This week at GGUK we are going to be reviewing one of the most stylish FPS to hit shop shelves this year.In the crowded marketplace that is the FPS genre, will a strong art style and a new look at how to play an FPS let Brink, which is developed by Splash Damage and is on 360, PC, and PS3, wall run to the top of the pile or fall and break its ankle at the first jump?
Brink is set in 2035 and the planet’s sea levels have risen to the point that all land is lost. The only city left is a floating megalopolis called The Ark, in the middle of this vast ocean world. The game asks you at the very start if you want to save the Ark or escape the Ark? This choice will put you in the shoes of either the security forces of the Ark, where you must fight to keep the peace, or the resistance who want to break the stronghold the government have over the people in The Ark.
Both factions have their very own campaigns which let you see both sides of the fight. These campaigns are just a taster of things to come before you take the game online. But as it stands the campaigns are a great training tool to get you into the way the game plays and also lets you level up so you can unlock some of the abilities for your character, which I’ll come back to later. The campaigns for both sides are nine levels long with two “what if” missions which play out the games storyline if events had turned out different in the main story.
First thing I will say is that the campaign missions double as the online maps, so the more time you take to learn the levels the better you’ll know them for playing online. There is a great story behind Brink though on the surface you may not see it, as to get the most out of it you’ll have to listen to audio files and read background information you unlock as you level up and play through the game.
The first thing that hits you when you look at Brink is the art style of the game and the Mirrors Edge clean crisp look that the world has. On top of this, the general sound and music in the game is outstanding and helps make Brink one of the nicest looking games this year so far.
Brink’s gameplay is one of it’s biggest selling points. For a start the game has a control system called S.M.A.R.T (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) that lets you navigate complex environments by just looking at where you want to go and pressing one button. This adds a great depth to the game as there is often more than one route to your target and some routes you can only get to by being a certain character class.
The game works on a class system based around 4 different units; Soldier, Medic, Engineer and Operative. Each have thee strengths and weaknesses and when all four work together the team is almost unstoppable. The Solder resupplies and uses explosives to destroy targets. The Engineer can buff his teammates weapons making them stronger and he can also build stationary turrets to help hold down spots on the battlefield or to give support in a fire fight. Then there is the Medic who does what it says on the tin, he heals the fallen and re-heals the hurt. The last class is the Operative who can disguises himself as the enemy, as well as sabotage enemy turrets.
Another stand out feature of the game is the character editor which lets you design your character from the ground up, from the hair to the clothes they wear. This is also very important to how you will play the game, as there are 3 different build types; slim, medium and heavy. Each one handles differently – the slim is fast and can jump higher, the medium is the all-rounder of the group and the heavy is slow but has the most heath out of all the body types, and is pretty much a tank.
After you choose your build you need to choose your threads. Both sides have very different styles and you can use one character in both factions. The only downside to this is that if you add a scare or tattoos to one, they are also added to the other model which is a bit of a pain on the whole. But there is a wide range of uniforms, hair styles and head gear to unlock as you play through the game and level up.
The last thing that you can edit in the game is your gun and Brink has a huge array of weapons to pick from, like assault rifles, pistols, SMG and even grenade launchers, so there’s a firearm there for every style and player. Add to that a thousand bolt-ons to each weapon, from red dot scopes to barrel drum clips and grips, and you’ll soon be in gun nut heaven.
On the multiplayer side of things, this is where Brink really comes to life as if you play the game while connected to live you can set up the campaign so that you can be joined by other players in a drop in drop out style play, in that as host there is no slow down or lag. This adds a great depth to the game as you don’t really know who you’re fighting against, A.I or real players. On top of this you can play co-op or versus in campaign. The only downside to this is a lack of maps because the online side of things uses the campaign maps and with there being only nine levels, that means there are only nine maps. But there is already a DLC pack in the pipeline, so there are more maps on the way, plus Splash Damage have said that the first DLC pack will be free to all Brink players, which is a huge bonus.
Brink tries to take a fresh look at the way we play FPSs and on the whole it does an outstanding job at bringing a fresh new way to play an old genre. The few issues the game has will hopefully be ironed out with future updates and DLC packs.
For the Ark!