22nd May 2011 - Another triple A title made by Splash Damage and Bethesda Softworks that's been long awaited for is finally here. Brink brings you a whole new element to the first person shooter genre, bringing with it the SMART system (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) cleverly based upon free running making a whole new level of gameplay for team based FPS games. But will it be enough to win the developers, Splash Damage, any awards?
The story of Brink basically brings two waring factions pitted against each other in their struggle to either escape and destroy the Ark or protect the Ark, a fictional floating city that rests above a flooded Earth. As Security you are out to defend the Ark from its attackers, The Resistance, each with their own valid reasons for their objectives. The storyline doesn't seem as involved as Paul Wedgwood claimed on the video logs of Brink, but suffice to say there is a story.
The gameplay has an objective bar which is easily accessible by pressing up on your D-Pad; depending on how well you play you receive different objectives with each class you choose. The Yellow objective is the primary objective which needs to be completed and the Blue objective is the secondary objective which pretty much anyone can complete. The objectives basically consist of capturing control points, repairing objectives, sabotaging objectives and rescuing VIPs. The controls for Brink are very easy to setup for your own play style purely because you are able to remap a lot of your controls and there are a lot of preset controls namely the Duty Calls controls which is basically the Black Ops control configuration. There's also a challenge mode in which you're required to complete objectives in a certain amount of time, this challenge mode allows you to unlock different weapons and attachments for weapons etc etc.
The classes in Brink are quite similar to that of Team Fortress 2. There are 4 classes Soldier similar to the Soldier in TF2, Medic similar to the Medic, Engineer similar to the Engineer and Operative similar to the Spy. Each class has their own abilities and perks that players can invest experience points in to improve with each level. For example the Engineer can place Landmines and Turrets to defend objectives and he can also buff his teammates damage by buffing their weapons. You are also able to choose your weight variant so you can be average (medium) build in which you're allowed to carry an Assault Rifle and Sub Machinegun or Pistol as your secondary, you're also allowed to move regularly without any disadvantages. The Light class allows you to carry a Sub Machinegun and Pistol as secondary and has faster running speed than the Medium class, and also allows you to wall jump, wall run and climb obstacles faster than the Medium. The Heavy class allows you to carry a Heavy weapon for example Large 40MM Shotgun, Minigun, Heavy Machine Gun etc etc and any regular weapon as your secondary such as an Assault Rifle or Sub-Machinegun or Pistol, and the Heavy class has the slowest movement speed out of the 3 you can choose from and isn't able to climb obstacles like the Medium or Light.
The customization in this game is basically endless as there are, according to Bethesda, 102 Quadrillion ways you can customize your character factoring into the small minor details. You are able to customize your character with different accessories, clothes, facial paint, masks, goggles, scars, tattoos etc etc. The gun customization is also very unlimited as there are around 30-40 different weapons most of which are able to have 3-4 different attachments on each. This basically gives character customization a very unique experience for each player as you'll rarely see 2 characters looking alike.
The SMART system (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) is based off many Parkour elements, Parkour if people are not aware are basically people who free run over obstacles and different environments. The SMART movement system adds quite a lot to the gameplay as you can wall run, wall jump, climb over tall objects etc, which gives you quite a variety of ways that you can approach your enemy or objectives.
Brink has 16 player multiplayer which consists of 8 vs. 8 objective based games. You can play either by yourself against bots, I strongly don't recommend this because at the current point in time the bots seem to be better players on the Enemy team than they are on your current team, or you can pit yourself against 8 other human players. The multiplayer at the moment seems to be suffering latency issues so it's quite irritating at times when you suffer major lag spikes which end up getting you killed. It's definitely a fun experience when you manage to beat an enemy team before they've completed their first objective.
I would compare the graphics similar to that of Borderlands; the graphics seem to be cell-shaded to get the best effect out of the customization involved with the game. There is a large amount of rendering issues in particular maps of the game. There are a lot of glitches and bugs with the graphics, SMART movement systems, character customization etc which I'm sure will be addressed by Splash Damage as soon as possible. But overall the game looks very good for what Splash Damage were trying to accomplish.
Getting told by Jamaicans to get your act together can be quite hilarious. The voice acting in this game is actually very good and funny to listen to at times, I don't know if it's just me but listening to Jamaicans or British giving you orders can be quite funny at times. There are very short clips in which you will hear characters speaking to each other about the current situation and the acting is surprisingly very good. The game has a lot of cultural diversity as well with the voice acting.
The gunplay sounds seem to be almost spot on for weapons we don't actually know what they sound like; there are a few weapons that some people may notice such as the UMP 45, MP5 but each has their own unique name. But overall the sound from the guns sounds realistic enough for an arcade style game.
There actually isn't any background score whilst in-game, which is to be expected as most players play by using sound to their advantage, but there are musical scores in the main menu and credits which some people may or may not like.
I would say Brink is a must if you value team playing games similar to that of Team Fortress 2; the character customization is near endless which people definitely value in some games. It has a lot of playability in terms that you can play with your friends to do different missions, play against bots or play against players whichever you like to complete said missions. Whilst the storyline may not be interesting for most players, people will find this game a lot of fun playing objectively with friends. The fact that this game promotes team work by removing kill death ratios is also another thing I believe sets this game apart from other games.
I found Brink very enjoyable whilst playing with friends; the bots in the game seem to be set at some absurd difficulty which doesn't seem to be affected by the difficulty settings of the game which seems to ruin the experience of playing this game alone. I love the character customization because it has essentially endless possibilities of how people can design their character so no 2 characters will ever look alike. It you're a big fan of games that require you to work as a team than Brink would be a game you wouldn't want to miss out on.
AAG SCORE: 7/10
+ Endless Customization
+ SMART Movement System
+ Great Team Based gameplay
+ Great Variety to each Class
+ Easy controls to get used to
- Very unrealistic recoil with a lot of weapons
- Not the most amazing graphics
- Bots on the enemy team seem to be very difficult no matter what difficulty setting
- Some weapons can be fairly overpowered
- Hit Markers can be undetectable sometimes due to lag in online gameplay and you'll die in 1 shot from guns that regularly don't do that
Reviewed and Written By James Gott