8.7 Overall Score
Gameplay: 9/10
Story: 6/10
Graphics: 8/10

Fantastic aesthetic, incredibly fun gameplay, interesting premise

Flawed story and a few graphical issues

Written by on August 24, 2012 in [, , , , , ]

I bought Brink opening day off of Steam for the PC almost a year and a half ago.  I have already sunk nearly 150 hours into that game and am still enjoying it.  I know that Brink got a bunch of bad reviews. It’s meta-critic is 70 for the PC. Sort of “meh”. It had some issues at launch. It was wonky and the graphic didn’t work quite right and apparently they were worse on the Xbox 360 than the PC. It had a host of problems and complaints. Heck, it was one of our “Buyer’s Remorse of the Year” for 2011.

Yet, it had to have been one of my “Games of the Year” even next to Skyrim and Catherine. Yes, it has some bugs in the beginning, and really there is no excuse for that. It also had a few server issues, but what multiplayer game doesn’t on release? Yet, my love for the games really goes beyond the graphics and issues that it had. I still love to hop on single player and play a match or two. So what made it so great for me?

Before Brink was ever released, I knew I wanted to try it out for one reason, the S.M.A.R.T. system. “Smooth movement across random terrain.” It is one of the few games that has fluid and fun movement, and there are even fewer, if any, that do so as an FPS. The idea was Mirror’s Edge mixed with Battlefield or Call of Duty.  The ability to run, jump, slide, wall run, climb over pretty much every obstacle while gunning down enemies and fulfilling objectives was very intriguing.

So how did it actually work? Pretty well. Remember, I am playing on the PC, and the controls very smooth and natural. There are occasional issues when trying to climb up walls, and sometimes it takes a bit to grab a higher edge, but other than that, I have very few issues with the system. Its a blast to run, slide, and climb all over the place. It’s some of the most fun I’ve had in a shooter in a long time.

There are a few different play styles as well. There are four classes. The soldier has the most grenades and ammo. He is also the class that can lay charges on objectives. The medic revives and heals people with a few other buffs and is mostly a support character. The engineer can build turrets and mines and is the one who repairs objectives and removes charges and hack boxes. He can also boost armor and weapon power. The operative is the stealth class. He can disguise himself as felled enemies and reveal enemies; he has a few tactical grenades and can hack torrents as well as objectives. He, however, does not have any buffs for his teammates.

While your class decided what perks and abilities were available, your body-type decided which weapons were available, and also how your character could move. The light will give you the most movement. You and wall-run, vault some of the tallest obstacles, and climb up to places the other classes can’t. You are also the fastest and smallest. However, your weapons are limited to snipers, sub-machine guns, and pistols. The heavy, on the other hand, give you every weapon. Yet, just opposite the light, your movement is slow and you can’t climb much. The medium sits right in the middle. Able to use the assault rifles that the light can’t use, but not the machine guns of the heavy. The final thing to note, is that the bigger your character, the more health they have.

I love playing as the light. Running, jumping, sliding. That kind of play is the main reason I bought the game. The one downside to the light is that he has a very limited variety of weapons. He lacks any sort of shotgun or grenade launcher. While most of the time, and SMG and a pistol will get the work done, every now and again, I find myself in situations that I wish I had one of those two. Yet, because the SMG or a sniper will do pretty much 90% of the time, I rarely notice it.

The other biggest difference is that Brink does not have the normative game types like all the other FPSs out there. Each team, the Resistance and the Security and both working for their own goals. Instead of game types, there are 10 missions that you play through as both the Security and the Resistance. Each character can play any of the mission, but you pick which ones you start on.  If you join Security right away, that doesn’t mean you cannot play the resistance mission.  While each mission has the basic structure of attack and defend, each also has a particular feel and various goals. Not only are there primary goals like retrieving a nav computer or freeing a prisoner, there are also a bunch of secondary objectives. Even if you are not the right class to complete the main objective, you could hack a side door to move through easier, or build an MG nest, or a bunch of other little things to help. Also, unlike a bunch of other FPSs, this game does not focus on your K/D ratio. It is far more focused on getting the objectives done, or if you are defending, preventing the objectives from being completed by the enemy.

One of the most interesting things about this structure of missions, is that they progressively build the story that you play through. There is no difference from the single player campaign and the multiplayer campaign, except that you are either facing real people or AI bots. The only issue with this is that the, although the AI is pretty good, they sometimes fail to focus on the objective, and where a human player would be willing to sacrifice himself to either complete a mission, or would rely on his teammates to protect him, too often the AI plays as if they are solo players. Meaning that when they are under fire, they will usually pull out from their current objective to fight back. Most of the time, this works okay, however, because of the way hacking works, and the fact that it can be reversed, unlike repairs, make relying on the AI to hack an incredibly foolish endeavor. Also, when you do play with experienced players, some of the maps can become very one-sided. But to play with 1 or 2 friends online, or even with a team against the AI, it can get incredibly fun.

The final bit that makes Brink so much fun is that you can create and customize up to ten different playable characters. There a lot of customization options for the appearance, and the best part is that once it is unlocked, it can be used on any character, even if they are lower level. You can also customize your weapons quite a bit. Each attachment changes how the gun feels and how it can be may be used. You can add on a scope, or an extended clip, and even a bayonet, all at the same time. If it fits on the gun, and makes sense that it would fit, you can add it and use it. Each attachment changes how the gun feels and effect the various stats.

My biggest gripes with the game are fairly small, considering how much fun I have had with the game. Yet here they are. Although the world that you play in is rich, and I love the attempt to integrate story into multiplayer, it makes the story a bit lackluster. Also, there are only 10 maps in the game, although you can play them from either side. Two additional maps were added with some DLC, but it still is a relatively small number of maps and you end up playing your favorites over and over again. There is also some wonky-ness moving between characters when editing and leveling. In fact, my first character that I made had his appearance overwritten with my second character. It didn’t delete any of his levels or skills, just his look, which was pretty irritating. After playing the game for so long, I have noticed some of its oddities that most people would miss. Kind of like seeing a movie 50 times and pointing out all the plot holes or messed up lines. Still, most of those issues were technical and have since been fixed.

With issues being patched and fixed since it’s initial release, I can strongly recommend the game. It is only $19.99 on Steam, and if you wait for the much heralded Steam sale, you may be able to pick it up for cheaper! However, for twenty bucks, you can pick up a game that tries a bunch of new and exciting things in the FPS genre. While Brinkmay not have the polish that Call of Duty has, it still is a bunch of fun and something different.



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Author: Evan J Stark View all posts by

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