I remember when I first heard about Brink. I thought “this game sounds interesting. What could it be about?” That was about as far as I got with it. All I ever heard was that there was parkour and guns. I figured it was cool enough to add to my Gamefly queue.
Brink was a game developed by Splash Damage, known for Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. Apparently they like the name Enemy Territory. What they do is take a successful game, use Id Software’s tech, and make a multiplayer version of the game. I never played Quake Wars, but Enemy Territory was good stuff. That was a long time ago, though. Seems like either nobody will buy their ideas, or they don’t have many. Or they don’t feel like working very often.
Well my roommate bought it the other day. He thought it sounded cool, too. There’s only one catch: It’s meant to be played online and the PSN is down. Fortunately, you can still play the game in single player; it came with bots.
Here’s Team Asunder’s review for Brink.
Gameplay: Like the tagline says, it plays like a cross between Unreal Tournament and Team Fortress. You make a character, very lightly customize him, pick a voice actor, and go fuck shit up. I’ll explain the proper order of things.
First, you’re going to want to do the challenges. Not only do they teach you how to play the game, but when you complete them, you unlock weapons and weapon mods. That alone should be the selling point of challenge mode. It doesn’t particularly matter which order you do, but make sure you do them all. There’s one that teaches you about all the different Objective missions and how to complete them, another teaches you how to properly use the Engineer class and you figure out how to properly deploy turrets and mines, another teaches you about parkour and moving around in the environment, and the last teaches you how to repair vehicles and do escort missions. Thinking back, they’re pretty heavy on teaching you about using Engineers. They’re my favorite class, actually.
So you do all of those missions twice to get all of your weapons and mods unlocked. You can do it again for even harder difficulty, which also lets you post scores….not that it matters at the moment for the PS3 crowd. Once you’re finished with that, you should have leveled up quite a few times. You can now purchase character upgrades for each of the different classes plus some universal upgrades. Look through and see what will work best for you. After you’re done with that, customize your guns and character appearance and you’re good to go.
One thing that I should mention is that there are 3 body frames: Light, medium, and heavy. Light is really fast and agile, allowing you to do more parkour stuff, but you have less health and can only carry light weapons, SMGs, light rifles, and handguns. That means that you can grab any of the aforementioned as a primary and only a pistol as your backup piece. Yeah, you’re pretty limited, but the speed is quite nice.
Medium is balanced. You have a decent health bar, move reasonably fast, and have access to light and medium weapons. Medium weapons include automatic rifles, shotguns, and a grenade launcher similar to an M-79. With medium you can grab the aforementioned as a primary and up to an SMG or light rifle as your secondary.
Heavy is exactly what you’d think. You move slow, have a huge health bar, and you get to carry pretty much whatever. Heavy weapons include an automatic grenade launcher, a minigun, an automatic shotgun, and a collection of machine guns. As a backup you can grab up to automatic rifles, a light shotgun, or that M-79 analog.
So you have those weapon upgrades from earlier; time to apply them. Play around and see what you like. You don’t get to change your upgrades or body size mid-match, so plan ahead. All but a few of the heavy weapons have upgrade slots. You typically get a magazine slot, a sight slot, a barrel slot, and for rifles and SMGs, a slot under the barrel for a grip or grenade launcher.
Now you’re set for the campaign. It basically consists of completing class-based objectives within a given time limit. When you complete the objective your time gets extended. If you do it quickly, you have more time, if you do it slowly, you’d better rush about it.
Audio: The voice acting is fucking weird. Almost everyone is Jamaican or something. Get used to the word command post. You’re going to be hearing it a lot.
Video: It looks pretty good. Can’t complain about the maps or anything like that, but I do want to talk about the character models. What the fuck is wrong with these people? I get that it’s supposed to be post-apocalyptic and that it’s a game and everything, but some of these character models just don’t look natural. Fucked up faces, unreasonably long necks, and even the difference between body sizes. At first I thought medium was a little bit too stocky, but then I switched to heavy and my character turned into goddamn Zangief. I switched him over to light after that and he turned into Kell from Team Asunder (Ed Note: He once found a taco), only with an oversized head. I wish there were more customization options for characters. I saw Bethesda on the box and was expecting Oblivion/Fallout level of facial customization, so I was sort of underwhelmed by the limits.
Plot: I don’t know and I don’t care. I tried to pay attention but couldn’t find myself giving a shit. It was boring and completely arbitrary. What you need to know is that the world is fucked, so people banded together and made this place called the Ark. Lots of people live on it, but the rebel group felt that they were being oppressed by the security forces, so they revolted. That’s pretty much it. The rebels are trying to get off the Ark and the security forces are trying to keep them on it. Turns out there are still people on the mainlands, but they’re hostile.
Final Thoughts: For PS3 players, the release is a bit inconvenient with the PSN being down and everything. The single player will, however, give you a taste of the game and get you accustomed to the weapons, maps, etc.
My next issue is that the AI is fucking stupid. This is the most ass-backwards, bullshit AI I’ve ever had the displeasure of dealing with. They make blatantly bad choices and there’s even an involuntary difficulty adjustment in the last 2 or 3 minutes. If you’re on the offense, the defense gets weak. If you’re on the defense, their offense gets super strong.
My last complaint is that there just isn’t a whole lot there. I wish there were more maps to play on, but I’m sure they’re going to release plenty of DLC to pry into your wallet. Go figure, right? What has gaming come to?
Conclusion: If you like playing games online, go for it. It seems like it’s going to be good shit. I liked the single player well enough.
I give Brink a 6/10. It might have been higher if I could play with actual people, but I only review what I am presented with and I was presented with a lackluster single player.
EDIT 5/15/11, (4:16 AM): The PSN came back online on May 14th or 15th, depending on where you live, which gave me a chance to get online and give the multiplayer a go. Everything plays basically the same as the single player, but you can do co-op or versus. Free play is probably the way to go for most, though. I’ve also noticed that there is severe lag rather frequently. I’m hoping stability will improve after a week or so with the improved PSN.
In any case, I stand by the score. It is, however, fun and worth playing, if only for a rent.