Brink came out today, or to be more specific it was 9pm last night PST, and I’ve been playing quite a bit. Brink is a shooter game that is best explained as a game somewhere between TF2, Enemy Territory, a little Global Agenda, some Counter Strike… all jumbled up. It’s a stylized shooter that does not take itself seriously (TF2) while trying to pretend it does (TF2) with some zany elements thrown in to entertain you while you play. If you want a real description of the game you can check out other sites because that’s the best I got. Now on to some first impressions.
How does she run / technical difficulties
Brink runs okay. I feel like it’s not entirely optimized in that it doesn’t feel like TF2 or MW2’s smoothness but it’s good. There are odd little bugs everywhere like on one level in particular the sound suddenly cuts out for everyone until the level is over. At the menu screen there are performance issues. I’ve personally run into a major one with regard to how the game handles my internet; when I browse for servers my connection lags out and this morning for several hours whenever I tried to join a server my entire internet would go out. I tried for about two hours to join a server and eventually my internet connection died entirely and I had to call the company. When I did, they said the area was having trouble. I think Brink broke the internet because it would go out exactly when I tried joining — every time. The problem has mostly resolved itself.
Some polish is lacking.. The server browser is clunky. Sometimes the game feels a little clunky. The game’s integration into steam has acted up a bit. This stuff can be patched like it was in Bad Company 2 and other games. AI generally sucks (if you play the challenges or against bots you’ll notice it).
The mode I’ve tried a lot is the ‘Objective’ multiplayer mode where you have to complete stages like hack the terminal, then escort a guy, then blow something up, etc. It’s a decent mode and there are side objectives for the class you play such as building a machine gun or repairing an elevator to give you a shortcut when escorting. The gameplay feels really quick. Bullets are flying everywhere, grenades are going off, and it’s all really hectic like some maps/modes in TF2. It’s not very tactical and sometimes the best recipe for success is just to spray bullets and throw grenades at anything moving.
I have no complaints about the maps except perhaps that they feel a little similar to each other and don’t really stand out. I’m not at that stage yet where I can say I have a favorite since to me it feels like they’re all the same. There are a lot of choke points, which is good or bad depending on what side of the objective you’re on.
The customization of characters is excellent — you get a lot of stuff like hats, jackets, pants, masks, etc., to choose from. Gun customization is also above average with the ability to choose what type of clip or muzzle to put on your gun or if you’re going to use a scope. There are alos a lot more guns than most games. Unlike a lot of the complaints, the guns are not without a kick. Some of them are downright inaccurate. Some are super accurate but do little damage. I have no complaints about the guns.
The classes themselves are cool. The medic system reminds me of Enemy Territory. Throwing needles to people so they can revive themselves is a quick on-the-go way to play a medic. I like the engineer handing out armor or damage upgrades and placing mines/turrets is great, although the first turret sucks. There is a good feel of team work among the classes and some matches I feel like things really gel when people take their role to heart and don’t all try to spray and pray their way to victory.
The core of what makes Brink something worthy of any attention is the “SMART” system. It’s like Mirror’s Edge and feels great at times but isn’t without a lack of polish. Sometimes you jump over pieces of geometry and flop around or get yourself killed being stuck moving slowly as you pull yourself up over a ledge. It’s flashy, fun, and really the only truly new thing that Splash Damage brings to the table with this title.
Summary (what you’ll probably skip to anyway)
If you’re looking for Call of Duty, pass this one up. If you’re looking for TF2, pass this one up. I can honestly say that if you’re looking for a long-term shooter, this isn’t the one. Brink is, by design, a game that I can see lasting a summer as it comes right out of the box. However, given the mod tools, and good control given to server operators, there is huge potential for really good maps/modes and lots of user generated content to raise the quality of the game.
Right now I recommend that you wait to buy the game if you’re on the fence. See what happens this first week with any patches to fix some of the technical issues. See how the gameplay irons itself out or if the game makes any imprint on the community. Brink doesn’t deserve the failing grades froeview sites, but it’s far from praiseworthy. It’s fun and definitely worth the $37 I paid for it (25% sale from D2D) but I would definitely hesitate to run out and pay $60 for a console version. It’s between a B- and a B right now, but easily in the B+ or A- range with some work.
Update – My problem is back. I join a server, press any key to continue, then I get ‘Waiting for host’ and my internet dies and everyone else in my house can’t use the internet until I time out of the server. Then the connection is back to normal. Anyone know what could be causing this? Is the game overloading my router or something? I’d keep trying it but I might kill all of Southern California’s internet again.