is all about the action. And, for this title, so was I. When the ground that was once just a speck on a screen of my battle cruiser is now the earth that is rocketing towards me as I punch into the atmosphere, it is a bit of a rush. But before we burn in, let's start from the beginning.
While still safely aboard your ship, you will choose which side you will represent, and what your load-out is going to be. The name Section 8 refers to Earth's Eighth Armoured Infantry. They have been dispatched to quell the frontier planets' insurrection known as The Arm of Orion. To take on this threat, you will be equipped with special armour and weapons. There are several preselected load-outs that you can choose from. The best part is that you can fully customize all of your load-outs to suit the needs of your particular battle style. There are no major restrictions. This armour protects you as you deploy. The armor can utilize its air brakes to land softly and at full health onto the battlefield, but it also allows you to slam in hard and fast, never allowing your enemy to get a good shot at you. Both have benefits, but they both have their disadvantages as well. A slow, soft descent allows enemies to get a good look at where you are and where you are landing, but you land safely. Coming in hot can help you break through areas guarded by anti-air defenses, but hits the ground hard enough to take off some shield energy and leave you dazed for a moment.
What you can't carry with you into battle, you can have sent to you via air mail. Tanks, heavy armor, AA guns, sensors, and supplies can be requisitioned in the heat of battle. Every man or piece of equipment you kill on the battlefield earns you requisition points. These requisition points can then be used to call in these supplies. Besides just earning these requisition points, you will earn feats. These feats add up until you can activate Dynamic Combat Missions. These missions, when complete, count heavily towards your victory points that decide the battle.
You are aided in getting around the battlefield by your suit's jet pack and speed boost features. Death from above is not limited only to dropping in through the atmosphere. These features are also handy in keeping you alive during a firefight. The drop-in units like the tank and power armour sacrifice speed for great fireworks. You will learn to counteract their massive firepower with the speed and maneuverability of your suit.
There is a single player section of the game that serves as the standard tutorial for new players before they get into multi-player battle. I call it that, because hey, that is what it is, but that is not doing it full justice. I was actually surprised how long the single player campaign was. It was also more involved than I thought I was going to get for the "tutorial." There is a very noticeable A.I. gap when you play a linear FPS and when you are playing bots on a Massive Multi-player FPS. The subtlety may be like being able to tell wines apart, but you just can tell the play is different. You could tell that throughout the single player game, making nothing any more easy or difficult, you could just feel it.
The game really is all about the massive online battles against other players. Because this is a Windows Live game, there are plenty of achievements to earn along the way, just like the Xbox 360 version. There really are 1001 ways to die on the battlefield. As experimentation is really starting to phase out in online play, there are deficiencies in balance starting to be painfully clear. These issues can be easily addressed; we will see if things can even out in time.