Brink – Review

Published By: Bethesda Softworks, Developed By: Splash Damage, Genre: Sci-fi First Person Shooter, Release Date: May 10, 2011, ESRB: Teen, Systems; PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360

Presentation - “Save the Ark” or “Escape the Ark” are the questions one must answer before playing Brink. Brink is an ambitious first person shooter that has two separate story campaigns, three body types that changes gameplay and four different classes. Is it all executed well or does it fail? Keep reading to find out. This is one videogame that has a uniquely peculiar presentation. The character models are all highly stylized featuring elongated faces that in my opinion were quite creepy to look at.

I did play my copy of Brink on PC and experienced some framerate and stuttering issues which had more to do with people’s connections. The menus were easy to navigate and finding what you’re looking for wasn’t a problem. There were a few weird ragdoll dummy glitches like players arms or legs sticking out of concrete wiggling. Brink does lack polish regarding gameplay.

Story – Brink’s story centers around a man made self sustaining city called the Ark. The Security wants to protect the Ark as they believe its humanities only choice for survival. The rival faction, Resistance believes people exist outside the  Ark and therefore want to escape it seeking refuge. The Resistance believes they are held captive while living in slums near the Ark. They want freedom and choice. So that is the bases for both stories and why you fight in Brink. You either choose the Security or Resistance in which you protect or escape the Ark.

The story campaign does have to two different sets of stories told through cutscenes mostly. Playing as either Security or Resistance you see their perspective. The story of Brink is only there to try and make some sense as of why you are fighting. The cutscenes are well designed and always play before and after the chapter is over. Like i alluded to earlier Brink’s story is tacked on for a “story” campaign no more no less. This is a multiplayer game at heart and the story is just kinda there as a filler.

Visuals – Some people love Brink’s artstyle regarding its character models in particular. i didn’t. They seemed weird and creepy looking. Suffice it to say the models are unique in nature. The settings for my playthrough of Brink was 1400×1050. My rig has a 4800 series card, quad core and 6 gigs of DDR3 ram for the record. For the most part the game ran well. The visuals are not as great as you would hoped. The textures on the gun modes looked great. The surroundings of the Ark looked nice due to the artsyle but graphically not so much. I had all graphical settings set to high. Brink didn’t impress me from a visual standpoint but does win in artsyle (except character face m, modeling).

Sound – The menu start up music will stick in your head. I had a problem with the sounds when the player ran. Considering you do parkour in Brink it sounds like you are wearing 200 lbs of gear as you run. One cool feature of Brink is the ability to change your voice. This is a class based game and it was neat when your squadmates tell you that they are “buffing your ammo” ect. The voiceovers helped gameplay. Not much music in Brink or maybe it was just forgettable.

Gameplay – Brink is a multiplayer co-op shooter that has many options for gameplay. There are four different classes to help your team win. You have the Assault Class: hands out ammo, buffs ammo. Medic: can throw syringes that the player can revive themselves with and buff players health. Engineer: can set turrets and diffuse bombs. Operative: is like the spy class. He can steal the identity of the enemy and “spot” enemies for teamates as well. Every class in Brink also has its own upgrade and unlock system that is really impressive. You can buy unlocks through credits as you rank up and earn xp.

The matches are set up so that you have to switch classes in game to perform different tasks. There are stations set up on every map for easy access when switching classes. Bodytypes also add a dynamic to Brink’s gameplay. As you play and level up you will unlock different bodytypes. Say you pick a big strong bodytype, you will be able to take more damage but won’t be a nimble and able to traverse the map using parkour. If you have a skinny bodytype you will be able to traverse the map and run fast but you won’t be able to take much damage.

S.M.A.R.T or Smooth Movement Around Random Terrain was Splashdamage’s selling point when promoting Brink. Its a parkour system that lets you press one buttoon and run over, up and around objects seamlessly. It was a good a concept but badly implemented. Most times you’re just running sideways along objects or sticking to rails when trying to do parkour. Not all of it is bad though. You can perform slide moves that knock down enemies which is effective. Overall its a great concept but SMART wasn’t implemented or executed properly.

Brink is a first-person shooter that has a deep weapon customization and unlock system. When you visit the Weapon Customization menu you can pick and upgrade weapons. You can customize assault rifles with bayonets, silencers, muzzle breaks, iron sites, scopes and much more. Each gun whether its an SMG, assault rifle, LMG or pistol has a deep customization tree. Not only weapons are customizable but abilities as well. You can pick and choose which universal abilities or class abilities you want to unlock with your credits. Say your a medic. You can choose to unlock stronger abilities such as metabolism, speed boost, adrenaline boost, improved life buff and much more. When you pick certain universal abilities with your class abilities it makes for a deep unlock tree for your character.

Brink has all of the ambition in the world regarding gameplay. There are so many upgrades and so many ways to get xp and credits. The maps and gamemodes do get repetitive after awhile due to the game’s presentation but the ambition is there. The problem was the fact it doesn’t all meld well together. Weather your trying to do parkour or trying to buff a player or just plain shoot someone it falls apart at the seams. The gameplay is what Brink fails at, not its content.

Replayability – Lots. You have a 2 story campaigns you can play as  Security or Resistance. the story isn’t good but its content. FreePlay is where all of the fun happens. Its multiplayer only with about 400 servers (PC) running at any time. Games range from challenges, objectives and stopwatch with or without customizations. I played through the story on FreePlay with live players cooperately which was alote of fun. The best matches are 8 versus 8 Resistance versus Security. It can get intense let me tell ya. Matches are short and usually last 10 minutes if your team is decent. So many unlocks and options Brink has plenty of replay value. Afterall, it is a multiplayer game at heart with a small single layer tacked on.

Final Verdict – Brink is one of those ambitious games that try to pull off something really exciting and different. The problem is when all of those fresh great ideas aren’t executed and polished. If you only care about multiplayer this is a good game and i recommend it. If your looking for solid gameplay and presentation stay away. Thanks for reading.


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