Brink Preview

I recently got a chance to get some hands on time with Brink , a new first person shooter developed by Splash Damage and published by Bethesda Softworks. The game is set to release on May 17, 2011 in North America, and May 20, 2011 in Europe.

Brink’s story is set in the future on a floating city known as the Ark. As the world is thrown into chaos, the Ark is the only safe haven for humanity. But tensions between the founders and their descendants and the thousands of refugees that flocked to the city,leads to a civil war on the Ark. Players will be able to choose between either the Security or the Resistance at any point during the game, allowing them to see the war from both sides.

The game features single player, co-op, and multiplayer, blending all three into one seamless experience. No mater what game mode you play on, your character progresses, which allows you to have full control of your playing style no matter if you play against A.I. or other players online. Customization is a big deal in this game, with thousands of combinations in dressing your character, as well as different gun combinations. Players will have the ability to dress both a Security and Resistance player but the character model stays the same, it is only the outfits that players will be able to change. Players can change the size of their character between large, medium, and small. The different sizes allow which guns the character can carry, for example the small characters can only carry a few guns that are light in size, while the large characters can carry all types, but will move slower because of the extra weight they are carrying. I had fun dressing my character even with the small amount of time I had; there is plenty of clothing I had to choose from, like masks that give your character a mysterious look, to a regular tank top , giving my character an agile look. There are also tattoos to place on your character, but just as a warning, once you put a tattoo on, it’s permanent.

The matches are entirely objective based, with one team attacking, and another team tasked with holding off the attackers for as long as they can (matches usually last between five and ten minutes). Each match is presented with a cut scene that tells the story of the Civil War on the Ark. Objectives range anywhere from hacking into a terminal, to guiding a V.I.P to safety.The missions encompass other multiplayer types of matches, like capture the flag or sabotage, but the developers do an interesting job of masking each type of mission in story related scenarios. All the missions are intertwined together, to make one lasting battle, with multiple objectives happening during the match. Each objective requires a different class to complete it. Hacking a terminal requires an Operative, while escorting the V.I.P in one mission I did, incorporates all classes to protect the V.I.P, but requires a Medic to give him health when his health is running low. Players can switch classes to fill out the different roles required for each class. And don’t worry, you just change the role of your characters, not your gun load out, or appearance. The only thing I am worried about with this, is if everyone on the team clamors to be the same class so they can fight to see who gets to do the objective first. It only really requires a few players to fill out the certain roles, while other players must stick to different roles to help out the team.

Gameplay is the same no matter what game mode you play in, which is the focus the developers were going for. “Single player shooters teach a lot of bad habits that gets you killed in multiplayer,” said Richard Ham, Creative Director at Splash Damage. The A.I. is aggressive, pushing you to think tactically, while being quick at the trigger and scrambling to complete objectives.This will setup players for multiplayer matches, which Splash Damage focuses on, but don’t worry, they did not skimp out on the other game modes in favor of multiplayer. It is all one seamless experience. Parkour is a big part of the game play. Players will be able to jump over walls, climb up walls, jump around the environment, and slide across the ground. Sliding turned out to be my favorite thing. I found myself in one situation sliding into cover, or behind an objective, limiting my enemy’s line of sight, and shooting while sliding is very fun, especially when sliding right into an enemy, blowing them away in epic fashion. I did not get a chance to try Brink’s SMART button, which helps in directing you to your objective, and providing routes that offer a lot of parkour movements, but it is not necessary to play through the game. “If you get your timing right, you will be faster than everyone else relying on the SMART button,” said Ham.

Brink has two other game modes that I did not get a chance to play at the hands on demo. They are Free Play and Challenges. Free play allows you to set up your own match. “This is for players who “You know what, I don’t care about cut scenes; I don’t care about story; I just want to play a multiplayer match; I want to have control of the way I want it”,” said Ham. Challenges act as the tutorials in Brink, but is not forced on to the players. “Tutorials for players are like dirty words. So we don’t make you do our tutorials,” said Ham. Weapons and gun attachments are unlocked by doing the challenges, however. There are different difficulties for the challenges, which will serve to improve the player’s abilities. The challenges can also be done in co-op as well.

Overall, Brink will serve well in the first person shooter genre with its focus on objective heavy matches while adding parkour elements that will be sure to bring on some epic moments, but we will have to wait to see how Brink does against other first person shooter juggernauts like Call of Duty. The game is certainly shaping up to be a great experience.


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