Note: Reviews for Brink (Xbox 360) and Brink (PS3) have been written by different authors from different countries, so their views may differ. Please note that this is an individual review, not a supplement to the Xbox 360’s versions’ review.
Having heard that Brink was in development some time ago, it quickly climbed to the top of my most wanted list; an innovative, multiplayer shooter with fully customizable characters and an inventive plot. Sure it was yet another FPS for the 360, PS3 and PC…but this one sounded a little bit special.
Now it’s here, it certainly seems to live up to its name… it’s on the Brink of greatness but falls short of being a classic. But that’s not to say that Bethesda and Splash Damage have not done a great job. The action takes place in a vast utopian city known as The Ark, a floating haven built to show we could all live sustainably. It was perfect… until the population rocketed and the once safe Eden started to burst at the seams, running into disrepair and finding itself on the verge of civil war. You get to play as one of the two rival factions, the “Resistance” and “Security” forces at loggerheads and fighting to gain control of the island.
It’s more than a little reminiscent of Team Fortress 2 both in the looks and gameplay department, with a hint of Borderlands thrown in for good measure – a kind of cartoony, cel-shaded amalgam.
One innovative aspect is the inclusion of the rather unique SMART system – aka Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain – that uses a context-sensitive button press to send your character seamlessly skipping over obstacles, climbing onto ledges and generally bounding about the place with aplomb. It’s parkour made simple, and is actually pretty effective. Like Team Fortress 2, players can decide on their role, whether it’s a soldier armed to the teeth or a medic patching up those caught in the crossfire. Personally, I think it all looks fantastic – big, bold and brash – the PS3 version played here arguably looking better than its 360 counterpart, with improved lighting, detail and textures.
But it’s the character customisation that must surely take the plaudits. As soon as the game boots up, you’re faced with a screen allowing you to build a hero – anything can be tweaked, from facial hair and tattoos to skin colour and clothing. According to the developers there are millions of variations, many being unlocked as you progress through the game by earning sufficient XP or completing challenges. Your creations have a very distinctive look about them too – human and natural-looking except for the long faces and accentuated features… it literally adds a lot of character to Brink and makes it stand out from other games. Upgrades also allow you to earn additional abilities for your newly-created protagonist. Invest the time and you’ll reap the rewards.
After such a comprehensive introduction to the game, it’s perhaps a little disappointing that the story is not as strong as it could have been. Each mission is punctuated by a brief intro video putting across the plight of your chosen side. After that though it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity – and you quickly forget about the plot.
Clearly, this is a game with a strong focus on online play and is best attempted with a few friends. This is largely due to the stupidity of the AI bots who fill the vacant player slots, and who display ineptitude when having to carry out the simplest of tasks. As a result, the AI is sometimes more of a hindrance than a help. Chuck a few friends into the equation, however, and tactics can be employed and much fun can be had.
In the campaign mode, there’s a noticeable lack of maps and missions – all of which can be played in any order. Nonetheless, the drop in/drop out feature is cool with up to seven friends able to jump in to the game while you’re playing to offer some much needed support. It’s a steep learning curve too and you’re dropped in the deep end from the start, with little explanation about what you’ve got to do or how to go about it. Anyone with any FPS experience though, will soon get to grips with it and quickly get into the game.
There are numerous guns to choose from although there appears to be little difference between them, apart from the appearance and size of the clip. Enemies can take a fair bit of punishment no matter how many bullets you unload or which weapon you use too, which takes some getting used to. Bethesda has a great record in the world of gaming – Fallout 3 being a case in point – and it loves its downloadable content add-ons too… Brink is absolutely crying out for some quality DLC – more maps, missions and varied weaponry, which could easily add a couple of points to this score!
Ultimately, it’s a worthy replacement for those of you who’ve squeezed the lifeblood out of Black Ops and want a decent multiplayer FPS to fill their time.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
The customization options are awesome and extensive, while the SMART movement is a great addition and brings parkour to the masses. Playing with friends online is a sublime experience
Solo play is frustrating because of the broken AI and the missions and maps quickly get repetitive. Graphically, things can occasionally look a little shaky.
Brink is an innovative new IP with strong emphasis on teamwork and online play. It’s big, brash and in your face. Customization and upgrading your character is a key component, which certainly adds some longevity to the game