Brink Review - ...Almost

As a lover of Team Fortress 2, I was excited by the early previews of Brink. For my dollar, character classes in multiplayer games create a more cohesive team experience that is sorely lacking in most games that essentially devolve into free-for-alls. It seemed like Brink was a spiritual successor to Team Fortress 2. Couple this team play with the excellent visual style and the addition of parkour to first-person shooting, it seemed like this game was going to be a slam dunk. Unfortunately, Brink does not live up to expectations.

The Story, or Lack Thereof
Brink begins with a cursory story about The Ark, a floating city that sits on the water of the flooded Earth of the future. Your options right off the bat are to join the Resistance or Security. At one time, The Ark was a utopia harboring the last of the human race, now it has fallen into chaos as the two factions war over it. Well, sort of; Security wants to "save" The Ark, while the Resistance wants to "escape" The Ark.

That's pretty much where the story ends. You can play both sides of the campaign, Resistance and Security, which would be a great, dynamic idea if only there was more to it. You get a cut scene between each scenario for each side of the struggle, and it's cool that they allow you to see the custom character you've created inserted into the scene, but they are very shallow affairs that you will have trouble following or caring about because of the lack of a set-up.

Brink PS3Character Creation
Character creation in Brink is actually one of its strong points, despite the lack of female character models. You have three body types (light, medium, and heavy - all of which have the different attributes you'd expect), a multitude of clothing choices (for both factions), and earn more as you level up. Security outfits, of course, tend towards the police/military design (and you can even create a dead-on impersonation of Jesse Ventura's character from Predator using the clothing options cleverly titled "The Jesse") while The Resistance outfits really do look like they've been scavenged from a once-great society, though they do tend to lean on the sporty tracksuit look a bit too much.

While the parkour elements of Brink are welcome in that you don't have to press a button (though you do have to hold one down) to hurdle an obstacle so you don't get snagged on stuff in the midst of firefights, it falls a bit short in its other elements. That's not to say that it's horrible; it's just not anything new. Shooting is solid and I didn't experience any of the blur that others have complained about (nor any lag, so maybe the two are connected).

While the element of teamwork is there, you may get bored pretty quick. There are only eight maps, and they are plagued with choke points. The maps and missions for single player and multiplayer are also identical. As if that wasn't bad enough, I also had a hard time getting into a multiplayer match that wasn't nearly full of bots - so it was an almost identical experience to single player.

The four classes - Medic, Soldier, Engineer, and Operative - all do offer different experiences in the game. They do what you'd expect: The Medic heals, the Soldier is a front-line fighter, the Engineer lays mines and repairs stuff, and the Operative is a stealthy spy/assassin. It was enjoyable to try each class and they are all indispensable in their own right.


Like the Title Says...Almost
In the end, it feels like Brink was the game that almost was. It comes off feeling like a budget title at best, a half-finished one at worst. It could have been an awesome game, but it falls short in virtually every category. The shooting is pretty standard and Brink's developers (Splash Damage) truly had some great ideas on their hands, but they didn't follow through. This game could have used another 6-12 months of development.

As much as I'd like to, I can't really recommend Brink. It may be worth a rental just to see what may be forthcoming from Splash Damage, but that's about it. Despite all this, I am looking forward to the next incarnation of Brink, if there is one. They already have the framework for the game right here, all they need to do is build an actual campaign and story for the single player and a multiplayer mode that offers more variation.

Article by - Brett Huffman

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