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Brink: Is It The First Person Shooter You’ve Been Waiting For?

Posted by Yogizilla on May 10, 2011

Now that I’ve logged a good amount of play time in the first two days of “Brinkdom”, I’d like to preface my excitement with a bit of a reality check…

Replay value and the length of a video game are certainly key elements that add value to an offering. In the case of Brink, jaded gamers may say it’s too short. If you want to be overly-critical, the game doesn’t have a very deep story nor does it have plenty of gameplay modes upon release. I think it all works well and, if I know Splash Damage well enough, they’re going to find ways to keep Brink fresh and fun.

If you’re like my cousin and Brink reminds you of Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, good observation! That’s arguably Splash Damage’s most well-known work. We won’t talk about Quake Wars so, really, this is their first real console entry. They’re going to want to do some big things here and Brink is set up to be expandable and user-driven. I’d say any shortcoming cited on this article are purely first impressions and not final in any way. Brink definitely feeds a very real need in a marketplace littered with clones and crap…

It’s been yet another busy day for me but I did manage to log a couple of hours on Brink. In a few words, it is well worth the money as far as I am concerned. Brink is Bethesda’s take on the FPS genre and, thanks to their experience with the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series (and teaming up with Splash Damage), there are some very welcomed RPG elements.

I’d compare Brink with some of my other favorite XBox 360 shooters: Borderlands, Team Fortress 2, Gears of War 3, and Rainbow Six Vegas 2. I’d say it is more akin to the foremost than the latter. While the game stands out on it’s own, the deep character customization, class-based obejctiive focus, and team-focused game mechanics should be familiar to the seasoned shooter veteran. Bethesda has done the impossible by weaving the Brink story into virtually every gameplay option.

I’m really excited about Brink but let’s dig deeper because, really, this game is not for everyone…The way Splash Damage executes on their core mechanics is what is special. Brink’s controls are very intuitive and easy to pick up. After playing lots of the Gears of War 3 beta, I find that Brink is a lot smoother. Clunky controls like those found on the Gears of War series turn people off to shooters but Bethesda, as the creative oversight on this project, made sure this was a release with plenty of polish and ease-of-use. Rather than focusing on the mechanics, you’ll be focusing on strategy, teamwork, and tactics. w00t!

If you love co-op play, Brink is a must-have. Much like Team Fortress 2, you can change character classes to suit whatever needs your team may have. Controlling command posts helps you have several strategic advantages, including changing load-outs and classes on-the-fly. The classes are about what you’d expect but how you get to play and customize them is what makes Brink unique. The entire game is about complete immersion and deep customization, making the experience yours. With the ability to create 10 characters, the replay value seems like it will be virtually endless.

All gameplay modes (currently, Campaign, Freeplay, and Challenges – all self-explanatory, really) can be played solo but the multiplayer flavors are what excite me most. As expected, online multiplayer matches can get laggy, which seems to be the case with new console releases. I reckon the PC version is much more playable online for now. You can have 8 players on each team (except on Challenge maps), bots/drones inclusive, but, right now, it may be best to stick to private invite-only online multiplayer modes until hosting issues are fixed.

Brink is absolutely beautiful. I love iD Software’s latest engine and the DOOM Pack made me a very happy video game geek. While I find the elongated faces comical, this engine runs well and boasts some nice effects and T&L (texture and lighting). The level design is brilliant. Each map offers plenty of choke points, strongholds, vantage points, and strategic objectives.

As awesome as all that may be, what makes Brink truly special is how your efforts carry over into every game mode. Whether you’re completing Challenge levels, doing some Free Play, or taking on Campaign missions, your hard work remains persistent and you are rewarded throughout. Love unlockables and perks? Brink has tons of them and the system is much more flexible than most, catering to specific gameplay styles. Again, it’s all about making the game experience completely yours.

I can sing heralds of Brink all night long but I realize the game may not appeal to everyone. For starters, as intuitive as the controls and HUD lay-out are, beginners may still feel a bit lost. I mentioned online play lag but that’ll only be a temporary setback, much like with Bioshock 2 and Dead Space 2 when they first launched. Newly-released online games are never quite ready for the demands of us avid gamers!

If you prefer a lone wolf style of play or more “adversarial” gameplay modes, Brink may not be the MPOG for you. The action is very intense and fun, but not quite as speedy as Halo or Call of Duty. Brink requires a real focus and awareness. You can’t just run-and-gun about all “Willy Nilly”. Brink rewards team players and selflessness. If you’re all about stats or the “next Call of Duty”, then you may want to skip out on this video game.

