Brink is developed by Splash Damage famous for their work on the Wolfenstein titles and recently the multiplayer focused shooter Quake Wars. Splash Damage now arrives with their new title Brink.
Brink is set in the near future. Water levels have risen causing the Ark, a man-made utopian island, to host the last signs of humanity in the world. The Ark however grew more and more populated as time progressed. Fast forward 20 years and the population has grown to the extent where one side of the Ark contains 80% of the population living in poverty and rubbish. Peace on the Ark is short lived, as a group called the Resistance fight against the order given by Security. Brink allows players to experience both sides of the fight. At the start of each experience your given a brief overview of the factions, their Leaders and their motives; the motives are detailed further during each mission through vibrant and lush cut scenes. The voice acting is absorbingly well made and really establish the personalities of each character. They are however left incredibly brief which can obstruct your ability to learn the full depth of the story and who the characters on screen are. The idea of the Ark and morally grey motives behind each faction are well developed, but are aided by audio tapes after completion of a level. These tapes fill in some blanks in the story line and also offer a great explanation of previous events.
Brink is a first person shooter with a handful of similarities to team based shooters such as Team Fortress 2 or Battlefield Bad Company. Players can select a class out of medic, solider, engineer and operative. Each have their own objectives and bonuses; medics heal escorts while operative hack their way through the nearest firewall. As you earn kills, supply your teammates and complete objectives you earn experience which allows you to level. Levels provide points which are available to spend on specific character or class perks, thus allowing you to bolster how you like to play the game. Perks available consist of the ability to reload while running or gain a speed boost for each of your medical patients. You can even detonate your skull as a last chance kamikaze… yep there is a perk for that. As you can see perks allow a fair amount of depth to be added to your characters, all the while avoiding the standard “do more damage” perks from other games. Objectives are given during each level supporting the storyline and motives, these battles are epic in scale and shifting the layout of the level as one team wins or loses. The missions are great fun and motivate you heavily to win as time progresses.
Brink distances itself from other first person shooters by avoiding the instant kill grenades and the fatal twitch head shots (bolstered by so many) and replaces it with a wad of bullets to down a guy. Gun play feels great with each gun sounding like an over compensating lion, with bullets flying down the barrel to illustrate. This really makes each fire fight feel intense and meaty with bullets flying left, right and centre. Brink takes another step to distance itself from the generic shooter plague with the inclusion of S.M.A.R.T (shop S-Mart). This stands for smooth movement across random terrain; for the most part this has been compared to Mirrors edge (a free running game) as it allows for a heavy amount of parkour in the game. The idea is simple, remove the clumsy crouch jumping and awkward plat forming from other shooters and replace it with a one push button to help you duck, dive, leap and climb your way to victory. In practice this works exceptionally, allowing me to clamber to which ever vantage point seems fit. Furthermore the inventive levels allow players to use S.M.A.R.T for wall running shoot outs and insane free running. The S.M.A.R.T system left me dreaming for the day every game just allowed me to leap over a wall rather than leaving players stuck on a chest high wall
Brink suddenly decides it hasn’t distanced itself from the average shooter. Its theories “aren’t most shooters just played for the multiplayer, then let’s just make a shooter entirely based on multiplayer without sacrificing the story.” The game mods reflect this by handing you a selection of three modes. Campaign hosts the core single player game supported by bots or co-op partners, free play offers the standard multiplayer versus game and challenge mode offers set scenarios for co-op or solo ventures against AI or even some intense platforming. The unlock gun attachments in the game challenge modes must be completed. This can prove difficult as the attachments can prove vital for the core experience and only raises the issues as some challenges will prove fairly… well “challenging” for some. With each level clothing and details are obtained, these can be used to greatly customise your character; but there is no direct control over the position of your eyes, nose and ears given, it does however promote a gigantic entourage of appearances for your character.
Bots are frequently used throughout the game both supporting and opposing the player at every turn; for the most part they can prove exceptional and certainly equal to real players when fighting. Disappointingly this intelligence doesn’t cross over as well to their motivation for objectives. Bots have a great understanding of the games mechanics easily catching some of the worse players of guard with their combat ability. For the most part they will be attracted to the nearest fight, only to feel they need to complete objectives when the timer is nearing its end. This can prove aggravating and frustrating at points when the AI fails to complete and objective and forces you to focus entirely on an objective.
Brink turns to itself and announces “we are very different from other shooters already, but we think another mile won’t hurt”. Brink offers one of the most unique visual styles I have ever personally seen. It mixes realistic visuals with cartoonish human propositions and an over the top colour pallet. Security and the resistance really show their own unique character and environment design really separating the two, making their team instantly recognisable. The design really improves the games graphics without hitting computers hard, allowing smooth gameplay throughout. The attention to detail only emphasises this especially in areas like container city, where vast canyons of decayed shacks and houses are left to rot.
The gameplay sets itself apart from other games with the brilliant introduction of S.M.A.R.T; it is however dragged down currently by frequent bugs, glitches and a AI failing to help at points.
The graphics of a superb blend of realism and cartoon and great sound work to top it off, all the while dragged down by an incredibly to brief plot.
Technically the campaign lasts 8 hours if you play both the resistance and security; however both sides share the same maps with each other and the multiplayers. Can be seen as a unique idea but also a hindrance to how long you’ll enjoy the game.
Exemplary design, brimming with great gameplay and exciting design, all the while dragged down by some small issues and problems.
The game is great and I couldn’t recommend it enough. It leaps and bounds over other games in innovations and isn’t shy if this doesn’t agree with the average shootaholic. Currently mine and other player’s largest gripe with the game is the frequent bugs and slight imbalance, however nothing is stopping the game from being patched and solving these issues.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.