Brink Teeters At The Edge Of Critical Failure

In Splash Damage's Brink, rival factions do battle over the fate of a post-apocalyptic floating city called The Ark. Judging by the critical reaction of some video game critics, The Ark may have already sunk.

Brink's intriguing combination of class-based team shooting a free-running movement have kept it high on gamers' radar throughout its lengthy development cycle. It's distinctive visual style, unique setting, and countless character customisation options only fuelled the fires of anticipation.

Now the game is live in North America, and as gamers run rampant over The Ark for the first time, the assembled game critics have already been there, done that, and painted an often disparaging picture of the future of this floating utopia.

1UP Brink is unfinished. And that doesn't mean it's full of technical problems. Well, it's got those too. But mostly, it's just an unpolished, poorly executed mess of ideas. Wait, let me temper that. There are times when Brink looks like it's going to break out of its shell. There are times where the fairly interesting and cool (honestly!) ideas seem to be just about to bubble up and make the game worth playing. And then, suddenly and without warning, they're pushed back into the murky depths under the boot of poor design choices and lack of polish. It's exceedingly disappointing. Of course, for a game to be truly disappointing, it has to have potential. And Brink has more potential than it knows what to do with. (Note: Metacritic converts 1UP's D letter grade to a score of 25)

Joystiq Here's one of the first major problems with Brink's objective-based structure: Each level that a player earns lets them unlock a new ability. Though there are a few permanent boosts the player can spend their unlocks on, most of these abilities are class-specific, meaning eventually, you're going to find a class you like and spend most of your points on it. Naturally, you'll have a predilection to play as that class - but should you refuse to switch your class to suit the objective, you're going to feel like your services aren't really required three-quarters of the time.

IGN Brink's one shining aspect is SMART (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain). Using SMART, holding a single button lets you navigate up walls, over obstacles, and through the game world. Depending on your body size, you can do more or less with movement, but overall this finesse is fantastic. Nothing in Brink feels quite as good as sliding under gunfire into someone, taking them out with a shotgun. However, it's easy to forget which size your character is in first-person perspective, as movement abilities don't change dramatically. While the Large size allows miniguns and shotguns, they still move only slightly slower than the Medium size. Only Small characters can really burst through levels, leaping off of walls and finding clever passageways.

GamePro My central beef here is that anemic feel to the action. I love complexity in games like this, and strategising how to utilise the varying skills of the different player classes to achieve your goals. But when the core action doesn't feel good, it kind of weakens the entire venture. When I shoot an enemy, especially in the head, I want them dead. Not laying on the ground waiting for a medic to revive them, dead. Especially when I pop someone in the head. If there is a cardinal rule of shooters, it should be that no one survives headshots. No one.

Destructoid While some of the levels have a more even chance of success for either side, I have a feeling there are certain stages that players are going to eventually refuse to play, rage-quitting should they find themselves on the wrong side. Had Brink employed something similar to Killzone 3 - where objectives constantly shift and are evenly split between teams - it might have worked. Instead, the game has a totally bizarre flow where even if a team is dominating an enemy and wins two objectives, they can still lose a hard-fought match because they failed the third imbalanced requirement.

Guardian Brink deserves to be ranked among the finest co-op games available. As a multiplayer experience, it is exquisite. But as mentioned earlier, it falters if played solo. While all the modes can be played in singleplayer, the bots that act as stand-ins for other players are a poor replacement. It certainly isn't the case that gamers who buy Brink will feel ripped off if they don't have access to their console's (or PC's) online network. But until you've fought both with and against living opponents in Brink, you have yet to sample the best of what it has to offer.

That's an awfully sharp rise to slightly above average. Brink is now available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.


Comments

    Should have totally been pessimistic about this release and lived up to my namesake.

    *sigh*

      This article has taken the worst parts out of all of the reviews that I have read and put them together for a real pasting of the game. There are a lot of positive reviews out that don't take such an unkind look at the game.

