Community Review: Brink

It's been a while since I've seen a game as divisive as Brink. The collective review hivemind usually tends to cluster around the 7-8 mark when it comes to dishing out scores, yet Brink's seemed to be all over the shop.

But it wasn't just the review scores, it was public opinion - I've heard people raving about Brink, yet I've also heard people complaining endlessly about the netcode, the texture work, the fact that the game was released in such a general sloppy state.

I haven't had the chance to play it yet - and I wonder if I'll bother considering the game's mixed reaction - but I've also sensed there's a bit of a discrepancy between the PC version, which people are praising, and the console version, which folks are tending to bitch about.

Am I wrong here? I'd love to hear what you guys think.

I'm sort of on the verge of giving it a bash. It's been a while since I've invested a decent amount of time in an online shooter. I let Battlefield Bad Company 2 pass me by, sort of drifted away from Halo: Reach and have never been a fan of Call of Duty and its various derivatives.

Is Brink the kind of game I could get into? How have you guys been liking it so far?


    Gotta say I'm dissapointed.
    Bought it when the price hiccup occured but when it finished installing, I learned my videocard isn't Open GL 3.1 compatible, or something.
    One more reason not to wait until Skyrim reccomended stats are released to upgrade...
    Any word on those, Mark?

      If anything it's a good reason to wait, Skyrim is still 6 Months away.

      the 200 you might spend on a nice upgrade now might only cost 150 by the time you get closer

        Good point, six months down the road I'll be able to get more bit for my buck.
        And with how long I've put off the upgrade already, I'll need all the bit I can get, possibly even a new mobo.
        This is actually the first game it has refused to play since I upgraded for ES4.

    I love it. FPS's have been so stale for me lately. Haven't bothered with any since TF2, since most of them just try to rip off CoD, which is rubbish anyway.
    Brink is a breath of fresh air. It's great to see some actual teamwork..

    I have invested about 20 hours into Brink so far and still love it. Some maps have terrible bottlenecks when you have 16 players in the server and there are still the usual teething problems (weapon imbalances and whatnot) but it's really fun and really rewarding when you pull off a close win in overtime.

      I think the bottle-necks are a possitive. Some can be seriously frustrating (One of the Resistance escort campaigns has a serious bottle-neck, which is an absolute nightmare), but once you push through them you feel like you've really accomplished something.

    Brink is a rough gem. It's gameplay is fun, you have to work together to accomplish anything. You can take on whatever role you want, but you can also do it HOW you want.

    Is your medic also a tank, who wades into battle to saves lives? Or is he the light body-type, hopping off a wall, sliding under fire to throw you a revive?

    Not to mention that medic of yours could look like a bomb disposal cop or a track-pants wearing night-mare hippy. So yeah, Brink is flawed with chuggy net code and some sound bugs, but they are easy to see past when you play it.

    (On the PC).

    Very disappointed. The controls are sticky and I can't get over the fact that I can't have different weapon loadouts.

      Oh but you can. At the command posts. Just change your weapons mid game.

        what what whaaat?? I had no idea... I am going back in tonight. Thanks bro!

          Well I've only played the pc version. But it's at the bottom of the wheel when you access the CP.

    I'm loving it, once you figure out the different classes, and the different ways to approach objectives, the game becomes quite fun. Could still do with a bit of polish, particularly the AI, but other then that, its a really enjoyable game.

    I've only played offline so far (PS3), but I'm really enjoying it. Looking forward to playing it online and seeing how that affects the way battles unfold. Although, I'm a monstrous FPS knüb, so I'm preparing myself for a whooping.
    The game's not without it's flaws, but I don't think it deserves the crap reviews it's been getting. What's most frustrating is:
    More negative reviews = Smaller player base
    Smaller player base = Less satisfying online experience
    Less satisfying online experience = More negative reviews

      I think the classes need some balancing.
      Soldiers need some attention from the devs. I'll only change to soldier if nobody's planting a charge, then I'll change back to something else as soon as that's done.
      Engineers are the teacher's pet. I'm not saying they should nerf them, but it just seems like the devs gave the engineer more attention than the others.
      I'm favouring the Operative, although I find there aren't enough operative-specific objectives over the course of a match.

        I think it's better to look at that with, "the maps need some balancing" it's not so much the classes are overpowered, but almost every objective is done by an engineer.

        Soldiers should arm *and* disarm HE charges and Operatives should hack *and* un-hack objectives. Plus medics need another kind of objective, they really are the worst off.

