Back at E3 2010 We got our first look at Bethesda and Splash Damage’s parkour-infused FPS, BRINK. The story of the Ark came alive as players were asked to join either the Resistance or the Security faction to fight for the Ark itself. Based around the SMART movement system that brings a new twist to the FPS genre BRINK sets out to change the way people play team based games. Does BRINK reach the Ark or does it run smack into a wall? Check out out what we thought was cool and what we thought sucked below.
What We Thought Was Cool
SMART Movement System:
The SMART movement system is a really interesting idea that the developers made work quite well in the game. Depending on your characters body type you are able to pull off some pretty fancy moves while trying to avoid getting killed. As you move your way through each level you may see a platform that looks hard to reach or some obstacles in your path. Running towards these objects and holding down the A button will make your player power slide underneath an object or do a parkour bounce off of a wall. There was one scenario during our play test where we double jumped off a wall only to land behind a group of players. Needless to say, we were able to lay down some killer fire that wiped a few of them out. The SMART movement system performed great for us and added a fun twist to the genre.
Character Creation and Customization:
Right before launch the developers sent out a press release touting the countless customizations a player could make with their character. This holds true and the creation/customization system is one of the best things about the game. As you play through the game and level up, not only do you unlock perks for your in-game play but you open up new things for your character. I found myself spending quite a bit of time going through how I wanted my player to look just to get that perfect serial killer type. Throw on top of that the way you can customize weapons and you have a pretty deep system. Our only complaint with weapon customization is that the only way to unlock them is to do the challenge mode and that can be a bit tedious.
Objective Based Multiplayer:
When playing online with friends or random strangers BRINK offers some great objective based multiplayer fun. As you are setting up your game, there is a timed match option that is just like any other game but the real fun lies in the objectives mode. ‘Objectives’ make players work together to actually get things done. One problem I find in most multiplayer games is people will just run around in circles with their weapons spraying buttons. In BRINK, there are things for each class to do in order to win the map. Most of my time was spent playing as an Operative and thus hacking objectives was where I was needed. There was one game session where a computer terminal needed to be hacked but I just kept getting killed. Finally, my team figured it out and surrounded my player making a human shield as I hacked the objective. This was satisfying in the fact that it leaves the player feeling like they accomplished something.
BRINK is all about the classes and the terminal wheel is a great twist to multiplayer. Any character on your team can access a captured terminal and change their class at any point of the match. Is your team running low on a solider class and an objective is not going to be blown up? The terminal wheel offers the chance for a team to fix their shortcomings and help them better adapt to the situation around them. This feature adds to the overall gameplay by letting people work together to overcome the objectives in front of them no matter if they are shorthanded by a certain class. In the end though, it really falls to the players to take advantage of it.
What We Thought Sucked
Lack Of Singleplayer:
When BRINK was first announced, gamers were presented with a story-filled world filled with lots of characters. In the months leading up to the game it really came to light that the marketing for the game was all wrong and all BRINK was is a TF2 clone with a few tweaks. Now, there is nothing wrong with that but the false hope of a deep singleplayer really throws BRINK into a niche market. The singleplayer in BRINK is really just a run through of the MP maps with a few cinematics thrown in. It offers nothing for the player as they can just jump right into the MP and experience the same thing. There is a challenges mode that offers some harder objectives but the computer AI is so block-headed that the only reason to ever play it is to get the unlocks. One of the most frustrating things about the experience is just how bad the AI is. There is nothing like your AI standing in doorways not moving allowing you to get blown away. Very tedious and a very poor job by the developers.
Rushed To The Shelves:
BRINK as a whole feels like it is lacking that polish of what could have been a fantastic game. It feels like the game was rushed out to store shelves. There is a certain something missing when playing BRINK that could make it set itself apart from other multiplayer games. BRINK feels like a clone of other games we have already seen before with a few little updates that aren’t glaringly obvious to the player. The developers needed to spend a little more time on this title before pushing it out to the masses.
When you release a multiplayer-focused game, you better make sure that your online component can handle the rush of people playing it. From day one the Xbox 360 version has been crippled by lag and host migration issues. The day one patch didn’t seem to provide much of a fix as it was hard to get a full game session in without severe connection problems. Bethesda recently announced they are working to provide a fix on this and will be offering some free DLC. The thought that they are aware of the problem is great but why release a version of the game if you know it can’t handle the main function of it? By all reports the PC version of the game doesn’t suffer from any of these issues due to using dedicated servers.
If I can use one word to describe BRINK it would be “disappointing”. My expectations were set so high by the initial showings and marketing of BRINK that I came away feeling like I was playing something that I had played before. If you enjoy team based multiplayer FPS games BRINK does have some promise but I would advise going for the PC version as the Xbox version simply does not cut it. Here’s to hoping future patches and DLC by the games developers work to address the issues that are hurting the game.