Brink Review – In Need of A Medic

In an age where developers are implementing tacked on multiplayer options in games that were clearly meant to be single player experiences is Brink, a game made for the purpose of online multiplayer. The odd part about Brink is that it isn’t any better than a tacked on multiplayer game. Within my first 30 minutes of Brink, I felt an urge to put the controller down immediately. After spending more than 10 hours on Brink I feel comfortable saying I don’t like this game and even more comfortable saying I hated this game. But I am not ignorant. For the most part, Brink was made well but its flaws were just too much for me to bare.

If you’re going into Brink looking for a single player experience or story, look elsewhere.

If you are even remotely interested in Brink, I encourage you to do your research and know what Brink offers. I was fooled by commercials and trailers telling me how cool Brink was and how cool it looked. Going in, I expected a decent story involving a city known as The Ark and having the choice of fighting for or against it. The campaign is just that except it isn’t your typical single player, instead each level is a multiplayer match with several objectives. You respawn, you pick your class, and you try to complete your objective alongside your team of horrible AI bots or online friends. The bots in Brink are a perfect display of one of the worst AI players I’ve witnessed. Developer Splash Damage does try to add very little narrative in the way of short cinematics but you wont care and will probably skip each scene after you see how pointless they are. The choice of being apart of the Resistance or Security serves absolutely no purpose. If you’re going into Brink looking for a single player experience or story, look elsewhere.

The highlights of Brink were the character creation and weapon customization options.

Despite what anyone may tell you, Brink is a multiplayer game only and works best as such. There’s plenty to grasp in Brink’s gameplay so lets start from the beginning. The highlights of Brink were the character creation and weapon customization options. There were a load of options available when creating your character, enough to ensure that your character will be unique. The weapon customization was also pretty neat though there wasn’t enough of it to standout in the way that the character creation stuff does. Character abilities are a huge part of the game and enhance the way you play with each of the different class types. Some abilities can get you extra ammo and some are class specific for instance the ability to set up a turret as an engineer. New weapons, abilities, and clothing are unlocked as you rank up, adding an incentive to keep playing.

At its core gameplay, Brink is an class-based team objective multiplayer, similar to Team Fortress 2. There are four different classes to choose from. You have engineers who fix things and build turrets. Medics who provide health for their team and revive downed enemies. Operatives who hack command post and security stations. And soldiers who provide ammo and the back up for the rest of the classes. Each class is different in the abilities it allows you to do but for the most part I found them to be almost the same. There wasn’t enough to make each class special or unique, instead they just settled by balancing each class even as oppose to doing it the Team Fortress 2 way. The class difference does hold its own weight when the objectives in each map present themselves. The objectives differentiate from hacking a computer with the operative, fixing bots with the engineers, and planting bombs with the soldier. Each class truly has a job to fulfill in every match.

In terms of graphics, Brink is a so-so game. When the cutscenes pop up, Brink is an gorgeous game which added to my disappointment in the campaign options. I was hoping to see more cutscenes and more characters displayed in the great way they are. The graphics take a down turn during gameplay. The game looked pixelated and blurry, which probably has something to do with the sporadic texture pop-ups. A day one update is said to fix that. As for the sound, I found the soundtrack to be excellent. The sound design in the weapons was great, not much to complain about in this aspect of the game.

Brink simply isn’t a game for everyone, I happen to be in that group. I have experienced far more frustration with Brink than I have had fun with Brick. The learning curve is just too much and too long to get over. The terrible AI bots and the downright absence of a true narrative hurt this game badly, partly due to the multiplayer not being as captivating as Left 4 Dead or Team Fortress 2. Those games survived without stories due to their strong multiplayer, whereas Brink’s isn’t as strong nor as fun.

This review was based on a retail copy of the game for the Xbox 360.

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