Brink’s concept sounded good on paper.
You and seven of your friends work together – pitted against another team in accomplishing objectives – each player working for the greater good of the team.
In practice, the concept shows its weaknesses.
In Brink, player select from four classes – medic, operative, soldier and engineer. Each scenario requires that a sufficient number of each class be on board with the mission.
Medics are there to revive fallen teammates and “buff” their health up to a higher level. Medics can also self-administer health.
Soldiers can resupply ammunition and carry explosives to destroy objects.
Operatives can hack computers, disguise themselves as a member of the opposing force and spot hidden landmines.
Engineers can build turrets and repair things, upgrade teammates’ weapons and plant landmines.
The plan works fairly well when most of your team is made up of “bots,” artificial intelligence players standing in for flesh and blood. Bots are programmed to naturally organize and split the duties of the four classes among them.
But trying to convince real players that they should work together, rather than wander about lone wolf style, is a daunting task. Having a random group of gamers suddenly work as a coordinated team is a bit of a stretch in the best circumstances.
But for me, more human players added a much more significant problem to Brink – major lag. The more human players the worse the gameplay, with lag often making even simple movement impossible. Maybe that aspect of the game will be addressed in a patch down the road.
Brink is mainly about the online multiplayer, but it does have a single-player campaign that mirrors much of the online play. The campaign can be played through twice – once as part of the security forces and the second as a member of the resistance.
Each mission offers primary objectives and secondary objectives for added experience points.
Character customization with Brink is deep. Starting with a dozen or so character models, players can specify hair, tattoos, voice, clothing and a number of other ways to individualize. More than one character can be created, although experience points must be earned individually for each.
One of the big selling points of Brink is the ability to use parkour – climbing and sliding and using the environment to your advantage. In actuality, the abilities are mostly limited to the “light” class of player, a class that is easier to kill and that doesn’t carry very powerful weapons.
Weapon upgrade is accomplished by completing challenges. Finishing a challenge, which can be undertaken by as many as four players, unlocks an assortment of weapon upgrades and attachments, from higher capacity magazines to better sights to muzzle brakes.
These upgrades can only be earned through the challenges, which also serve to instruct players on the finer points of the game.
Brink has a lot going for it – it has an interesting premise; the tactical aspect can be fun, if done right – if only the excessive lag problem can be dealt with. While it may not appeal to the broader FPS players weaned on the Call of Duty and Battlefield games, I can see a niche group of gamers giving it some staying power – groups of friends or clans could give it staying power.
Platform: Xbox 360/Playstation 3
Manufacturer: Bethesda Softworks
Rating: 6.5 laggy chilies