Splash Damage knows their way around an online shooter; they made their name in the early 90ís through mods and the like. They crafted Enemy Territory and Quake Wars and they seem to have a handle on class based shooting, especially in terms of the classes themselves. Now itís the turn of Brink, a complex game that requires some effort to get the best out of, but doesnít seem to deserve a lot of the review flak itís been getting.Story
Set in the dystopian future, a huge man-made floating city known as the Ark is in dire straits, food is running out, disease is rampant and an oppressive security force is curtailing the population and making everything seem very Orwellian. Enter the battle between the Resistance and Security as one of either faction and youíll see the same story play out with slightly different cut-scenes for both factions. Brink is very much about the playerís own story as itís told through the narrative of the clashes between these two factions, rather than about the game having a long complex plot that plays out through some non-interactive battles now and then.
Whatís there is slim, but still meatier than either Team Fortress 2 or Left 4 Dead 1 and 2. I put quick caveat there saying that I adore both games, so thatís not a slight against those or Valve...so the fanboys can put down their pitchforks and flaming torches right now!Gameplay
Brink is an odd beast, its complex as I mentioned before but itís also fairly simple to get to grips with and has a lot going for it. Unfortunately those strengths are also the gameís weakness since the generic shooter crowd, weaned upon their daily dose of Call of Duty 4 and its many shooter clones are going to find nothing really to like about the game. For anyone who has a love of class based play thereís a lot going for Brink as long as you have the patience to dive right in.
A word of warning as well, donít expect the single player to be anything more than a training mode for the true online game, this is at its heart a game about the multiplayer experience and anyone who tells you that the gameís single player is basically a replacement for that is selling something. Brinkís single player is basically a way to train you to play online, with friends against/with computer opponents and it does have drop-in/out co-op which weíll talk about later on.
A Brink match can essentially be broken down as a series of linked objectives that allow the attacker and defender to accomplish various goals. Thereís always a timer and the attacking team must achieve its objectives before that runs out, the same goes for defence. Itís a basic concept that we have seen time and time again across numerous genres; however in this case itís all about the way that you accomplish those goals with your team. Team plays a big role in Brink and itís almost useless for you to try and CoD Lone Wolf this title. There are numerous primary and secondary objectives for your team to accomplish during a match.
Primary: Team A has to guard objects A B and C for 15 minutes.
Secondary: Build Hall MG nest.
Secondary: Construct barrier 1.
Primary: Team B must destroy objects A B and C.
Secondary: Guard soldiers.
Secondary: Destroy enemy barrier.
Itís a simple example and Brinkís maps are far more complex most of the time, with layers of objectives that can trigger after the first is failed depending on the role of the team on attack or defence. The correct mix of classes will allow you to succeed, the Engineer can place mines and turrets down (later on) to protect the area, repair any defence emplacements or construct barriers that impede the enemy if youíre on defence like Team A there...Medics can keep Engineers health buffed and throw revive syringes if the Engineers constructing the barricade or disarming the bombs fall.
Soldiers can do what they do best; putting on the hurt and Operatives can sneak around causing trouble and hacking Command Posts.
On the attacking Team B, Engineers can support their allies by buffing their damage; Operatives can try and sneak into the enemy area and in disguise take over turrets and the like. Medics keep the Soldiers alive and Soldiers are tasked with destroying the 3 objectives. If the defenders fail then the map switches (often) to a secondary task that the attackers must perform, stealing data, escorting a VIP or planting a bomb on a reactor behind an armoured door, which first must be opened by hacking the control panel elsewhere.
How this all plays out is up to you, your role on the battlefield and how you want to play. You can wade in guns blazing or go for a support role, standing back and buffing the team, laying down mines, turrets and so on. Iíve seen Engineers storm into the enemyís temporary front-line and lay down a mine, or even throw up a quick turret to distract the bad guys long enough for someone to sneak past.
This isnít like Call of Duty and itís certainly not really like Team Fortress 2 with rocket jumps and crazy explosions. There are a lot of tactical options available for the player if they just take the time and dig in.