Brink is set in an apocalyptic future, on a man-made floating city called the Ark, made up of hundreds of separate floating islands. It’s the last outpost for humanity in a game version of Kevin Costner’s Waterworld.
In the same way that Waterworld never quite delivered what it initially seemed to promise, Brink is also initially a big let down.
I love playing online games, especially FPS, but the genre ruled by Call of Duty has become so static that I recently went back to playing COD4. Brink promised to refresh the tiered old formula with the inclusion of free-running and parkour elements.
With any game that has an online component, I set my self the challenge of playing through the single layer campaign first, before heading online to see how I fare against ‘real’ opponents. Brink is the first game where I’ve given up on the single player campaign, because, essentially there is no single player campaign.
The story-line – if you can call it that – is essentially a series of missions, exactly the same as you get to play online. With no real encouragement to play single player, I figured I’d just hop online and play.
But I have to say, I was disappointed. I was expecting a decent story ark where I could hone my skills, and explore a sandbox style world with the ease of Ezio Auditore. I guess like the legions of Costner fans, I had been living in my cotton wool protected world and I obviously hadn’t been paying attention to how the game was developing.
So primarily as an online game, how does brink hold up?
Well it’s difficult to say, because I haven’t had time to explore all the options. Basically you get to choose one of three character types, with the middle of the road character being default. You can jump over things and occasionally climb up things, but apparently to really get into the parkour mentality and be able to really start climbing buildings and such (not that I’ve seen any one doing this) you have to choose the skinny dude (who apparently is easier to kill!).
So here’s a brief rundown of my brief playtime with Brink:
I’m an old school Call of Duty fan, I know what guns I like and what game mode I like. So with Brink I chose the standard soldier class. I wasn’t interested in being an engineer, medic or whatever. I just wanted to be able to leap tall buildings and shoot people.
Graphically the game is fine. It’s not going to win any awards, but the graphics give a good feel for the game and the maps make use of the limited Parkour skills my character had. The guns were initially a pain in the arse, but this can be said for most new FPS – you just have to get used to them. There’s a few to choose from, so you have to use each one a bit before you get a feel for them. Target detection isn’t always that good, but for the most part, short controlled bursts will soon take your target down.
There are eight maps, and each map as a map specific mission for your team. Essentially you’ll be either defending or attacking, and each mission is split into three parts. The defender can win the game by holding off the attacking force for the duration of the first part (or the second or third parts) but the attacker must push through an win the entire mission to win.
Being a solider was fine to begin with, up to the point where I would be at the objective, all alone and without the skills needed to complete the objective.
Fortunately there are locations in each map where you can change class and I soon discovered that I favoured the engineer class, as I could construct strategically located machine gun nests and build strategically located barricades.
But there was more to come.
After leveling up a few levels I discovered could spend points on different attributes for my engineer, including – but not limited to – the ability to place mines and machine gun turrets.
Even better was the fact that anytime you built or repaired something, you’d earn extra XP.
Of course with only eight maps and the associated missions Brink has the ability to grow old real quick.
Without the time to explore what a lighter skinnier character can do, or to play online with a group of friends who actually want to communicate and work as a team, I’ve yet to tap the real potential of Brink.
As it stands, it’s still a fun alternative to your run of the mill FPS, that with some good support (more maps) and a bunch of friends who want to play it regularly, could become the game to play this side of the next COD or Battlefield game.