“Brink takes shooters to a whole new level.”
“Brink impresses from pretty much every angle.”
“..one of the standout shooters of the year.”
Liars, the lot of you!
Now that that’s out of my system, I want to thank Brink. It corrected a poor habit of mine while it was still in its infancy. That habit was blind publisher loyalty. When I first came across Brink, I wanted to like it. I really did. I was immediately interested in its art style, and the Bethesda logo in the corner of the box assured me of its unquestionable quality. How wrong I was, and how very much I overpaid that day, I cannot stress enough.
As a competitive first-person shooter, Brink has a lot of competition on today’s market, and yet it just feels like the developers haven’t picked one up in the last ten years. Case in point: Brink sports no campaign to speak of. The single-player mode, guided by a sheer-thin veneer of a narrative, is just a string of multiplayer maps in which players’ squadmates are A.I.s with about as much tactical sense as a rabid honey badger. Multiplayer itself is stiflingly limited in terms of map variety, arena size, and weapon options, and many of the maps are rife with arbitrary choke-points that fatally cut down on the pace and entertainment value of gameplay.
Avatar and weapon customization is a welcome feature, and the options available do allow for some unique and inventive character designs, but the decision to require unlocks and temporary in-game purchases for rather basic customization options, like body types, smacks as a bit counter-productive to players finding their niche early on. The total lack of female avatar options at all is equally disappointing. There are female gamers out there, Splash Damage, and they don’t always want a mountain of armored flesh for an avatar.
Perhaps most disappointing of all, the parkour elements that seem to have been such an integral part of the game’s concept are clunky at best, and a tacked-on gimmick the rest of the time. Mirror’s Edge this ain’t, as it’s often difficult to tell which surfaces a player can vault over, which ledges one can grab onto, and why one shouldn’t just take cover and use some tactical sense rather than running into the open to charge enemies armed with assault rifles and shotguns. There’s just no incentive the put it to use the vast majority of the time.
Wrapping up, Brink is visually pretty average. Personally, I found its art style to be quite inspired and rather reminiscent of the modernistic, tagger-culture influenced, Marc Ecko’s getting up, but that’s just my personal taste, and will not factor into the game’s rating. The score and sound effects are par for the course, but ultimately forgettable, and its mechanics just fall short of their intended mark. Most damning of all is the fact that there are now multiple free-to-play shooters on the market that outclass Brink in every way. Blacklight:Retribution, Team Fortress 2, and APB Reloaded, just to name a few, are all superior titles that come with a zero dollar price tag, casting Brink’s sixty-dollar launch-mark in a pretty grim light.
Controls & Mechanics: 5
Atmosphere & Experience: 4
Entertainment Value: 3
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Posted: November 25th, 2013