        I don't feel like the Engineer class itself though got more attention. Soldiers, Medics and Operatives have lots of interesting skills as well.

          Good points.

            I don't mind that the Soldier has fewer objectives, as he seems to be the best combatant in general from what I've played.

            With Kevlar, boosted Ammo, and grenades to spare, I find that protecting my engineers is often far more important than running off to blow up optional barricades and doors.

            Whenever I use the wheel, I tend to hover over "Escort" missions a lot.

    "I haven’t had the chance to play it yet – and I wonder if I’ll bother considering the game’s mixed reaction"

    For a game to be this divisive it has to have something special about it, I think you'd probably be a bit mad to not at least try it. It might be that the naysayers are simply playing it wrong, a few reviews I've skimmed complained it was different than call of duty and others were clearly written by people who didn't know how to cooperate with other people.

    After all, the only way to know for sure is to play it yourself and who gives a toss whether other people like something if you enjoy it? There's probably people out there who loved Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (though they may be in a padded cell awaiting a lobotomy)

    Shish...if you are going to do a community review at least play the damn game first.

    Articles aren't forum topics, don't treat them as such.

      You must be new here Todd.

      This is a 'community review'... you know, where the community reviews... things.

      Welcome to Kotaku!

        I lol'd.

        As for Brink, I picked up the PC version. The game crashed to desktop at the splash screen for me (before it even got into the game), until after 2 hours of searching the game seemed to update itself over Steam, and since then it's been fine.

        After I got over that unpromising start, I was pleasantly surprised with the character creation system. I really like the amount of character customisation. I dig the art style too, and the character/weapon models look really good up close.

        I didn't play it online yet, I just jumped into the single player campaign, so I'm not able to comment on the teamwork aspect, but the other aspects of gameplay feel good.

        The only real gameplay complaint I have so far is that I think being able to revive downed players is an out-dated mechanic, and doesn't suit such a close-quarters game. I can understand it in a huge, open Battlefield style game, but it just sticks out like a sore thumb in this game. When you have a small room with 8 injured players scattered all over it, all moving around in pain, and no dead bodies, then one medic sprints through and tosses syringes to all the downed players without even stopping, then high-tails it out of there while everyone revives themselves, you'll understand why I hate it. The medic should be able to toss out health packs (restore HP) or pain-killers (reduce damage), and that's it, IMO.

          What are the SMART controls like on PC?
          Also, I know what you mean about those cheeky medics. If the situation permits, I take the time to go around a whack all the incapacitated guys to ensure no mass revival (Can have it's drawbacks, due to the wave system, but when your trying to clear a bottle-neck it has to be done)

            I've heard the keyboard setup is wierd... RPS said you almost needed 3 hands to play the game.

              Keyboard set up is fine. I only have two hands and I can play.

              RPS are obviously a bit slow then. Ever heard of rebinding keys? Lean IMO is only useful in Tom Clancy games, so I rebound melee to Q and Use to E. I then bound objective wheel to F and crouch to CTRL, and kept nades as G.

              I have a G500 mouse, so I slaved selfbuff/revive (X) to the forward side button, Nade (G) to the rear side button, and Objective Wheel (F) to the middle side button.

              VERY playable like that, even without the extra mouse binds.

            I think the SMART controls are fine, it's really only sprint (tap shift while holding forward) and slide (tap C while sprinting). No need to hold either down, unless you want to. C can feel unnatural so it can probably be rebound to CTRL.

    So far, I've had a lot of fun with it. I only got it 2 days ago, and haven't tried online because of PSN, but it's been great.

    I'm in the same boat as other people - CoD and other 'mainstream' FPS's are dead to me, the same recycled, overhyped, crap re-released again and again. TF2 (PC) is the only thing that's kept me going in the meantime.

    I was wary of Brink due to mixed reviews, however I decided to lash out - how bad can it be? Really?
    I'll describe it simply - refreshing. It's not amazing or jaw dropping, but just different enough to be fun. The only problem I've come across so far is the AI can be utterly retarded at times, but then again, so can real life team mates.

    I say give it a go. Long as you're not a CoD/Halo fanboy, and you're at least partially open-minded, I think you'll have fun at the very least.

      Effluvium-Boy <- Add that s***. (I have micrscopic friends list)

      If it's as fun as offline as to online then I might pick it up from ozgameshop.
      My pile of shame just keeps increasing after all. >_>

    Initial impressions were bad, I actually considered returning it to EB within the same day.

