An immensely fun and fast-paced action FPS that’s great to play with friends, even if it isn’t quite as well-rounded when played solo.
Don’t mistake Brink for just another shooter; it’s aiming to be the first game to truly bridge the gap between single and multiplayer gameplay. It’s a shot at it too, being created by Splash Damage, the development team behind the legendary Wolfenstein Enemy Territory Mod.
Brink is a near-future FPS set on the Ark, a floating city being fought over by two warring factions. Originally designed as a utopian paradise, the Ark fell victim to its own success; it’s now overpopulated and teetering on the brink of collapse. The totalitarian Security forces try to maintain order while the guerrilla Resistance faction attempt to escape back to the mainland.
Players pick a side at the beginning of the game, creating an avatar using the extensive character creation tools. A huge selection of unlockable outfits, hairstyles and facial customisation options let you create a unique soldier that will stand out from your teammates, as well as stick in the minds of your enemies. Most of these choices are purely cosmetic, but each of the three body types will have a significant effect on the way you play.
Heavier characters can take more damage and user larger weapons, at the expense of reduced mobility. Choosing a lighter character will limit your choice of gun, but lets you move much faster and make full use of the parkour-style S.M.A.R.T. system. By holding down a single button as you approach a low wall or obstacle, you can vault over it seamlessly without slowing down. This lets you move between choke points and hide behind cover, which will be critical to survival as it takes far fewer shots to put a light character down.
the S.M.A.R.T. system adds new depth to level exploration
Using their newly created characters, players join seven squad mates in a battle for control of each level, either attacking or defending a series of objectives. Teammates must work together to progress, as each objective requires abilities unique to one of the four available character classes. Loners can still help their team by completing secondary objectives, such as opening alternative routes through each map, activating command posts or building sentry guns. Jumping straight into the campaign can be a little overwhelming, as with four character classes, multiple objectives and numerous perks and abilities to unlock, there’s a lot to learn. Thankfully there are several detailed tutorial videos on hand to explain the main game mechanics.
Teamwork is critical to a successful mission
The computer AI controls your squad mates as well as the enemy team when playing the offline campaign. At times it feels like you’re playing against human opponents rather than the computer, as the difficulty curve automatically adjusts to always provide a challenge. When you’re ready to head online, things couldn’t be easier; Brink is completely integrated into Valve’s Steam service, so finding your friends and joining games takes just one or two clicks. Unlike many other new FPS games, online matches should be lag-free thanks to support for dedicated servers. Beyond the main campaign, players can also test their abilities in one of four mission modes, where times are tracked on a global leader board.