PS3 Review – Brink

May 17, 2011Written by Joseph Peterson

Games in the first person shooter genre have been aplenty for the past few years, so it takes a special shooter to differentiate itself from the pack. When Bethesda Softworks announced Brink back in 2009, the teaser had gamers attempting to guess what genre this game would even fall into once it was released. We later came to find out that gamers would be treated to a class-based shooter, with a heavy emphasis on online team-based gameplay. The question is, does this shooter do well enough to not only create its own identity, but provide an entertaining experience?

Imagine a future where forty years were spent building a giant structure known as The Ark. This structure was envisioned to become a perfect city, but over time became a warzone between both the Security and the Resistance. The seas eventually rose, leaving only The Ark floating on top of everything. No one had seen a ship in over twenty years, and the area was plagued with disease and large slums. Brother Chen, whom is the leader of the Resistance, is focused on attempting to get the Resistance faction off of The Ark to see if there is life outside of The Ark. The problem with that being is that Captain Mokoena, the leader of the Security, and his team is trying to save The Ark, which involves keeping everyone on The Ark, including the Resistance.

The storyline will be fully revealed as you make your way through either side of the campaign, meaning you can choose to be either a member of the Security or the Resistance. One character can act as both sides to go through the campaign, or you can create another character; the decision is essentially up to you. Through both sides of the campaign there are eight total different missions, each having a different map from one another. These missions can be played online with full co-op, or a versus type where you are going against others online. Both offer a different feel, and have different approaches, therefore giving you a different challenge. Each campaign also offers two different “what if” missions within those original eight. These scenarios are just as the missions are called, “what if” something had happened within the story, and upon completion it shows the outcome. Different objectives are required to successfully complete each mission. This allows things to be fresh and not too repetitive in an already repetitive genre. Throw in the secondary optional objectives and you can constantly challenge yourself to try to get everything done for that mission.

Besides the few cutscenes that you will see at the beginning of the “missions”, the story doesn’t feel fully fleshed out. The premise behind the game is great, but it feels as if it doesn’t reach it’s full potential by the end of it all. This will end up leaving you wanting much more.

Along with the storyline there is the Freeplay mode. In this mode players can set up many variations on one of the eight maps within the game. This does not require you to go through the storyline, and allows for much more control within the maps themselves.

The last gameplay mode is the Challenges mode. Like many other games out there, you are presented with a set of guidelines that you must follow. Upon completing that specific criteria, you will then be graded on that. This actually is a lot of fun, and provides quite a bit of a challenge, even to those quite skilled at the game. The higher the rating, the better unlockable that you will achieve at the end of the challenge.

Through all of these elements you will always be accumulating experience points. This XP not only raises your rank/level, but it also unlocks various things upon reaching certain levels. This can be clothing, perks, abilities, weapons, etc. If you have played any other first person shooter out there, the leveling system is really no different here.

One of the biggest issues with Brink is that there are only eight maps overall, and while they can be entertaining at first, their design doesn’t offer much long-standing value. Granted you can play from differing sides, but the maps remain the same. While the maps are quite repetitive, they do differ well from one another, and are balanced well. However, in the end, the maps simply don’t last long at all.

The game requires you to constantly be on the move, considering the slogan of the game is “Move more than you shoot”. Taking down enemies is not always the only way to win, in fact sometimes it isn’t even necessary. Bringing up the objective wheel will reveal all available things that you can do at that given time. For example if you are a medic, you can choose the objective of reviving your allies rather than attempting to complete the main objective for the mission. By keeping your allies alive, you are helping them take out enemies quickly without having to respawn. It is up to you how you want to approach the mission. Tie in a great movement system to traverse across the maps, and you have some fun gameplay. You will be running, jumping, and vaulting your way to completing your mission objectives.

If you are planning on going through this game against the A.I. rather than online, you probably won’t bother. The A.I. is absolutely terrible at times. There are instances when you are right next to a computer controlled enemy and they won’t even notice you if you are right in front of them. You will even find them walking into things and continue trying to go on that particular path. The same goes for if you are using computer controlled allies. They will constantly get in your way, even when trying to complete a specific objective. It is bad when the computer controlled medic only comes to your aid once you have run out of health.

As mentioned earlier, this is a class based first person shooter. It is essential that you choose the right class for the scenario that you are up against. There are a total of four different classes, these include soldier, medic, engineer, and operative. Each of these have their own set of abilities and unlockables that will be attained or available as you level up. Totalling out at fifty two abilities spread across the available classes. Each class has their own advantage, and it is well balanced to allow for great gameplay that doesn’t show one particular class to be overpowered. These abilities are unlocked with level credits, which are earned by simply leveling up.

The classes aren’t the only thing that are well balanced in the game, there is a large selection of weapons to arm your character with, thirty eight total to be exact. As with most shooters, the game features a primary and secondary weapon setup. Depending on your play style, equip your character with your preferred arsenal, ranging from an SMG to a Minigun, the choice is yours.

Other than the impressive selection of both weapons and abilities to choose from, players will be spending a lot of time customizing their character. When first creating your character your initial thoughts will be, seriously this is it? But upon leveling up you will unlock a huge selection of customization items to make your character feel personal to you. Though the game doesn’t feature the ability to change the facial aspects of your player, which is a negative, it redeems itself somewhat with the customization options. You will find yourself going to the menu immediately when you unlock something to see what it is, and if it fits into how you want your character to look.

Graphically the game takes a different approach. It doesn’t go for the super realistic look that you see in a lot of other shooters. When first looking at Brink it will look like a less cartoonish version of Team Fortress 2, and that is not a bad thing. The game has impressive graphics, that have their own specific style and feel to them. This separates itself from the pack of super realistic shooting games out there.

To say that Brink is a bad game wouldn’t be accurate, and instead it’s a good game that falls short on delivering its full potential. Had it come with more maps, and a little bit more emphasis on the story to make gamers want to learn more about The Ark, it would have been a great class shooter. Straight out of the box it is just a decent one with bad A.I. It is worth to mention that Splash Damage will be releasing free downloadable content on the PlayStation Network, so mileage may vary. It has been revealed that the DLC will not only fix some lagging issues many users have been experiencing, but also include some new maps, along with some yet to be revealed content. Each of these items can go a long way toward making Brink a more recommendable game, but as it stands, this is a game that disappoints more than it entertains.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

+ Good shooter with great balanced classes and weapons.

+ Clear visual style.

– Only eight maps, and a sincere lack of emphasis on story.

6 out of 10