Team-based first person shooters seem to either be brilliant or they are completely forgettable. Unfortunately for Brink it is a game that will come and go to the wayside like many shooters before it. Brink is definitely one of those games where you can see there was so much effort to stuff this game with all the components for this to be a phenomenal game… Yet, here we are with a below par shooter. Brink is on the PC, Xbox 360. and Playstaton 3 and was developed by Splash Damage. There are some good intentions behind this game, but all the faults overshadow anything that could have saved this game from being poor.
Brink takes place on this floating city called The Ark. The Ark recently has taken on to many people and it is slowly running out or resources that people need. In Brink, the player will play on either the role of security or revolution. The security is on the side of keeping order on the Ark, while people on the rebel side are trying to get what they feel is their equal share. Each side is construed to make the other look like they are politically wrong. The problem with the story is that it is pretty forgettable. There really aren’t any major character roles. The character you create is random soldier who is wrapped up in all the mess. The campaign is pretty much only useful for letting you know what is going on, but not going into depth. This is a huge disappointment because I was very curious about the story at first, but as the campaign progressed… It just got tedious and down-right boring.
The people and the cut scenes before missions are very well done while developing the feel and style of the Ark very well. The character customization is really well done and flushed out with a lot of options to choose from. Initially when the game was released the graphics were buggy and down right terrible. Lately, thank to patches, graphics and bugs have been fixed. At first, there were a magnitude of graphical glitches that made the game feel like it was unfinished. However, with the most recent patch they fixed most of the issues to put the graphics on par with what is expected in a FPS.
In the main menu, you can access all the modes available including challenges, free play, and campaign. Here, you can also customize your character in how they look and what weapons they can have. The guns in this game feel kind of lackluster unfortunately and there didn’t seem to be that many options either. Not only that… There is a limitation that only certain body types can carry certain guns. This limited the choices down for a game that seemed like it was going to be almost completely customizable. I understand that some of this was done for the sake of balance, but it just didn’t seem like there were enough choices in the gun department. You can still outfit each gun with different parts that you can unlock as you progress in the game’s level system.
There used to be an embeded media player here, but it doesn't work anymore. We blame the Tumbeasts.
There are also 4 different classes. Players can choose between being an engineer, soldier, medic and specialist. The soldier has basic set of skills good for combat, medic with revival and stat boosts, engineer with building things, and the specialist has some sneaky techniques very similar to the spy in Team Fortress 2. The four classes are varied and give variety to the game.
The game play is basically straight multiplayer matches and they are each objective based. The player can access objectives and set a point to go to by using the objective wheel. Basically, the objective system is when you click a button and a wheel of objectives comes up. From there, you can see the main objectives in yellow and sub-objectives in blue. You can choose an objective and it will give you a point to go to wear the objective located. I felt this is a very good tool that needs to be flushed out more so it can be more useful. It was a good way to decide what to go for at the beginning of the match to help your team plan for victory. This is one of the few shining moments in Brink‘s game design really comes out.
The game focuses very heavily on online play. If you don’t have a way to connect to online, the player can have bots take the place of people. Heaven help you if that is the only way you can play this game… This game’s bots are terrible. They seem to only be effective at getting anything done at the last few couple seconds and not only that… They are as dumb as rocks. They constantly get in the way and they tend to do things that make the experience rather frustrating. The only way to get any enjoyment out of this game is to play online with actual people. The online play is solid when you have a good connection, but there were a lot of times when I would lag out of the match. The recent patches have addressed a lot of issues when it came to lag and after the patch the lag didn’t appear that often.
The best part of this game had to have been the SMART system. SMART stands for smooth movement around random terrain. This feature was basically the greatest achievement out of this game. Basically, it operates as your sprint button. The next thing it does is it lets you vault over obstacles, run up walls, or do anything that would be physically possible to get from around obstacles that would stop any normal FPS character. For instance, rails are normally ways of limiting a player’s motion or at least slowing them down. In Brink, the player can vault over the rail with no problem. It sounds like such a small thing, but when put into use… It becomes a game changer. There were moments where I thought this is what Mirror’s Edge would be like with multiplayer. The SMART system works really well and lets the player pull of some very cool maneuvers. One thing that’s interesting is that you could run the hit crouch to basically slide into an opponent while shooting them and sliding into them would knock them down so the player could finish them off. SMART allowed for a lot of different tactical advantages that I have never thought of before. It’s just too bad a game can’t be carried by one control system.
Brink was a very ambitious title. They were trying to cram a lot of ideas in a strictly multiplayer based game. Early on there were some major problems with bugs, but with the new patches to the game they have been addressed. On the flip side there is no way to patch a complete game design change. While the game is fun for awhile the missions seem to get monotonous. The game has a lot of good ideas like the objective wheel and the SMART system, but if the core game play suffers it doesn’t matter how good the ideas are. I really wanted to like this game because it seemed to break up the monotony of “modern” day warfare games. It’s depressing to see the good ideas be overshadowed by game play that just gets boring after awhile. Brink is available now for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 now for $59.99.