Review: Brink

Campaign mode contains the game’s story, although what it really boils down to is standard maps with a cutscene at the beginning. Yes, the story really isn’t the stand out feature here, although it is padded out with audio logs you earn via levelling up. Both the Resistance and Security parts of the game have six missions each, plus two additional ‘what-if’ missions, which take a certain part of the story and puts a little twist on it. Whilst this might sound a little miserly, they can take up to 30 minutes to complete.

Playing through Campaign on your own isn’t a particularly enjoyable experience. At first that’s down to the fact your kit is somewhat lacking, but even after a few upgrades it fails to make a lasting impact. One of the key issues is that organising and mounting an attack, or preparing a defence, is just no fun with AI partners. On the whole they are fairly impressive, but still prone to bouts of daft behaviour such as several Medics trying to come and revive you and then running into the same gunner one after the other. All it needed was some Benny Hill music and the scene would have been hilarious.

Your opponent AI has no such intellectual problems though, and will hunt you down with ruthless efficiency. They will erect turrets, plant mines, retreat if necessary, and generally make a nuisance of themselves.

With the single player experience failing to live up to expectations, it’s down to the online Campaign mode to save the day, and thankfully it kicks things into high gear. You can notice the difference straight away as tactics are devised, players assign themselves tasks and everything gels together nicely. It feels like a tighter, more focused version of MAG where everyone teams up rather than runs off trying to do everything by themselves. Playing this with friends will be one of the online highlights of your year. Don’t like your friends? That’s ok, you can play against them too in a ‘verses’ Campaign match.

Weapons combat throughout the game has a good sense of weight behind it and every weapon, from the smallest pistol to the largest shotgun, packs a real punch, backed up by meaty audio effects. As mentioned earlier the weapon’s statistics really do make a difference, so for example your submachine gun will deal an immense amount of damage but wobble all over the place, whereas one of the rifles will be slightly more cumbersome but far more accurate. Mastery of your weapon loadout is key to earning the big points. Unfortunately no such praise can be lavished upon the melee combat, as it feels disappointingly weak to the point where it is almost useless. Even the finishing blow you can strike to downed enemies is no more than a light tap on the head with the butt of your gun.

Upon first booting up the game (with the internet disconnected) I was disappointed with the game’s graphical prowess as there were a lot of issues. I then remembered about the day one patch for the Xbox 360, and it really does make a big difference in terms of ironing out the bugs, so don’t forget to log in and download it. Before the update screen tear was rife, as was texture pop-up when bringing up the iron sights, as well as random glitches such as players floating in the air. With the update installed only some pop-up still remains, but nowhere near as frequent.

The cutscenes look good, with some nicely detailed characters, and the environments themselves look decent, albeit not up to the level we have seen in recent shooters. They are perfectly sized, though, and you are never more than twenty seconds away from a firefight.

For all its plus points, of which there are many, what Brink really needs is some more variety. No matter how good your clan is, there are only so many times you can ‘defend’ or ‘attack’ before everything wears a bit thin. The game does try to spice things up a bit, with mid-mission objectives, but what it boils down to is playing the same thing over and over again, just on a different map. Is this a negative point? Well, that’s entirely down to how you like your games.

Pros

  • SMART is ace
  • So much customisation
  • Gunplay feels good
  • Ruthless enemy AI
  • Mostly decent team AI
  • Seamless online integration
  • Rewards teamwork
  • XP here, XP there, XP freakin’ everywhere
  • Brink has massive potential

Cons

  • Lacks variety
  • Can still be a bit ropey, graphically
  • Single player is a big non-event

Brink will live or die by the community it attracts. Whilst it is so much more accessible than MAG, you’ll still need to put the time in to stay relevant. Despite a bit of lag, playing online is a fantastic affair, with the potential to be made even better with the addition of more variety by way of DLC. Looking for a deep and meaningful single player story? Then step away. Looking for an intense online shooter with more guns than Texas? Come on in, the water’s fine.

