One of the most anticipated games for 2011 has finally been released, and or the past three days i’ve been playing it almost nonstop and wondering why its gotten such mixed reviews. Some think the game has fallen short of its highly set marks and others think that, while the game may have its bugs that need fixing such as its matchmaking system, the game does live up to the set standards, if not completely overshot them. So which is it? From the beginning, Brink has garnered attention for both its engaging, while not all too creative, storyline, the more than numerous ways in which you can personalize the look of your character and lets not forget the SMART (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) system that promised to revolutionize the way we thought about the environments in a first person shooter. So now that this game has been out for a good three days now, has it lived up to its bold statements or is it just another game that showed promise but fell short of the mark?
Visually, Brink is stunning. I purchased Brink for my PC and even at going on two years old, Brink runs excellent at high textures and model detail. Its graphics are reminiscent of the game Mirrors Edge which, above all, is notable for its bright, nearly neon colors coupled with a glow that softens even the hardest of textures. Stylistically, Brink’s characters remind me of a cross between Borderland’s detailed skin and body textures and Call of Duty’s customizable character load out.
Customization isn’t as in-depth as I thought it would be, but the numbers cited for possible variations on character customization I do not doubt in the least bit. There are a good fifteen to twenty possible ways in which a player can customize his or her character’s clothing and another fifteen or twenty possible tint and color variations on top of that; and that’s just for one of the two factions you can choose from. Add in the three body types, light, heavy and medium, and what you have is a near impossibility of ever running into another player who looks exactly like you.
Another cool fact in customization that wasn’t mentioned was the ability to purchase abilities. They function much like perks do for Call of Duty games in that they give your character various “perks” that can be purchased with points earned from experience and leveling, like the ability to know when a cross hair is locked on you or the ability to shoot grenades out of the air if you aim just right.
That’s all fine and dandy for those who get off on graphics and textures, but what about the game itself? How does it play?
Gameplay in Brink is almost like an updated version of Team Fortress 2. The classes, while there are only four, are very similar in both name and function. The soldier is the weapons man who deal with demolition and has the ability to hand out ammo to teammates who may be running low on bullets. The Medic, unlike in team fortress 2, is just as capable of dealing damage to enemies in addition to reviving and healing downed and hurt teammates by injecting them with what I can only describe as adrenaline. The engineer can both construct and repair turrets and MG nests, as well as buffing the damage of a teammates weapon. Last, but definitely not least for our spy fans out there, we have the “spy” class known as the “Operative.” The operative has the ability to sneak behind enemy lines disguised as the enemy and hack important objectives with an iPhone type device.
In addition to each class being fully equipped to defend themselves, the game reminds me of Return to Castle Wolfenstein in that players are able to give themselves the respective buffs. Soldiers can refill their own ammo, Engineers can buff their own weapons and if a medic finds themselves in a tight spot, no more having to wait for another medic for help.
By far the best part of gameplay in Brink is the way in which you move. The SMART system allows you to easily jump from level to level and move around obstacles without so much as a second thought. It does take some getting used to however, many times I’ve herped when I meant to derp, and can lead to some harsh lessons in the SMART system. If you play your cards right, however, a whole new world opens up to you, literally. Getting objectives, escaping fire fights and moving through, and sometimes under, a choke point turns the normal game of capture the objective into a psychological game.
So with all that Brink sounds like a pretty awesome game, and it is, so why are people completely trashing it?
Criticisms of Brink can be found all over the web. From the fact that there are no female models to comments on the plot and storyline; you can even find the former argument in older posts of mine.
Personally, not having the ability to be female is very disheartening for me as I would have loved to have female characters worth a damn with clothing that actually did something except show off their breasts. I understand though that there are complications and sacrifices had to made but I really do hope that female characters will be made available either via a DLC or a patch, which honestly I’m thinking it will be more of a DLC than a patch. You don’t patch in new models…that’s silly.
Second, because the game is new there are still some kinks to be worked out. Currently, at least for steam players, matchmaking for co-op games seems to be unavailable. To be clear, multiplayer games on dedicated servers seem to be fully functional, but if you want to play on a listen server of play co-op with a friend, right now you’ll be lucky if you get anything other than “server not responding.” The server list itself is a pain in the rear to load as it is extremely laggy. Once you get into the game, however, it works perfectly fied and is really fun.The game still is perfectly fun solo, however, as you get a full team of bots to help out. We all know how bots are though so…don’t expect them to do everything. Think of Left 4 Dead singleplayer, you lead the team.
Despite not being able to play a female character and the many fixes that need to be made to matchmaking and steam integration, Brink is still a very fun game and because of such, I give it 4 out of 5 TNT’s.
It plays very much like Team Fortress 2 and it’s this familiarity combined with the SMART system, a Call Of Duty-esque ability selection and experience use make Brink an extremely fun game. Its new and visually appealing without being too far out of the realm of what we’ve come to expect from first person shooters.