Brink Review

*Obligatory I know I haven’t posted in a while intro*

Now that that’s out of the way, on to the review. I normally don’t review games this quickly, but I feel I have played enough of Brink to write about it. So here goes. As usual, the review will be on my Amazon reviews as well.

My first issue with the game, was before it was released. There were multiple DLC’s for preorder that were exclusive to certain retailers and you got a different one depending where you preordered from. If it was something cosmetic, like the skins, then that would be fine. But some DLC’s also had weapons, which affect gameplay. I don’t like this new trend in the gaming industry, but it’s not like any of the publishers will listen to I guess I’ll have to live with it.

Brink is actually a multiplayer game with co op. The fact that the game has co op might suggest that there is a singleplayer campaign. There is, sort of. It’s not a scripted story based campaign, it’s just you versus bots. This isn’t too bad as the cool thing is, you can open the game up to the public, or to friends, and people can join to replace the bots on your team. This is really nice, in fact I’d say it’s the preferred method of going through the campaign. The AI in Brink is absolutely awful! It’s pretty much all up to you to do the objectives and, depending on what point you are on the level, the enemy AI can either be too easy or too hard.

This is a game that must be played with other people and thankfully, you can have human players on both sides, thanks to the free play mode. Free play lets you create or join a custom match. The levels are the same ones in the campaign, except there are humans, instead of bots on either side. The bots can fill in for humans until the server fills up. In free play, you can also set custom match settings, in case you want to mix things up a little.

Another reason to play with humans is the team play aspect of the game. Whilst you can easily head to a command post, change to the required class (more on classes later) to complete the main objective, you can’t do it on your own, especially not with a team of bots. Usually only one class is needed to complete the main objective, but without a medic, you’d be dying all the time, or without a solider you’ll run out of ammo a lot. There isn’t much room for tactics, though, it mostly just involves grouping up and storming an area together. Whilst this may seem dull, there is plenty of action going on and no one is ever bored, not even medics as there’s always something to do. The game lets you set objectives for yourself via an objective wheel, it’s a really slick and smooth interface that’s done really well. My only gripe with this, is that the objectives aren’t always clear. For example, the objective might say “guard the door”, but what it really should say is “plant explosives on the door” or “guard the soldier who plants explosives on the door”. Fixing that, would make it perfect.

The classes. There are four of them; Soldier – refills ammo for themselves and team mates, can also plant explosives on objectives. Medic – pretty obvious, this guy buffs themselves and team mates health. The medic can also heal and revive team mates and do the same for the VIP in “Escort” missions.  The Covert Ops can disguise as enemies, just like the spy in Team Fortress 2. The covert ops guy places “hack boxes” on objectives and must be protected whilst he hacks the objective. Finally, there is the Engineer. This guy can plant mines and turrets and buffs weapon damage for themselves and team mates. For objectives, the Engineer can disarm explosives planted by enemy soldiers, and disarm enemy mines spotted by Covert Ops. Only Covert Ops can see enemy mines. The Engineer also heals vehicles (non-drivable) in Escort missions. When you start the game, you make a character (that can play all of these classes) to level up and customize.

Customization seems limitless. There are countless ways to configure your appearance, weapons and abilities. There are 20 levels in the game and each one grants you one point to spend on your abilities. Abilities can upgrade the skills of each class as well as skills for all classes. Your appearance can also be customized with different clothing and the game, cleverly uses the players’ character models in the cutscenes, which I thought was pretty cool. Weapon attachments can be unlocked from the challenge mode. Challenge mode doesn’t take long however, so you’ll end up having all of the weapon attachments in no time. I have no issue with that either, but you end up finding attachments you like and putting almost the same ones on all your guns. All the guns in the game can be customized and you select a default one (one that you will spawn with) for a primary and secondary weapon. You can change your weapons at any time from a command post. There are also three different body types that determine what weapons you can use and how you move. The fast body type has low health and can only carry light weapons, but moves and climbs really quickly. The medium, my personal favorite, has medium health, can move almost anywhere and can carry light and medium weapons. The heavy body is the opposite of the light. Lots of health, but fat and slow, however, he can carry heavy weapons.

Back to the movement – something I’m sort of impressed with, but not. I’m impressed with the way it works, it’s so smooth and it feels natural when vaulting over a something or climbing up onto things… But I’m disappointed that they did not make good use of it in the game. The three things that make Brink stand out from the crowd are; myriad of customizations for your character and weapons, team play and the movement system. The movement system is nice, but I was a bit let down, that most of the maps play almost like any other shooter. I was hoping the movement system would spice it up a little.

The presentation of Brink is good too. The menu system is clean and crisp and very simple and easy to use. The in game objective wheel is also incredibly simple. The story in Brink, is that the city, “The Ark” is getting overcrowded and there is a plague spreading throughout the city. Or something like that. Truth it, not only is the story unimportant in this game, when you play the levels, especially the one with the shopping mall, it doesn’t seem like such a bad place! Still though the graphics look decent, a cross between the colorfulness of Team Fortress 2, mixed with the grim reality of a war. Not that you’d notice, the pace of the game can be pretty quick some times, but this is generally the case with most shooters.

Despite having quite a selection of guns a lot of them feel the game. All the pistols feel the same, all the SMG’s feel the same etc. I wish there was a little more variety. Having said that, this is counter-balanced by the attachments that really let you make a weapon your own. I’ve already mentioned the customization that’s possible for the guns, using them though, is just as good. They pack solid punches, even the pistols, but don’t expect too much variety, despite how much you can modify each one. Also don’t expect anything new here, there’s no “super cool” weapon. Whilst the guns may not be based on anything real, you have your standard shooter arsenal here, save for rocket launchers.

In conclusion, after 2010, I was skeptical about preordering a shooter, since all of them seem to be console ports these days. In the end, I’m glad I bought Brink, it’s well worth it. It’s biggest flaw is the awful AI, but that is remedied by playing with humans. I’ve seen some people complain that the scoreboard does not show kills/deaths, just XP earned and some people have complained about this. I personally don’t care, for once! I really feel compelled to be a team member in this game rather than trying to rack up the most kills. After all, the game is designed in such a way, that that’s the only way to win. There is a section in the game for DLC, and as of the time of writing there isn’t any yet, but hopefully they will add new levels. What I’m hoping for are levels designed to make better use of the movement system, if they did this, then that would be the icing on the cake. But in it’s current state, and despite the AI, which doesn’t really ruin the experience, the game is a lot of fun and has restored my faith in not only FPS games on PC, but PC gaming in general. Just a little. If you haven’t already, buy this game!

I’d give this game a 9/10.

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