    However after giving it a bit more play time I definately appreciate alot of the things they developers have done right. Small things which helps players work as a team instead of lone wolfing the whole game, such as points awarded per damage instead of per kill, the absence of a Kill to Death Ration on the score board and the lack of cheap one hit kill abilities/weapons.

    When it works, it works incredibly well, the classes all compliment each other well, even the operative who I presumed would be a cheap backstab class, is designed to help provide intel for their team and also sabotage the enemy teams defenses. And despite only being 8v8 it always feels like you are part of large battle, spawns happen in waves, so you are always confronted by large groups of enemies, not a constant flow of one or two guys running in trying to rambo their way to the objective. Even the design of the objectives are done in such a way that you constantly feel like you are helping your team, and you never feel like you are running around with nothing to do.

    When all this comes together, it is an experience unmatched by any other console FPS to date, in my opinion. Unfortunately it only comes together every while and then, due to a few glaring exclusions, such as matchmaking or being able to search for games manually, and latency issues, which stop Brink from being an amazingly unique, yet unpolished experience, and instead relegates it to being more of an interesting experiment, which has a lot of amazing ideas which will hopefully be replicated in the future.

    Not worth the $90 retail price in my opinion, however I will probaly import it at a later date.

    My copy still hasn't arrived. Downloaded the Quake Wars demo in the meantime, and was hooked. Can anyone tell me how these two games compare, besides one fewer class, smaller maps and no vehicles? Gracias.

      Pretty similar with the objectives and the like, but obviously ET:QW was on a larger scale, Brink is set to 8v8, but of course it's tuned for that amount too. But games like this is what Splash Damage does, so I dare say you'll get some value out of Brink. Oh, and like ET:QW, Brink will probably always sit in it's niche, "I never played it but had a friend who loved it" area.


    Thanks for the feedback everybody, just wondering if you could also note whether you're on PC or console because it seems to make a huge difference in the feedback of the game.

    I want to try it because I enjoy killing people - sorry, let me rephrase that, I like PVP when it's done correctly - but reviews have been mixed so I'm a bit hesitant to drop my hard earned moneys on this one.

      Everything I am saying is for PC.

      And wait for a special I think. It's easily worth $40 AUD, but if you're not sure or don't have a large budget, hold off on the week one purchase.

    Interesting, I was planning on getting this day one but empty pockets delayed me. Then wildly divergent reviews scared me like a rabbit.

    It sounds like one of those games that gets bad reviews from the reviewers who don't invest, those guys and girls who put X number of hours in and then write up their impressions. Brink sounds like it needs a good bit of love and attention before you start getting something back.

    Plus I'm hearing a lot here that it's different and unique which for me is an automatic plus. I'll order it tonight methinks.

    I'm lovin' it (sue me McDonalds) too! But I'll list my major cons first:
    -not enough maps
    -ally AI is dumb as dog****, in comparison to enemy AI, which can be brutal and unforgiving
    -choppy, completely unplayable lag; which occurs sometimes for no reason at all. Normally fixed if you make another player host (xbox360)
    -Not much to do once you level cap a character; cos all weapons unlocks transfer to new characters

    They're the cons, but the PROS list is probably twice as long. I really enjoy playing with friends and the versus mode can be challenging but great when you have a team that talks with each other.

      Yeah, the friendly AI made me shout at my TV on saturday - really really loudly. Some AI bot kept picking up one of those objects for delivery in campaign mode and kept running into enemy fire and dying. The enemy would return the object and before I could get back, the same bot would pick it up again and it was wash, rinse, repeat.

      I managed to get the bot to the target, but it just stood there and moonwalked while shooting at enemy players before giving up and dying. I had to camp where the object returned to and pick it up myself. Once I did that, I was able to easily complete the mission.

      AI fail for sure.

    On PC I'm having a great time with the light body jumping around the map and getting behind the bad guys.

    There's a really solid, if unpolished & clunky core game in Brink, but the multiplayer system is the worst I have ever seen in a console game. I gave it a solid go on and off all weekend and could hardly find any actual humans to play with in a game that wasn't literally unplayably laggy (I mean serious, teleporting glitchy lag).

    Only one of the 5 playlists in Freeplay mode called "Competition" resulted in me finding non-laggy games that had any people in them, and even then I usually to wait 5 mins in an empty server (there are no bots in Competition mode) for anyone to join, then it usually wasn't until the next map (each map is about 20 mins) for it fully fill up to 5v5.

    Sometimes I'd join a game with 1 person on my team, 2 on other, and have to wait 10 mins or so in the warmup deathmatch phase before another person joined and the actual objective game could begin.

