Brink Official Review
by Curb


Basic Information:
Developer: Splash Damage
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
North American Release Date: May 10th, 2011
European Release Date: May 13th, 2011
Trophies: 1 || 3 || 19 || 14


Overview
Brink is developed by Splash Damage, the developers famous for the Enemy Territory series of games, as well as developing the multiplayer component of Doom 3. Brink offers class-based multiplayer gameplay centered around the battle for the Ark, a last safe haven for humanity after global flooding and climate change.


Gameplay
Brink, to start off with, is all about customization. Assuming you count all different aspects of your character, from all appearance-based aspects to your gun attachments and sights, Brink boasts over four quadrillion (read: 4,000,000,000,000,000+) possibilities for your character's appearance. A lot of time can be lot just tweaking your guy over and over, which is a lot of fun.


Brink's various combinations of characters ranges in the quadrillions.

In addition to the aesthetics and customization options, Brink offers four classes to play as: Soldier, Engineer, Medic and Operative. Each one has particular abilities to begin with, and each time you level up in Brink you earn upgrade points. These points can be used to purchase new abilities, be they class specific like better turrets for the Engineer, or more general like silent footsteps for any class. While nothing as deep as Call of Duty's Prestige modes and endless guns, attachments and callsigns to unlock, Brink's unlocks will nonetheless keep you interested and continuing to play.

Finally, Brink adds a few elements of parkour into the mix. While nothing too fancy is included (no backflips for you), the SMART system introduces basic wallrunning, jumping and sliding to the combat. Announced as being able to predict your movements based on the status of objectives, your class, and teammates, the SMART system will automatically perform the action that makes most sense. For example, if you're holding the right button and running toward a wall, you're going to climb it instead of trying to slide into it. Note that the three body types and sizes all have the own pros and cons, and part of those are parkour abilities - the light body type can do almost anything, while the heaviest is limited to climbing the shortest of walls and that sort of thing.


Singleplayer
There's not a lot to be said about Brink's singleplayer. The campaign is completely playable in multiplayer, be it co-op or Versus, and since you get XP bonuses and trophies for playing it in versus there's no reason you shouldn't.

Brink's campaign does offer a story, although due to the nature of the storytelling it's somewhat hard to discern until every mission is complete. This is because days skip around, and you have one campaign for each faction: The Resistance, fighting for freedom and attempted contact with the outside world, and The Security, fighting to maintain order and prevent contact with the outside.


"Knock, knock!"

The campaigns roughly interlock, although completing each side's bonus missions is necessary to make the two mesh entirely. While there's definitely an "Oh!" moment upon finishing each story, there's nothing entirely special about them. The focus in Brink is not in character or story development but good and fun gameplay, and so you don't get particularly attached to either side or any of the characters.


Multiplayer
Multiplayer is where Brink shines. Fighting through the campaigns in versus mode is a real challenge, and you feel awesome when you win a match against a bunch of human opponents. Additionally, you get bonus experience for playing Versus, so it's faster to level up if you play the campaign online.

Unfortunately, the maps can get kind of boring after a while. You can join "regular" matches that aren't based around the campaign, but they all use the same maps and depending on the selected game mode you'll be subjected to the same cutscenes and dialogue. Luckily, upcoming DLC (which will be free for a period of two weeks) looks to introduce new missions, maps and gear, so that variety will help offset the inevitable tedium.


Technical
Technically, Brink is sound. Although I've heard reports of some glitches and bugs from other people, I've never had any trouble personally. The game runs soundly, and while it doesn't break any records or set any standards, it looks really good. The unique art style, evokes the sense of a grittier Team Fortress 2, is rendered beautifully, with faces being really animated in the few cutscenes.


Brink's art style is slightly cartoon-like with a touch of grit and realism.

Additionally, the soundwork is great. The music is well-done and fun to listen to, although you start to tune it out in the heat of the game, and the sound effects are awesome. Again, nothing groundbreaking, but well done nevertheless.


Trophies
The trophies is Brink are, for the most part, fairly straightforward. There are a few involving particular methods of killing opponents or using your class abilities, but it's all really straightforward. There are three rather tricky ones, however.

One for beating all the challenges, which can be extremely difficult depending on how far leveled up your character is. One for beating every campaign mission on Hard or in Versus, which sucks because there's no way of telling which missions you've completed in what way, so if you miss one you have to play them all again until you get it. And finally, one for unlocking all available Audio Logs which takes a lot of concentration and multiple playthroughs focusing on extremely specific victory criteria.

All in all, a fairly easy and interesting trophy list with a handful of tricky ones to shake up the status quo.


Closing Thoughts
It's not a benchmark title, but Brink is an extremely enjoyable title with excellent art direction, music and graphics. While most of the gameplay is pretty standard fare, there are enough unique elements to make it interesting. Though it's debatable whether Brink was worth the initial $60 pricing, smart buyers can now find new copies for $30 or less, and with the promise of free DLC on the way (with free trophies), Brink is great deal.


Gameplay: 8/10
Brink offers standard FPS features with a few unique twists.

Singleplayer: 7/10
Singleplayer is not a bad experience, but it's clear this game was tailored for multiplayer.

Multiplayer: 9/10
Multiplayer is an excellent experience with definite reason to keep coming back; although, like any title, enough constant playing will eventually lead to boredom.

Technical: 8/10
Brink has a cool art direction with awesome graphics and sound. No bugs or glitches to be found here.

Overall: 8/10 Superb
A definite rent at the very least, or a purchase if you can find a good price.