Hands On: Brink

Brink first seemed to pop onto the radar during a developer session at last year’s Eurogamer Expo, so it seems fitting that Splash Damage have returned to this year’s show with a playable version of the game. Brink seems to takesome fairly usual features, it’s best described as a class-based FPS with a high level of character customisation set in a multiplayer based world, and implement them in new and interesting ways. In particular the fully multiplayer campaign is a fantastic idea.

At the core of Brink is a campaign that has full drop in and drop out co-op on both of sides. That means if you’re playing as the security forces your friends can either join you for the mission as you try to crush the rebellion, or join the rebel forces and try to take you out. Of course if you want to play through by yourself you’re more than welcome to, but you’d be missing out on something that seems fairly fresh and different.

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There were four classes available in the demo; Engineer, Soldier, Medic and Operative, each of them being needed for different parts of the mission on the Container City map that was shown at last year’s developer session. Your aim as the security forces is to escort a robot through the shipping container lined streets and retrieve a bio weapon, of course the rebels have to stop you.

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Usefully you can quickly switch classes in game if you go to a control point, meaning that you’ll always have someone to complete each of the mission’s objectives. For example the Solider is required to set explosives on a main gate, and you need the Engineer to keep the robot repaired as it takes damage on your progression.

One of the most appealing things about the gameplay is that as well as the mission’s core objects you can just hit up on the d-pad to select side objectives and earn additional XP. It’s a nice mechanic that keeps things varied as you move through the level, and gives you a variety of options for character progression.

The use of objective-based gameplay in a multiplayer world seems most reminiscent of the Assault gametype in Unreal Tournament and Invasion in Halo: Reach, but feels much more rounded out. Perhaps it’s the variety of objectives, or the addition of class based gameplay but something makes it just feel like a much more tightly knit experience, and one that’s a lot more enjoyable.

Finally a word on the game’s movement system, Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain or SMART. The closest comparison that can be made here is to Mirror’s Edge, but nowhere as involved. If you hold down the sprint button you won’t just run in a straight line as fast as you can, you’ll vault over some obstacles, slide under others and even climb up onto ledges. It all works very slickly without you even having to think about it, and really makes your character feel more real rather than a dumb avatar who runs into obstacles. In fact obstacles aren’t really obstacles any more, they’re just a new way of moving through the level.

Whilst character customisation didn’t seem to be available in the demo, there wasn’t anything in the game that disappoints. Every concept that separates Brink out from the pack works well and simply enough that it doesn’t take away from the run and gun action. Even shooting feels better in this than some other FPSs, feeling very solid and powerful. Brink caught people’s eyes last year and this year Splash Damage look like they’ve consolidated the initial interest into genuine excitement.

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13 Comments

  1. I could customize my character. Loads of choices for facial type, skin colour, clothes, tattoos. It was really easy to have an entirely unique character.
    I loved Brink and my chance to play it has definitely made it a purchase for me.

  2. Can. Not. Wait. Well exciting. Possibly my most anticipated game right now. That said, I’m a fickle creature, and it may be something else tomorrow. Probably not though.

  3. this does look quality. The dev vids are excellent too. When is this looking to come out?

    • It was due for 7/9 (which it obviously didn’t make :S) this year but has been pushed back to a rather vague spring 2011 which in my opinion is better because as a new IP, it needs space to breathe rather than being stifled by top quality games during the christmas run-in period.

  4. In a way, SMART seems a bit like how Uncharted wanted to treat the whole Lara Croft climbing around thing. Get on with the actual traversing and make it easier so you end up enjoying the game, not wasting 30% of it trying to time stuff again and again.

    After seeing the SMART system in operation it really did highlight how simple things should be in games. Love it.

  5. I keep forgetting about this game then i read something every few months and it always seems very positive . Anything new that’s not a sequel is very welcome in my machine.

    • Me too. I love a good sequel but this has some great features that make it stand out from the crowd.

  6. I’ve been looking forward to this game.
    Glad to hear it’s shaping up nicely.

  7. Yay Bethesda Studios!

  8. I wish I was at Gamerexpo now. I would have loved to play brink.

  9. Know what this game sounds like the most?
    Enemy Territory Quake Wars. I think it might have something to do with it being from the same developer!

    I quite enjoyed ETQW so I’ll have to make sure to keep tabs on this one..

  10. i can’t wait for this game.

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