Brink Review

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There haven’t been many team objective based games released over the years with the exception of Team Fortress and Team Fortress 2. Team Fortress 2 was highly praised and rightfully so. It featured various classes and each with its own perks and abilities. The objective based gameplay worked really well. It was a really fun game to play and offered a unique multiplayer mode. In comes Splash Damage with their new offering in Brink. It was thought of as the future of FPS games. The game trailer was intriguing and it made me wonder what the final product was going to be like. Is this new team objective based shooter a success or is it on the Brink of failure? Read the review to find out.

The first thing you’ll be asked before you start playing Brink is Protect the Ark or Escape the Ark? The world’s sea levels have risen so much that most of the land has become uninhabitable with the exception of the Ark which is the only place where humans can live. You have two sides: those that feel imprisoned by security and others that believe in fighting for the cause so you are either with the Security or with the Resistance. From there you can customize your character, cycle between various classes and complete said objectives. You can even watch a tutorial that nets you 1000 XP points if you so choose.

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One of the biggest selling points of Brink is its character customization. In fact there are so many customization options that it’s insane. Your character’s level and rank increases as your progress throughout the game’s campaign mode. The characters have an exaggerated look to them. A myriad of customization choices are available such as, clothing, tattoos, makeup, weapon attachments, classes, abilities and body types. Unfortunately you cannot create a female character. It is nice to have so many customization abilities however; the downside is that the game is in first-person-view so it defeats the purpose of going through the trouble to begin with. The only time you can see your created character is through the cutscenes. If a video game company is going to make such a big deal about character customization than they might as well make it in third-person-view.

Another of Brink’s selling points is its team objective based gameplay. You have a team of up to 8 players that need to work together in order to complete said objectives. You will have some cutscenes that explain why the Resistance and the Security are at each other’s throats. Sacrifice is what it means to be a part of a team in Brink. One player may need to take some fire while fending off enemies while another needs to complete a certain objective. You’ll need to as play a class type that you might not feel comfortable using but you have to do so in order to work together as a team. A greater amount of XP will be gained for successfully working as team rather than carefully taking out enemy after enemy. You can either play the game online or with bot controlled teammates with the latter not being very reliable at times so online is the way to go. Character A.I. is very strange. An enemy can go from being ruthless one minute to dumb the next. You might get constant gunfire from an enemy while you’re across the room but you might get shot at a little bit if you are standing closer to an enemy.

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Splash Damage has utilized a new mechanism known as SMART which stands for Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain. With the SMART system your character can leap over objects, jump over gaps, run along railings, or even slide underneath gunfire. There are times when a player will perform an action only to ask themselves did I really do that? Certain things may seem over-the-top but it sure is fun pulling off said moves. You’ll come across instances where you run right into an object rather than leap over it. The new system is innovative and fun but it needs to be fixed. Sometimes it works well and other times it’s simply a matter of trial and error. It will lead to moments of excitement and aggravation at the same time.

There are 4 class types in Brink: Soldier, Medic, Engineer and Operative. The Soldier can supply a teammate with ammunition and weapons or throw explosives. The Engineer can strengthen a teammate’s weapons or build a turret. The Medic can heal an injured teammate or improve a team’s health. The Operative can interrogate fallen foes for intel or he can disguise himself. The Squad Commander system gives players context-sensitive missions. There are 3 body types in Brink: light, medium and heavy. A light character can’t sustain very much damage but he is agile and quick. A medium character is a combination of light and heavy because he can move pretty good and can take a decent amount of weapon damage. A heavy character can take more weapon damage but is slow with his movements. XP or experience points can be bought by completing said objectives. Main objectives can be viewed via objective wheel. Secondary goals are also available.

The game’s graphics are cartoon-like with a mix of realism. The characters themselves look over-the-top and are very detailed. Warehouses look worn-down and torn up. The Explosions look pretty good as well. The levels look pretty decent but lack the detail that previous games have featured. The game was created using the idTech 4 engine and it makes the graphics seem dated. Why does a video game use a game engine in 2011 that was utilized 7 years ago is beyond me. There is texture pop in throughout the game as well. It’s a decent looking game but nothing that is jaw dropping. I actually wouldn’t have minded Team Fortress 2’s graphics style. I am using a 24 inch monitor and my graphics card supports a screen resolution up to 2048 x 1152 yet I can’t play the game with a full screen resolution.

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The audio is pretty good. Weapon sounds are crisp. Explosions are thunderous and pleasing to hear. The voice acting is acceptable but nothing impressive. It could have been done better. The game’s audio is a pretty good package overall.

Brink is an ambitious effort from Splash Damage. It had a lot of potential that was wasted due to several issues. The graphics are decent but were done using an aged gaming engine. The audio is decent with acceptable voice work. The SMART system is good but it still needs improvement. Having several classes and body types to choose from is a nice feature. It’s great having lots of character customization abilities but with the game being in third person point of view it becomes pointless. The character A.I. can use some major tweaking. The team objective based gameplay is fun and rewarding. Brink isn’t a great game nor is it a horrible game. It’s a decent game with good ideas but it has a lot of room for improvement that I hope to see resolved in a future sequel.