Score: 9/10

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69 Comments

  1. Looking good, I was thinking of a rental to see what it’s like but with a somewhat lacking campaign it may taint my overall enjoyment of the game. If I finish off some of these games I have I may trade in and take the plunge. Still torn of this game for some reason.

    On your point about the 360 graphics, wasn’t the PS3 the lead development platform for Brink?

    Great review Dan.

    • http://www.gameblurb.net/featured/versus-brink-video-and-screenshot-comparison/

      Have a look at this comparison for the PS3 version.

      • I always have trouble picking a better version on these comparisons. With the 360’s AA and PS3’s sharpness it seems like anything can be corrected playing with the TV settings.

        Either that or I really need to wear my glasses, just got to dust of the inch layer of dust from them.

      • Watch the video in HD if you don’t notice any difference an eye-test may be in order :P

        Saying that I thought PS3 looked better in stills as well.

      • Yeah, my eyes must be on there way out..lol

        I can tell the differences in the stills. Mainly the sharpness. I’ll have to get the videos up on my TV to test them on my settings, if I could be arsed.

      • I just checked the link, didnt really know what I was looking for, but Yeah the ps3 stills look better. the majority think so so far too. Cant watch the video as i’m in work. Looking forward to playing with TSA guys

      • The PS3 version does look to be sharper, possibly running at a slightly higher resolution, although it looks a bit washed out and there is a notable lack of anti-aliasing.

  2. Another great review Dan and another great game. This year has been epic so far and the year is only going to get better!

  3. Wow, seems to be getting a wide spread of scores. I was already convinced by the demos I have played to be honest.

    Good review and am looking forward to playing saving/leaving the Arc!

  4. Good review, the way the campaign works in multiplayer sounds confusing and a disappointing single player portion seals the deal for me. I’m giving it a miss :)

    • same here will get it at some point.

    • It was never meant to be a single player game. That was just to easy you in. It’s drop in drop out multiplayer game. If that’s not your thing then I can understand why you’d want to give it a miss.

  5. 4 days until my copy is here… cant wait… add gybrocker if you keen for a game when psn is back up :)

  6. Great review Dan. You helped me make up my mind about this game. Will give it a miss, since it’s lacking a proper campaign and I get bored pretty easily by repetitive online gaming.
    Don’t really care about the millions of customization options since I can’t see my own character in a FPS. If I wanted to play dress up with a character I’d get the latest Barbie game. :D

    • Yeah that is usually the problem with online multi player games they get boring very fast at least for me they do

  7. “XP here, XP there, XP freakin’ everywhere”
    I don’t understand how it’s supposed to be a pro. XP makes everything better ? I get that customisation is good, but this…

    • I feel that constantly getting decent levels of XP helps drive you forwards to try and reach your next level. Nobody wants to spend half an hour ploughing through a match only to get something like 100 XP.

  8. There was some pretty bad texture loading/pop up in the beta, quite why it hasnt been fixed is beyond me it was reported ad naseum by the testers. Stil a great a game tho.

    • I’m starting to feel a bit gutted, lag, tearing now this. I can handle texture loading & pop ups, in gta for eg. I can also just bear tearing in say assassins Cr2(not fin yet,) In a fps it has to be nice & smooth, with none of the above, at least for me. However to say its still a great game, has to give credit to the gameplay. So now i dont know if to discard the faults & buy on fri or not.

    • The pop-in is being patched day 1.

      • good to hear… Been watching a few mp videos on youtube, one pc user was having problems with frps dropping to 20frps at times & occasional loss of audio, bar ambient (only in terminal map.) I guess these will being patched in first wk or so. Surprised a sound bug, wasn’t spotted in the beta. (i’m not 100% sure a frps patch is possible, i’m not teched up on that & again from what i’ve viewed so far, that was on pc only.)

  9. Sounds pretty cool, I myself practice parkour with parkour generations so it should be very interesting to see this SMART system..

  10. I enjoyed the read, but I read it thinking you sounded underwhelmed overall….then you gave it a 9.

    I might pick it up on the cheap down the line a bit, but there are too many other games that need attention just now if I’m not sure I’m going to enjoy something. I hope it sells well though, some of the innovations sound excellent.

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