Nobody wants to eat caviar every meal; sometimes a plain old hamburger will do. When you have a hamburger that reappears after you eat it and never goes bad, though, why would you ever buy a new one? That’s the problem with bland video games in overpopulated genres. Section 8 only minimally distinguishes itself from many space marine FPS titles already available.
The differences between Section 8 and the games it apes are mostly superficial. Like the Unreal Tournaments of the world, it’s best if we pretend that Section 8’s terrible single-player component doesn’t exist. Online, two 16-player teams race to collect 1,000 points by controlling objectives and killing enemies, just like in any number of other titles. Here, though, players plod at a snail’s pace as they chip away at each others’ massive health pools. By engaging their powerful jetpacks, players can jump in and out of trouble – which has the side effect of making matches between experienced combatants a matter of wearing down their jetpack charge as much as their armor.
The one cool innovation in Section 8 is its randomized missions. As an example, an objective like a convoy will occasionally spawn. One team gets tasked with protecting it, the other with destroying it. Whichever side wins this skirmish gets a healthy point boost, and often an in-game bonus like a new outpost or a super-powered tank. These one-off side missions are a great addition, throwing much-needed wrenches into Section 8’s well-worn gameplay.
Ultimately, these missions are not enough to give this title the boost it needs to make a name for itself in a crowded genre. The nice backend clan support is wasted since the game just isn’t much fun to play. The shooting lacks the high-intensity lethality of Counter-Strike, the lightning-paced speed of Tribes, and the great cooperative mechanics of Battlefield. You won’t spit this hamburger out, but you probably won’t tell your friends about it, either.