In a world dominated by generic shooters and boring sequels, Brink attempts to do something different. However, with a host of technical flaws, a meaningless campaign, a hand full of repetitive maps and an extremely easy levelling system, Brink fails to deliver what many fans were hoping for.
- Worth The Time?Brink is definitely worth a try, but you should buy it for the multiplayer, nothing more.
- Things LovedThe large range of character customisation options. Expansive weapon customisation. The fun and intense online battles. The S.M.A.R.T. system (when it works). Various different class abilities and combinations.
- Things HatedThe frequent failing of the S.M.A.R.T. system. Inconsistent A.I. opponents. Meaningless and lifeless campaign. Meaningless decision at the beginning of the game. Vverly easy challenges. Small level cap. Lack of replayability. Repetitive maps and matches. Lack of content. Unbalanced weapons. The frequent and annoying choke-points in maps.
- RecommendationAs stated above, Brink is worth a try, but it is very hard to justify a full price game when considering the lack of content that is offered. All the hype set Brink up for glory, but unfortunately it falls flat on its face. There is some fun to be had when playing online, but the lack of a interesting campaign and the small time it takes to reach the level cap keeps it from reaching the heights that Call of Duty and other similar FPS have reached. The small number of maps does not help this issue either, and players will soon find themselves falling into a pit of repetitiveness and all too familiar objectives.
- Name: Brink
- Genre: FPS/ Team-based shooter
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: Competitive Online
- Platforms: Pc, Xbox 360, PS3
- Developer: Splash Damage
- Publisher: Bethesda
- Price: R599.00
- Reviewed On: PC
Brink immediately sets itself part from about 90% of all other shooters right from the get go. Brink is not set in either a distant war or a past one, but rather in an entirely new setting all together, The Ark. The world has plunged into a fight for survival after environmental issues have caused the flooding of most countries around the globe. The Ark, situated in San Francisco, acts as humanities last beacon of hope, or that is what the city’s rulers want you to believe. The Ark began as a utopia, with renewable resources keeping the city alive and thriving. That is until many refugees begin to arrive at the Ark looking for sanctuary. Soon after this, the Ark is no longer able to keep up with the demand. And welcome, Brink.
The city is on the verge of civil war, with the Security forces forming to defend the Ark and all its inhabitants, while the Resistance gears up to attempt an escape from the fallen city. The beginning of the game starts with a lengthy cut scene, showing both the Security and Resistance at work. After this, you are asked to make a choice. Either “Save the Ark” or “Escape the Ark”. At first, this seems like a very hard decision to make, but soon after deciding it becomes apparent that this choice is utterly meaningless, as you are able to change between factions without any form of a penalty. This already strips a major part in Brink, as the player has no emotional attachment to either side.
You are then taken to the character customisation screen, which is one of the strong points Brink has to offer. There is a multitude of different customisation options available to you, allowing you to truly create a character that is unique and distinguishable from everyone else on the battlefield. From shirts to jackets, masks to face paint, glasses to caps. Everything you could possibly want is there and everything is interchangeable (except for tattoos, they are permanent). Not all of the attire is unlocked from the start, but unlocking everything does not take too long. At the beginning, you are also unable to change your body type and this forces you to play the first hour or so solely as a medium weight class. It’s a good starting ground.
Medium classes have a regular sized health meter, are more nimble and faster than the Heavy class, but significantly slower and less agile than the Light class. Heavy body types have a very large health meter, but sacrifice mobility and agility for extended life expectancy. The Light body class on the other hand is the complete opposite, allowing players to move incredible quickly throughout the map, both vertically and horizontally. All this agility comes at a cost though, and Light body class players will have to learn to keep on the move constantly, or face a quick and swift death. Again, the body class of your character can be changed as much as your heart desires, though the only constraint is that it cannot be changed while in a match, so plan accordingly.
Weapon customisation is also a strong point in Brink. There are a host of different weapons, including sub-machine guns, assault rifles, rifles, miniguns, pistols, revolvers, grenade launchers and machine pistols. Every single weapon is able to be customised with a host of different attachments ranging from silencers to drum magazines, with a maximum of four attachments allowed. As is expected, each attachment has both its pros and cons, with enhancements to damage sometimes making way for sacrifice in the stability department as an example. Each weapon has a range of statistics, setting it apart from all the others, though this is where problems begin to arise. Throughout your entire campaign, you will probably only use a handful of weapons, as some weapons are so under-powered compared to others that it makes absolutely no sense to use them. This seems to make the point of having a lot of weapons on offer a bit redundant, but I am sure a patch could fix the issue in no time. Body type also comes into play when deciding on your load out, as not all body types can use the same weapons. Heavy body classes can use every type of weapon. They also have an assault rifle as their secondary weapon, while medium body types can use all the weapons except for the heavy types such as the minigun. Medium’s can choose between pistols and sub-machine guns as their secondary. Light body types can only use sub-machine guns and pistols. A limited range of pistols form option as a secondary weapon.
