Xbox 360, PC
Review copy provided by the publisher
Brink is one of those games that takes a chance so many developers are afraid to make nowadays, and will be hated by some because of it. Sure this game has a few technical kinks (that can be fixed in time) but the innovation Brink brings to shooters and team based objectives should be applauded. Another thing to keep in mind is that this game was almost solely meant for multiplayer functions. Now when I say something like that you can believe me that the singleplayer leaves A LOT left to be desired. But when you realize the main goal Splash Damage had when building up Brink, you’ll understand that this team based shooter is much better than those who say otherwise.
The story behind Brink sets itself up perfectly for multiplayer action. There is this utopia floating upon a sea that acts as a haven for those within its boundaries from the “post apocalyptic” world. The problem with this floating haven is that it’s suffering from a serious overpopulation problem which causes a great deal of lack of resources. The most notable residents are those belonging to the security faction and those belonging to the resistance faction. The security is tasked with keeping the people of the Ark in line and not allowing anyone to leave for reasons you’ll find out later in the game. The resistance, fed up with their crummy, downtrodden lives, believe they’re being treated like slaves and their only means of truly surviving is escaping the Ark.
The gameplay correlates to those events with each faction essentially defending or attacking on a certain map. The attacking team has certain objectives that they have to go through while the defending team prevents those objectives from being accomplished. This is the first factor that makes Brink’s gameplay shine. These objectives are anything from uploading data to a server, blowing up an object, repairing broken devices, or escorting a bot. They’re not just holding down a position for a certain amount of time and focuses the entire match on one objective at a time (besides designated side missions). This ensures that people aren’t spread out along the battlefield and give a new meaning to “team based”.
The next star of the gameplay is stats are not kept in-game. (You can go to Brink’s official website to view your stats.) No longer will people be like “dude do you see all the kills I have” or “man I just need one more kill” for a specific reason. Not having to worry about how many kills/deaths you have once again redefines “team based” by encouraging everyone to focus on one thing and one thing only…winning! The last unique factor of the gameplay is the SMART system. This great addition to shooters allows anyone to climb, jump, or hurdle over objects in a seamless manner. No longer are you restricted to just the ground which adds a sense of realism to the battle. Think of Mirror’s Edge but with a gun at all times.
The rest of the gameplay is what you would expect from shooters. There is a great deal of customization starting directly from your body’s appearance and there are weapons, attachments, abilities and clothing that can be unlocked via leveling up or completing levels. The cool thing about the unlockables though, is the amount of different combinations. My fragile little mind couldn’t comprehend the number of possibilities. Lastly, the different classes you can become are painfully unoriginal (medic, soldier, operative, and engineer). However, (depending on the level and experience of the gamer) the classes seem extremely balanced. In other words there will be no one man armies or one shot kills which makes Brink the ideal shooter. This is a very refreshing take on the bland, everyday shooters we play now (Call of Duty).
Sadly, the gameplay is where Brink stops being a staple for the shooter genre. The first and foremost problem with the game is the concept remains the same. Whether you play the single player or with other gamers, nothing changes. So much so that the story missions ARE the multiplayer matches. Nothing has really changed but at least you garner XP no matter what game mode you play. As I said before this game wasn’t meant to be a campaign based title. That still doesn’t excuse the fact that the AI is horrendously horrible that you will want to bang your head against a wall. Don’t be surprised if you end up playing the whole campaign in the multiplayer setting. To add insult to injury there is no proper narrative to the actual story, just six or seven cut scenes per side that pick up on a conversation relative to the mission. The only way you’re going to get a hold on what’s going on is the audio logs you collect.
Once again, be glad Brink was made and tailored to the multiplayer aspect of gaming. Playing with friends and other gamers can really get you into the feel of what Brink really is. An innovative, benchmark shooter. Unfortunately, Splash Damage left out any structured party system. To actually play with your friends you’ll have to join their game that will most likely be already in progress. This is very disappointing since Brink establishes so much of itself on the shooter aspect of gaming, that it wouldn’t include something so simple and necessary to online matchmaking. On a lighter note; I actually did not experience much lag in online matches. Must be an internet connection thing.
As if the inconsistency and lack-luster lasting appeal weren’t enough, Brink has a plethora of technical gimmicks that I hope will be fixed soon. Whether you play the campaign or multiplayer there will be frame rate issues, texture issues, and sometimes the audio will even get ahead of the video. To prove my point, a friend of mine (halfway through a game) saw every building and object as an indescribable figure. In the end I feel that these technical issues hurt Brink’s graphics because I see potential in the id Tech 4 engine. When these problems don’t occur Brink has an intriguing, gritty art form.
Overall, Brink has great, innovative gameplay that falls victim to a lack of structure and technical issues. I really enjoyed my time actually playing this game, but for those who don’t like shooters the lasting appeal will drop substantially. Then add in the technical issues and mediocre depth at which Brink operates. It will really “turn you off” from recognizing the true potential that Splash Damage’s latest game can offer. To conclude, if you enjoy first person shooters but want to experience the next level of shooters…Brink is definitely a game you should check out. If you’re one of those people who can’t look past lurid structural integrity, move along.
- Title: Brink
Platform Reviewed: PS3
- Developer: Splash Damage
- Publisher: Bethesda
- MSRP: $59.99
- Release Date: May 10, 2011
- Review Copy Info: A copy of the title was provided to DualShockers Inc. by the publisher for the purpose of this review