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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

First-Person Shooter

 

Publisher

Bethesda Softworks

 

Developer

Splash Damage

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

May 10, 2011

 

 

- Parkour can make a difference
- Great maps for the most part
- Secondary objectives
- Teamwork makes a difference
- Persistent XP

 

 

- Can be overwhelming at the start

- AI teammates and opponents are damn dumb or so erratic as to appear completely dumb
- Opposing classes are not readily identifiable

 

 

Review: The Orange Box (360)

Review: Mirror's Edge (360)

Review: Dead Space 2 (360)

Review: Left 4 Dead 2 (PC)

 

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Brink

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

brink          brink

 

Playing Brink with bots brought me to the brink of snapping a controller. Rather than providing back-up or cover to complete the main objective, the bots will often chime in that they're headed off to secure a secondary objective. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it since they will, on occasion, all of them, converge on the player's location in a squirming lump of ripe targets.

Strangely enough that could result in the opposing team to send over a couple of the C-team members to get mowed down while the remaining team heads to the

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Health Command post to capture it.

Good choice there, fellas! I won, now I'm going to change my pants with all that extra XP I just earned!

Or they'll enemy will remain completely oblivious to being shot. In the back. Repeatedly. Other times they use some kind of sonar to locate prey. That's the only thing that explains why they will sometimes be so hyper aware that

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creeping up carefully behind cover as they look the other way to suddenly whip around and unload a clip into a very surprised player.

Human players can be erratic and unpredictable but not like this, which is kind of why it's a double-edged sword to review a multiplayer focused game like Brink before it's released into the wild. (It's nice to be "first!" but it leaves the experience somewhat lacking.) One can only extrapolate what kind of teamwork/mayhem a full server of live players will bring to the game. Fortunately, other aspects aren't quite so difficult to figure out.

Brink's maps are great. Built in such as way as to make the parkour mechanics -- running, jumping, sliding -- an essential part of the game there's a great deal of satisfaction when the "hit and fade" tactic actually works. Leaping into a room mowing down one guy, knocking down another by sliding into him then finishing him off, leaping off a box and disappearing into an air vent in what feels like one motion takes a bit of practice but it's possible. And man is it fun!

 

brink          brink

 

Most of the maps are multi-staged -- completing the main objective opens more of the map -- but sometimes the same location is trodden back and forth as objectives are completed.

Many objectives are class specific. An operative needs to hack a safe, an engineer needs to re-activate a crane, and so on. If nothing else, it encourages class swapping throughout the course of a match. There are only four classes but those are given a little variety with the three body types: light, medium, and heavy. Any gamer should be able to figure these types out very quickly. The Light type means fast movement and better leaping ability at the cost of durability. The Heavy can wield a chaingun and take the most punishment of the three types at the cost of mobility. They look very different so it's easy to spot an opponent who may have a chance to make a quick getaway or take a lot of damage.

Not so with the classes.

There's no quick way to visually tell what class an opponent is, like in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or Team Fortress 2. Because each character is so modifiable, there's no consistency. Is that guy a medic or a soldier? Really the only easy way to tell is through observing what buff they're providing for teammates at that moment since they may change classes after their next spawn. Being able to identify classes is important so that players can quickly prioritize targets.

 

brink           brink

 

Classes can be "spotted" by aiming down the iron sights, but this doesn't mesh well with the agility of manoeuvrability that the game encourages.

Brilliantly, Brink keeps track of experience points (XP) across all modes of the game, even in the single-player Challenges so there's constant advancement in the number of weapons available and ability upgrades even if a player isn't online.

The great unknown with Brink is whether a strong online community will form and maintain itself. And that's the crux of the matter. Blazing through the Campaign takes little time and earns a good number of achievement points but the game is lumbered with awful AI. I had limited online play with real people and found Brink to run smoothly enough but this is before a thousands of people jump on to find a game. I like the tools, the moves, and the environments. All that remains are consistent humans to play against. To that end Brink will receive an addendum review in the coming weeks to see how it all comes together.

- Aaron Simmer

(May 10, 2011)

 

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