      While some of the negative comments have made me realise that my optimism for this game may have been misplaced, the positive comments I've read have confirmed to me that it is still a worth while purchase.

      Just wish PSN was up to experience multi human player mode (sigh).

        There is a solution to your problem...

        /beckons seductively down a dark alleyway to a doorway emmitting a pale green light and a sign requesting you have your credit card ready.

          you had me at dark alleyway....please be gentle.

        I have to wonder how many industry stooges post favorable comments on these boards just to throw everyone off the truth. I sure saw a lot of that with New Vegas. Is it so surprising that Bethesda lived down to it's dismal reputation yet again?

        I swore off Bethesda and Obsidian after the New Vegas debacle and will never buy another of their games at release ever again. It's nice to know that that decision is being vindicated.

        WTF, you may be right, but if a game is only good as a multiplayer platform, then the publisher has no business tryint to defraud gamers with empty promises of a decent solo campaign. For me, the game IS the solo campaign. I have no use whatever for multi player.

    Unsurprising, it's the same guys who made Quake Wars..

    That's disappointing, it looked like this might have been my new multiplayer shooter (CoD: Bug Ops is now a thing of the past). I should have known better than to get my hopes up.

    Always on the brink of disaster....

    B-OOM.

    I was never interested and haven't played it but I know my first impression was this wanted to be TF2 with more customisation. The multiplayer shooter market is already saturated with titles from CoD, Halo, TF2 etc all catering for different multiplayer tastes. It was always going to be hard for one more to stand out.

    Eh they made stupid promises, said it would have a single player campaign that rivals any AAA shooter.

    instead it's a rather bad bot based system.

    Bollocks...
    Oh well, I've preordered, so I'll take it for a spin.

    cvonsidering that the reviews from 1up, joystick and ign are always terrible reguardless on which game is being reviewed, unless its a big named tripple A title that never innovative ( COD, HALO etc)

    The problem we should be looking at is people who still think those sites actually give honest reviews. Hell if you actually read the full reviews from those sites and G4's review you can clearly tell they were wanted a COD Clone because all they care for are their K/D ratio

    Meh, I think this is one game that I'll have to judge for myself. I didn't get caught up in the hype for this game, so I don't have any expectations

    The reviewer for Joystig only played 2 hours, none of those online (according to his gamertag, although i could be wrong).

    Such a horrible game. Should of spent another 2 months tweaking it and fixing all the glitches/bugs.

    Huge mess of a game.

    It has been fairly consistently rated at four stars and above elsewhere. Reading their reviews compared to Joystiq, IGN, 1up and the like reveal a suspicious correlation between low scoring and complaints about lack of automatic KDR tracking, thinking that the only strategy is to charge headlong and that objectives cause too much of a bottleneck as opposed to, say, mindless deathmatching.

    Like I said on the other article, Brink is a game that is meant to be played with other people - 15 other people, as a matter of fact. These sites are simply practising poor journalism if they think they're providing a fair review when playing the game single player - quite frankly, it's bullshit and disappointing. Totilo's review erred on this side of passable and he made reference to the way the game's meant to be played, but he still didn't play it that way. Who gives a fuck about bots when the game is marketed as a multi-player class-based shooter?

    I don't understand if reviewers are still basing this off the single player or multi player experience. What if I didn't give a rats ass about single player, then how would you rate the multi alone? I guarantee you its what most people will be interested in playing this game for.

      You may be right, but if a game is only good as a multiplayer platform, then the publisher has no business trying to defraud gamers with empty promises of a decent solo campaign. For me, the game IS the solo campaign. I have no use whatever for multi player.

      Anyway, any game that is released virtually simultaneously with a patch tells me that I am not dealing with a serious vid game studio and Bethesda is the queen of broken, buggy games. (Obisdian is the king) I'm just not going to take the chance where those companies are concerned.

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