    The "Standard" playlist only put me into unplayably laggy 8v8 bot/human games, and the other 3 playlists were a combination of empty servers, 5v5 servers full of bots with no more than 2 or 3 total humans for the entire 20min match, or an 8v8 server of bots where after 10 mins, no humans had joined. The entire weekend, I only had one decent game and that was a lag-free 5v5 humans match last night.

    Matchmaking might work great for Halo and CoD by putting equal skill players together so it's more balanced, as there's a huge and consistent playerbase, but for less popular games it is a terrible idea (see: XBL Arcade). The blind matchmaking in Brink just smacks of the developer thinking console gamers are too stupid to figure out a server browser (which the PC version gets), because that's what Brink desperately needs. Matchmaking is supposed to be "simpler" due to it's automatic nature, but the tradeoff is a game that will be alive in 3 months and fun.

    They've literally traded off the longterm life of the game and multiplayer with humans for simplicity, and ruined what could have been a fantastic game.

    Knowledgeable denizens of the Ark, heed my call!

    I'm interested in Brink and I can afford to buy it, but I'm not sure if I can afford the time to play it. Between World of Tanks, Borderlands, Monday Night Combat and Mass Effect 1, I don't have much spare gaming time - the current spare time is spent in Mass Effect 1.

    Should I buy it? Would it be worth playing say... <8 hours a week?

      Indeed it is. Brink is a great game for casual play.

      A lot of items are unlocked in the challenge modes which are short and vary in difficulty. It's a game that you can pick up and jump on for an hour of casual madness.

      I love it, I recommend it.

    I had high hopes for Brink, but I also knew it'd be a bit rough. When I played it, it was exactly what I was expecting and I love it. I'm not going to dismiss there are a number of technical issues, and the thought that they brought the release date forward instead of keeping it unchanged and spending more time fixing it is a little annoying.

    I have only played a small amount of time online due to crippling lag but from what I saw, attackers have a really rough time of it and no one fully uses SMART like they should.

    It's a new kind of game, with some really neat innovations like one button for grenades or a launcher (which I am all over), getting to really tricky spots with SMART, and different characters. Wanna be a medic that can race in and out of the fray to heal the guy fixing the bot? Wanna be the medic with a chaingun that cuts a path to the aforementioned guy?

    I just hope it doesn't do an AvP and get all the bugs and balances fixed when no one plays it.

    I had very high hopes for brink on 360 However the game is a joke! I can not find more than one or two other people in a game and it sometimes lags alot. I took my copy back because i just can not justify waiting a month or so to make the game work. For a game that was more of an online only type shooter it fails

    Ooh ooh!
    I've spent a lot of time arguing with friends and forum-goers over this topic, and in a nutshell, I think the game is great - with some definite flaws.

    I'm playing the PC version.

    Here's my short list of pros and cons.
    + Amazing multiplayer
    + Looks great, maps and characters alike.
    + There are so many ways to change how your character plays, it's never boring.
    + When you get the hang of SMART and when you can shoot during maneuvers, you're highly mobile and dangerous.
    + All the classes have a place in Brink - though some slight tweaks may need to be made.
    + The developers are supporting the PC version like mad. Updates!
    + Fun game style and great gameplay mechanics.
    + Co-Op mode means you can still have fun with friends without having to go into a PVP mode.
    + Amazing sound design.
    + Teamwork is heavily required, and the game mechanics re-enforce this greatly.

    - Awful AI (though, a PC patch helped this a little - it's still not much to wrte home about)
    - Single Player is just multiplayer with bots. And, because the bots are bad... the Single Player is... kinda bad.
    - Some guns feel useless. A bit more tweaking could really help (why use a Pistol when you can off-hand your SMG?)
    - Still some bugs, like sound cancelling in Multiplayer.
    - Some servers have lag bugs. I find most servers I play on are fine, but some, despite reporting a good ping, are unplayable.
    - Again, the AI needs work.

    Now, things where your mileage may vary:
    = The story isn't very revolutionary (hurr), and isn't told in a groundbreaking manner. That said, being a multiplayer game, I find the playing experience doesn't suffer. TF2 had no story - and no-one really cared.
    = There is a lot of learning required to play at a high level. Some players love it (I do), others hate it. The GUI, maps, SMART, guns, classes, game modes, and objectives all need to be taken in for a while until you fully understand how to play, where you are, and what you can jump over.