Honestly, I can’t really say anything really bad about the game. I do hope Bethesda and Splash Damage expand upon gameplay modes and releases some meaty expansions in the near future. Currently, Brink should keep even the most hardcore gamer busy for two or three months easily. I’d say that’s perfect since we have Mass Effect 3 and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations right around the corner (well, not really). Duke Nukem Forever is tempting as well. Then there’s Rage (another video game us old-school iD Software fans should enjoy) and other hit-or-miss titles on the horizon…

Without a doubt, 2011 is poised to be a busy, if not epic, year for video games and online gaming alike. Brink really stands out but you have to see it to believe it. It may be worthwhile to reiterate just how central objectives and story are to the Brink experience. There’s a sense of purpose and accomplishment throughout the game. Teamwork trumps individual prowess. It’s truly engaging and refreshing!

Hey, Bethesda/Splash Damage: may I humbly suggest more “Tower Defense” Challenge maps or perhaps a Survival Mode? Sure, that doesn’t fall in-line with a story-driven experience but, sometimes, people just want to shoot things. I really enjoyed the Tower Defense map. It’d be nice to have adjustable timers and maps with a little more cover, though…

Brink gets two thumbs up from me!

What do you all think about the game so far? Is this one of 2011’s biggest video games or just another faceless FPS game?

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19 Responses to “Brink: Is It The First Person Shooter You’ve Been Waiting For?”

  1. kingdeem said

    Man im so jealous i cant w8 till i cant get mine ill be getting it very soon

    • Yogizilla said

      I really love the game so it’s nice to see our geeky expectations satisfied for once. My cousin couldn’t really afford the splurge per se but he is loving it. No regrets for either of us.

      I should probably preface all the excitement by stating that the game is rather short, especially if you look at the story mode. Fortunately, Bethesda and Splash Damage make a smart team. They’ve made it so that they can easily insert new missions as “What If” experiences or fillers. Chances are their first expansion will add a new adverserial multiplayer mode along with a survival co-op mode along the lines of Horde or Terrorist Hunt. I think they’ll need to do that to make the game more appealing to picky video game geeks.

      Each story, whether you play as the Resistance or Ark Security, has 8 days or missions to take on with varying levels of difficulty. Normal difficulty is no cake walk and adding the human element certainly makes things more interesting. In some ways, the game has the flaws of Borderlands but I think Splash Damage has learned from mistakes made and have given themselves maple wiggle room. If they’re really smart, they’ll make the first DLC/expansion or two free, much like Ubisoft did with Abstergo Update 1 and 2 for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.

      My cousin “CarlWinslow83” beat the game with me in under 5 hours of total playing time, more or less. I can see some folks crying that the game is too short. Again, I’d read the reviews and ask around before you jump on the bandwagon. There are other FPS games on the horizon and Rage seems to be one of the biggest ones set to release this year. I’m very happy with Brink but, if I’m being super critical, the lack of gameplay modes and maps can definitely make you rethink the $59.99 price tag. Hope that helps, brothah!

      Either way, it’d be awesome to get a full =NoF= squad going on Brink. Carl said he’d be down to get back into Borderlands too but Brink is certainly more challenging. Nipples of Fate FTW!

      Carl is an awesome medic, BTW. He compares Brink to the Quake engine-based, RTCW-lke Enemy Territory for the PC. There’s a game he played for years but there was also a steady supply of maps, due to user-generated content and dynamic objectives…

      =N4L=

  2. KiNgDeeM said

    So it seems like you are giving me mixes messages lol do i get it or not? will we be playing it for a while doe sit have replay value is it 100% that there will be dlc? does the dlc add on to the coop like borderlands did or will it just be game modes?

    • Yogizilla said

      I’m saying it’s awesome but you have to take the good with the bad. I can’t promise some of our fellows won’t get bored with it. That is why I’m hoping the expansions will build upon the foundation Bethesda and Splash Damage have laid down.

      I know gamer budgets are tough these days. I skipped on Portal 2 for now because I knew Brink would be more of a value at the new release price. I am happy with that choice.

      I guess what I’m saying is don’t feel too left out. The game has to evolve a bit to establish mass appeal like Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops. In fact, that’s the very point MTV Multiplayer makes with their recent review. Sure, they’re no real authority but I can share their frustrations. Until the early patch is released, we’ll have to see how many people jump on and buy into the Brink experience.

      Regardless, CarlWinslow83 and I are having a ball with the game. The game only has 8 core maps, which are played from attach or defend perspectives. It’s quite possible that a third faction, the ubiquitous anarchists, can be introduced in future expansions. This may very well enhance the dynamics of the game by introducing a more chaotic neutral element.

      I’m going to play now a little bit and see if the release kinks have been worked out. BTW, the bots can be dumb sometimes but they’re smarter than the Borderlands and Gears of War 3 varieties, I’d say. Expect to hear an official announcement from Bethesda and Splash Damage addressing the key concerns herein…

      So far, sources indicate that Bethesda and Splash Damage have no comments regarding game fixes and expansions. I trust they will do the right thing, though!

