I’m not going to lie. From the time I saw my first trailer for “Brink” I was excited. Granted there was no actual gameplay but the cinematic trailer was inventive and unlike nothing I’ve seen before in a shooter. Watching characters hop over walls and slide under rails all while unloading their clips into enemies was like something out of an action movie. I wanted more – but I would have to wait to get a taste of what was to come. With an industry flooded with shooters, “Brink” looked to be something refreshing and conceptually amazing. Quite frankly, “Brink” had a chance to play with the big boy shooters but when I finally got my hands on the game I wound up shooting blanks.
Firing up the game for the first time and I was greeted with a lengthy video explaining the tactics you’ll need to succeed in “Brink.” You don’t have to watch it but with the lure of a free 1000 XP you’ll watch it and realize that “Brink” is an objective-based multiplayer shooter. The hopes of a fast and furious deathmatch was no longer in my sights, in fact, I was faced with the complete opposite. The story involves a floating citadel called the Ark which appears to be a last chance of humanity in a world covered with water. A civil war has broken out between the rich who have a security team fighting to maintain the lifestyle that they have while the poor resistance are fighting to escape and attempt to find if there is a way of life outside the Ark. Here you pick a side, create your character and then start fighting through the missions towards your goal.
Creating a character is probably the most exciting and time consuming part of “Brink.” It makes you wish that>Bethesda put just as much effort into the game itself. The character customization is absolutely fantastic, full of different options and color schemes that you can unlock as you increase in rank and can easily make a unique avatar to do all your killing. The character modeling reminds you of something out of a futuristic comic with hulked up characters with heavy machinery or wiry, athletic rebel weaving through trouble as if it was an obstacle course. The choices are plenty and all depend on what you can dream up for your killing machine.
Of course, all of this content so far is dressing for the main gameplay, and if this game got it right it would be ground breaking. “Brink,” however, doesn’t. Everything I had high hopes for during that first trailer came to a crashing end. On top of that, “Brink” is one of the clunkiest and downright clumsy shooters I’ve played in a long time. The game just doesn’t feel right. It has sluggish controls and questionable design with weapons that often feel totally ineffective and hold little ammo in each clip. Numerous times I unloaded my entire supply of ammo only leading to constant reloads and grenades that are almost always pointless unless they hit your target in the face. Even mounted machine guns struggle to eliminate the opposition during key moments of the game. The level design is also a major disappointment with most areas turning simply into a series of leading each team into a crossfire eliminating any chance of tactical play. This is grossly apparent when playing against the game’s AI opponents where the opposing team will simply stand in a open area while your allies run into a wall of lead like lemmings. Objectives are often in areas that favor defenders far too much making for a rather unbalanced experience.
That being said, the AI does perform tasks such as completing objectives and your teammates with heal and revive you when needed but there really gives little mileage in single player mode. Although, I should mention that your unlocked skills and abilities can be carried over from single player to online multiplayer which is a great idea if you can actually put in the time. Once you do go online, the game opens up and will demonstrate the good points of this title a little more; especially if teams work together. When playing against real people, some of the faults will be overlooked and “Brink” can become a totally different game – almost good in certain areas. If you find a good group of people, “Brink” may even be a winner during some matches, but I still think that the poor level design and generic feel will hurt your experience when playing overall. This is not a good quality in a market drenched with superior shooters.
Given that “Brink” is geared towards multiplayer, there are some really poor decisions starting with not having a true lobby system. Instead the game just matches you into games based upon parameters you set such as what level players you want to play against. The options are lacking, and you can’t even change your appearance or buy new abilities that you may have just earned without quitting back to the main menu. With the sole focus on multiplayer, I would expect the game to have more than two gameplay types and I would also expect the difference between those two gameplay types to be more than one mode being the teams swapping to see which team can complete an objective the fastest. There’s really nothing to do in this game besides play the same eight missions over and over again. The challenge section of the game consists of four different missions with specific objectives where you can unlock some weapons and attachments. I nearly forgot to mention it because it’s over so quickly. Once again, bad decisions on Bethesda’s part.
In the end, “Brink” falls very short in my book. I gave it all the time in the world hoping for a small glimmer of greatness to suck me in and be able to experience what I though “Brink” would have been. Unfortunately I never got the opportunity. All the great concepts of leaping walls and soaring to higher levels with your stud character creation must of gotten lost on the editing room floor because there is nothing here that would really bring you back. With such a beautiful character creation mode, I would have liked to be able to carry some of that over to the gameplay just to the point of being able to recognize your character after all the hard work you put into his creation. Stealing ideas from other games are usually frowned on in my book but in this case I wish they would have stolen something from good shooters and worked off of that. At least that way “Brink” would have had a fighting chance but instead Bethesda decided to go in a totally different direction that just slows the gameplay and quite frankly gets boring. Maybe next time around they’ll learn from there mistakes and maybe we might even get the contender that we though we were getting the first time around.
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