Brink’s campaign is essentially a training ground for online play, as the levels played are exactly the same. With no main characters, a watered-down lifeless plot and no sense of attachment to your comrades, it is somewhat of a wonder why the developers even bothered to include a single-player at all. Another downfall is the A.I, where enemies can range from unbelievably dumb to highly trained sharpshooters in the blink of an eye. Teammates are also rife with inconsistencies. Team medics sometimes dropping everything to revive you, only to completely ignore you on your next life.
Aside from the campaign, there are four challenge maps that allow you to unlock weapon attachments on completion, though they provide nearly no challenge at all and can easily be completed within an hour. Multiplayer is what Brink was built for, and thankfully it is much better than the previous two modes. Human teammates spice up the action, though it is extremely sad that there are only eight maps to wage war in, with the similar objectives in all the maps. Another frustrating aspect of the maps is the frequent choke-points that appear, which can turn an exhilarating match into a 10 min slog with seemingly no end. This dampens the appeal of another match, and it is not uncommon to see nearly half the server leave after a series of similar matches.
On of the selling points that Brink brought forward was its innovative movement system called S.M.A.R.T. (Smooth Movement Over Random Terrain). Think of it as a Mirror’s Edge type of movement system, but without all the complications. While holding down the S.M.A.R.T. button, your character will leap, sprint, vault, dive and slide over and under any terrain in your path, providing another level of depth to traditional FPS gameplay. While this all sounds innovative, it is the execution that sadly is the downfall of this mechanic. The system is riddled with inconsistencies, sometimes not allowing you to vault over small obstacles when seconds ago you vaulted over a high wall. This can sometimes lead to lethal confusion when making escape, costing you precious seconds that could spell the difference between life or death. The fact that this mechanic forms nearly the entire backbone of Brink’s core gameplay, it is very distressing that it does not work correctly. Think of it as a game with a one trick pony that only has three legs.
Brink’s expansive class system, on the other hand, is successful. This system offers players a number of different abilities that they can use to aid teammates in battle. Soldiers will help keep teammates supplied with ammo and pushing the team forward with increased firepower, while Medics can buff teammate’s health and toss revive syringes to fallen comrades. Engineers can construct mines and turrets, while also being able to increase teammate weapon damage, while Operatives can disguise as the enemy and even hack enemy turrets to turn them on their creators. With up to 11 different abilities for each class, as well as 11 universal abilities, there is plenty of headroom to experiment and explore different combinations that will best work on the battlefield. It is also extremely satisfying to unlock a new ability and see how it will work into turning you into a deadly part of your team (The Caltraps are extremely satisfying to use).
Buffs also make up a crucial part of co-operative gameplay. Each character class has a buff that they can administer to themselves and teammates, ranging from an Engineers weapon damage buff, to the Medic’s revival syringe. Buffs award you points for team play, and in some cases the amount of points awarded is even more than major objectives. Medics are especially lucky with this, sometimes topping the leaderboards by sticking with a sole partner and constantly reviving them instead of doing actual objectives. In order to administer a buff, you have to look at a teammate and press the button prompted. In an attempt to make gameplay smoother, Brink’s developers included a lock-on type of feature that automatically makes you follow a teammate that you are attempting to buff. This is a good idea, but the execution at times can be awful. For example, if a teammate you are attempting to buff is sprinting, which is often required to survive, you will never be able to catch up to him. On other occasions, your camera becomes disorientated and your sense of direction can become lost. Another annoying instance is when you are a Medic and attempting to revive a fallen teammate. Usually this occurs in the heat of battle, so not only are you trying to aid all your teammates, but you’re also trying to survive. So when the prompt to administer a syringe to a fallen teammate fails to appear frequently, it not only frustrates you but also all your dying teammates screaming out for help.
Brink makes use of a handy objective wheel that dynamically keeps track of all the objectives active on a map. There is hardly a time when there will only be one objective for the entire team to complete, so effective team co-ordination and planning is essential to success. Amongst main objectives such as escorts, hacking and capturing, team members can also tackle objectives to open or close shortcuts, build MG nests or capture control points. Control points give team members an alternative place to change weapons and class during a match. This is apart from the main post located in their base. Control points also bestow rewards and bonuses on all team members, so capturing them is necessary to gain an advantage over the other team. Again, in this aspect the A.I. is terrible, with the majority mainly focusing on the main objectives and nothing more.
When wanting to play online, the server browser allows you to quickly and easily find a match suiting your preferences. However, online connections can be a little bit unpredictable. While the ping might show that your connection is strong, it is not uncommon for there to be server wide lag spikes and stuttering. Thankfully, the first patch released did address this issue, but did not fix it entirely.
I was very disappointed with Brink. I had extremely high hopes for this game and have been anticipating it since its delay last year in May. I would have thought that a year long delay would have allowed Splash Damage to iron out all the bugs and hopefully address the less strong elements of the game. Unfortunately, this was not the case. While the multiplayer is addictive and entertaining, it soon becomes repetitive needlessly, and even playing with a server full of friends becomes a bore. With a throw away single-player and only eight maps to hop, skip and jump around in, it is hard to recommend Brink at a full price purchase. Buy it if want you a small twist on traditional FPS and team-based gameplay, or if you do not mind playing the same map over and over again in the same fashion. Other than that, all I can hope for is some explosive DLC to help resurrect the already dying Brink online fan base.