      • Yogizilla said

        I’d like to add that RockPaperShotgun hits the nail right on the head by bringing up dedicated servers. Right now, the PC experience seems to be the way to go. More updates to come! Anyone else have any gripes about Brink for the XBox 360? Let’s discuss what we’d like to see Splash Damage do to really drive value through this promising new FPS entry. 8)

  3. KiNgDeeM said

    Tad said to me, Don’t be to quick to get Brink hes heard some not great things maybe he should come and say something

    • Yogizilla said

      Like I said, it’s far from perfect but unique enough to warrant consideration. Tad is far less forgiving than me, though. If I was being brutal, I’d say this game is more of an episode than a full release. It would have made sense to value-price it, though I don’t regret the splurge. 8)

    • Yogizilla said

      Okay, one gripe I definitely have is how the computer bots seem to work better together than your allies. I guess Splash Damage expects a multiplayer approach, whereas human players carry their teams. Playing as Security seems much tougher than doing the Resistance side of the missions. Still, once you figure out the strategies to each mission, you can breeze through campaign play. Brink is definitely optimized for co-op.

      • Yogizilla said

        My cousin, CarlWinslow83, made a good point. It seems like, until server lag issues and lack of maps/modes are addressed, Borderlands may be the way to go. Bargain-bin pricing trumps new release pricing. It’s a shame: Brink can be so much better with a group of friends but the lag is really a turn-off to us early adopters. Meh.

      • Yogizilla said

        All right! My final verdict on Brink is that it’s really fun once you get the right people and minimize lag. To that end, I highly recommend Competition mode on Freeplay. Form a fireteam with people that you like to jam with and play against real live people to breathe new life into the stale maps.

        Splash Damage dropped the ball with a few things. Playability is the main theme here. The game is so awesome but execution falls a tad bit short in areas of balancing, replay, and managing expectations. Many of us learned the hard way that playing challenges as a team gives you no completion credit. That means you have to subject yourself to frustrating scenarios solo. I particularly found “Be More Objective” to be the biggest pain.

        I love “Tower Defense” but it’d be tons more fun if you could put up more turrets and defenses (like mobile barricades perhaps) and actually have hordes of baddies follow specific paths. Right now, that challenge is almost impossible to beat alone on the two-star and three-star runs. As hard as it is, the intense action is strangely fun, albeit monotonous and frustrating at times.

        “Escort Duty” is great once you figure out that building non-Gatling turrets is probably pointless since they get taken out easily no matter where you go. Bots can be total tools but they always seem to throw perfect nades, at least when they’re going up against us humans. Shout-out to GodzComplex for his words of wisdom: “Maybe you’re trying to be too perfect.”. In this challenge, enemies will focus on you more if you pop around from behind the bot. Just stay with it or it will stop moving all together.

        In any case, only a little bit of time left on GoW3 beta. Going to be playing that and Brink. I know that, by now, you’ve heard a lot of bad things about Brink but I can see it remaining a go-to game so long as my friends keep playing it. I hope Splash Damage makes the game more rewarding for multiplayer fanatics like myself. More unlocks and rewards would be great too!

        Did I mention I dig “Tower Defense”? I sure do! 8)

      • Yogizilla said

        Great news, fellow Brinkers!

        According to GameTrailer’s Brink update there will be a free DLC for loyal Brink fans. A patch will be released soon as well. June may very well kick Brink into high gear! Now let’s hope they address the issues with Challenges and broken AI. Let’s not forget that May 15th is the last day to play the GoW3 beta. If you have a friend with beta access, ask them to check their e-mail for a Gears of War 3 friend access code ASAP!

  4. kingdeem said

    I’m going to pick mine up sometime 2day

    • Yogizilla said

      Noice!

      I just started a new character too as my stealth/sabotage class. With the cap at level 20 (at least until June), I’m guessing they want people to make specialized characters and switch up their strategies more. I’d say about 60% of the abilities are worth it and the rest are purely decoration.

      Hopefully they add more unique weapons. Customizing the guns is great fun but it feels like light and medium-body characters get shafted. The differences between the main weapons are so subtle too.

      All and all, I love that Splash Damage took a real gamble with the game, rather than following the crowd. It’s just a shame that there are so many iffy executions. So many good ideas fall short on this one. SMART movement can be so much better with a few tweaks. It’s still too early to say what is in store but I am excited!

      Regardless, you get on Brink with a bunch of friends and there is great fun to be had. Can’t wait to have you jam with us. Good timing as well with the new updates on the way. ;o)

    • If you have any spare change maybe you can also buy the blue snowflake mic I suggested to up your sound quality for podcast recording 🙂

    • If you have some spare change left over, perhaps you can also get the Blue snowflake I mentioned to you NIck 🙂

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