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Score: 8.0 / 10
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
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
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!
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.
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.