    My overall opinion:
    As Brink is a multiplayer game, I don't care about the bots at all. I just go into servers, and play with people who know what they're doing.
    If I do play Co-op, I don't mind the stupid bots so much because my friend can back me up - and we're generally in there for a laugh anyway.

    There are a couple of bugs on the PC version - but I find I rarely really care. Generally you can find a working server, and, if the sound shuts off... well... keep an eye on the radar.

    Balance issues seem rare, or insignificant. I find each of the classes is useful, and I haven't found any one tactic I couldn't beat.
    Sure, a heap of the guns aren't as amazing as I'd wish - but, they're just guns. Plus, most other multiplayer games have loads of useless guns anyway (UMP from CSS anyone?).

    So yeah, I hope you find my opinion useful and fair.
    I was on the fence for a few days, but the multiplayer has really won me over.

      The knife and the fact the revolver and sea eagle kill in 2 shots? Also the light body class can only use pistols as secondary.

      I enjoy the game, even with 17fps. Great redux of ET. It is a MP game only, I didn't even consider buying this game for the single player.

        Just had a few matches then and I tried out those pistols. Pretty cool.
        Haven't tried out much of the light class yet, currently trying to get a heavy soldier going.

        I'm a Belgo man myself. Although, I might reconsider the Sea Eagle...

    I have had a pretty good time with it so far. The AI is shite but when there are a few more PSN palyers out there it should improve dramatically in regards to team mates.

    It all seems pretty slick to me, for the most part, but it just doesn't cut it as a single plyer game. There seem to be plenty of little hidden routes and corridors in the maps to surprise the enemy and I just like the look of the game.

    I would say that so far I am 85% satisfied with the game.

    Bring is possibly the worst attempt at a heavily multiplayer focused game I've ever seen. It's glitchy, it's sluggish, the controls don't feel right, the gameplay doesn't feel right, the AI is pathetic, games with actual people lag too much to be playable (even with people that live around the corner). Terrible game.

    Oh, and does anyone else think the grenades are absolutely pointless? They're range is minimal and the explosions looks a damn party popper.

    The only decent thing about Bring was the customization to your character, besides that, pathetic.

      Bring? Apologies for the spelling/gramatical errors. Been a long day :\

    I've been playing it on the PC. So far I haven't played other than the singleplayer and challenge maps, but I still have to say I'm impressed.

    TLDR version: worth a look, I'm enjoying it so far and haven't even tried multiplayer yet.

    Audio - I've not experienced the bug that apparently causes sound to drop out on some maps (is that on pc or xbox?).

    The audio I have been experiencing has been great, including temporary deafness when things have gone boom too close to your head and radio alerts informing you that your team is lacking a needed class.

    At no point have I found the sound jarring or misplaced.

    Visual - Running on a 3 year old system with only 2 GB RAM and a mediocre Graphics card, I still find the game visually pleasing.

    I love the art style; the character customisation is a treat. I like how higher levels unlocks more appearance options.

    The environments seem well designed and lit, with a good use of different lighting options.

    Gameplay - Yes, I've had a few frustrating moments with the bots, like everyone else, but it's no worse that playing with random people from the interwebs.

    At least they don't run into walls and get stuck. I've been pleasantly surprised a few times. One of my favourite moments was waiting to be revived only to have the medic bot get mown down 5 paces away - he gasped out "sorry, didn't make it..." and I just about lost it laughing out loud.

    I find that the challenge maps are a great way to help upskill new players before they hit online servers - I'm sure nobody wants to be explaining SMART to them in the middle of a match.

    The fact that challenge mode is incentivised (I don't know if that's even a word) had me continue to attempt them even though I was finding my failures annoying, just so I could unlock the last weapon mods.

    I am glad there's a way to respec your character skills... and I'm pleased that you lose a level by doing so, it leads to more thought going into the choices.

    Overall, worth getting unless you're expecting it to play like COD or similar. There are places selling it at a reasonable price if you look.

    I was disappointed.

    The singleplayer content is disappointing and the customisation options are a lot less than what I was expecting.

    It also bothers me that to unlock new weapons you need to play the challenges, something that were not challenging, just something to grind through in 45 minutes before getting online again. Essentially you get get all weapons from the start, not being rewarded as your experience goes up.

    The biggest kick in the teeth however, is the PC version does not support controllers.

    I have RSI and recently found out I have osteoarthritis so gaming is about comfort first for me.

    I'm aware of the whole KBM vs gamepad debate, and honestly, I do not care.

    That being said, if they implemented controller support, I'd give it another go.

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