Brink Y8 Games Review
That’s the first decision to be made upon booting up Splash Damage’s most recent creation, Brink – a first-person shooter that’s been shouting about how it’s to offer something new and refreshing amongst what most of us see as a very crowded genre.
Set in a world where rising sea levels have caused a lot of the land to be lost beneath water, The Ark is said to be all that remains habitable – a huge structure, home to what could be all the humans that are left. However, some are becoming frustrated with the situation, beginning to feel enslaved and imprisoned by those in charge. There are some that believe there’s much more out there, and that being lied to about having nowhere to turn is exactly what’s causing the rough conditions for the lower-class citizens. They form ‘The Resistance’ and conspire to escape The Ark; this is what that initial decision is all about. Will you join The Resistance, or side with ‘Security’?
Wanna mess with my dude? You sure?
Whichever is chosen a character needs to be created, this is where Brink’s much talked about customisation comes into play. There’s a huge choice on offer when building a character (although oddly no females), with over 100 quadrillion possibilities as we previously reported – the initial options being complemented with unlocks as a character’s level and rank increases. I love the art direction here also, with exaggerated features and a cyberpunk/steampunk choice of clothing and accessories, with some rather awesome tattoo options thrown in for good measure. With the customisation extending to weapon attachments, classes, abilities and body types, everybody can make a character that looks and plays just how they want them to. There’s something undoubtedly cool about seeing your creation appear along that of friends amongst cut-scenes.
Choose your abilities wisely.
So, there’s a huge check mark beside the character creation and customisation box, but what about this revolutionary shooter gameplay we’ve heard so much about? For me, that’s certainly there too. We’re given some fast-paced, first-person action that stems from what Splash Damage have done so well in the past. Although the big difference here is the focus on playing as a team and completing a series of objectives, at which point I want to address a few of the negative things I’ve seen flying around on forums here and there – and I think these come simply from people not knowing what they were buying into when pre-ordering their copy of Brink I’ve heard from people who were expecting a single player mode with a heavy narrative, or a co-operative mode similar to something like Borderlands. None of which are what Brink is, or what Splash Damage themselves intended it to be.
Playing co-operatively puts players into a team of up to eight that must work together and complete objectives, with just a short cut-scene at the start, end and sometimes between objectives to help unravel the story of The Ark and just how the fight between The Resistance and Security came about. Versus modes see the same scenarios being played out with both sides played by humans. Should you opt to play solo the same thing applies with team mates being replaced with their AI counterparts, and it’s soon realised that this Y8</a> game was designed to be played online with other human players – this is when Brink really begins to shine. If you’re looking for a run-and-gun shooter where kill/death ratios are the focal point, look elsewhere – not only will you find Brink difficult to enjoy, but you’ll likely be ruining the y8 game for others too. Brink is all about coming together and making sacrifices for the greater good of your chosen side. Whether that means playing a class you’re uncomfortable with in order to help complete a certain task, or throwing yourself in front of enemy fire while another player plants an explosive charge on a target. There’ll be a far greater XP reward for succeeding as a team than camping out in a window with a sniper rifle and killing twenty enemies for each time you die. As PC gamers, I feel we’re much more likely to understand this with many having played y8 games such as Team Fortress 2, but with Brink a series of different objectives arises in each map. For example, the team may have to plant and defend a charge at a key location on the map, then continue to escort a non-player character to safety in order to complete the whole mission.
Sprint + Crouch = Awesome sliding action!
Then there’s the new SMART movement system, which affords players a parkour-like ability to climb objects, leap across gaps, run along narrow ledges or railings and slide beneath enemy gunfire in a rather spectacular fashion. An aspect of the y8 game that I feel is being underutilised in the early days of Brink. It opens up options that we’re unused to in a genre filled with modern military shooters. As the player-base becomes more familiar with these abilities, I’m certain we’ll see people pulling off miraculous things which at the moment they’re not doing, or perhaps don’t even realise they could attempt.
All of the above combines to deliver just what I feel Brink was marketed as: a new take on the multiplayer shooter, possibly so much so that it’s put a few people outside of their FPS comfort zone. For those reasons, it’s a y8 game that will become even more fun to play as it matures. However, there is one downside to the game that I feel must be mentioned – a performance issue that many users of AMD/ATi Radeon systems have experienced. At first, I had such a low framerate in the game that it was left pretty much unplayable on my system despite far exceeding the requirements. While a promptly delivered patch has improved this vastly and I can now play comfortably, I can’t help but feel a little miffed that playing on a friend’s less powerful Nvidia-based rig was a much smoother experience. That said, both Splash Damage and AMD have been quick to address the issue with an update and driver hotfix respectively. I’m also confident that we’ll see it fixed even more in the near future and everyone will be getting the game’s first DLC for free as a sort of apology. Although I’m now starting to wonder if Nvidia is really ‘the way it’s meant to be played’.
When it’s playing nice with your system, though, Brink is an amazing multiplayer experience that I’ll certainly be putting many more hours into long after this review is written and posted. There’s so much depth to Brink in terms of gameplay and character customisation that even after playing as much as I have, I still feel there’s a whole lot more to discover and learn – and that’s the key to a multiplayer game that can stand the test of time – along with PC features like dedicated servers and a developer console that shows Splash Damage haven’t forgotten us in favour of the console players.
As someone that’s admittedly felt as though the first-person shooter scene has stagnated a little (read: a lot) over the last few years, Brink is an absolute breath of fresh air. It may take a little longer to get your head around the fact it must be played slightly differently to see it at its best, but that’s exactly what I wanted. People are so keen to shout “copycat” when a new y8 game releases with nothing but new maps to differentiate itself from its predecessors, that I’m rather disappointed by the way some seem to have dismissed Brink so soon. But don’t let the ‘haters’ put you off – given a good chance, Brink is amazing – if you can’t see that then I can do nothing but feel sorry for you, because you’re missing out on something special.
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