map, while the speed boost allows you to cross great distances in a flash. The increased mobility is meant to help you navigate Section 8’s huge maps, but it’s hard to enjoy how well your jetpack and speed boosts work as you dash and jump your way through the bland and boring backgrounds.