by Ingvi Snędal
previewed on X360
Hands-on with Brink multiplayer
Splash Damage was founded in 2001 by modders who specialized in modifications of Quake 3 Arena. Their first full game was Enemy Territory: Quake Wars which got very positive reviews. Now they're out to top themselves with their latest outing, Brink.
Brink takes place on a floating city called the Arc. The Arc was built as a prototype of a sustainable floating city, just in case something terrible happened, like the icecaps melting, which they did. It was designed to hold 5.000 people, but when everything started to go underwater and news spread about a floating city that could save everybody, a lot more than 5.000 people showed up and took shelter on the Arc. At the time the game takes place there are around 50.000 individuals living on the Arc. Water supplies are almost depleted and the electricity is running low. The makers of the Arc and the refugees taking shelter there don't see eye to eye regarding the distribution of resources. The city is on the Brink of a civil war. We got some hands-on time with this game at the GamesCom convention in Cologne, Germany and I must say that this is one of the most fun multiplayer experiences I've had in a long time.
On the brink of disaster
When the Arc set out, it had all the people that were supposed to be on board. When the boatloads of refugees started arriving, the citizens of the Arc welcomed them and gave them temporary housing in modified containers. The refugees were just happy to have some form of a home in something resembling a civilisation.
The native Arc citizens originally started referring to the newcomers as Guests. The Guests stayed in temporary housing, performed dangerous maintenance work and got water in rations. The Resistance was formed to challenge the status quo and fight for equal rights for all Arc citizens. The Security Force on the other hand views the Resistance as a radical terrorist group that threatens the survival of the Arc. In the early days of the Arc, all that was needed was a small security outfit to perform risk management. Slowly but surely the Arc got more dangerous and the Security Force grew into the small army it is today. Counter-Terrorism is the name of their game and they are convinced that if the Arc is to survive, they must be in control and the Resistance must be crushed.
When you start the game, you'll have to make a character. That character stays with you through the game. You customise the overall look, pick your clothing and slap on some hardcore tattoos to make him look even more bad-ass. Then the fun part starts. Your character is part of either the Resistance or the Security Force.
Your character is one of 4 classes, a Soldier, an Engineer, a Medic or an Operative. All of these have distinct talents that come in handy in a fight. The Soldier is always on the front lines. His mission is to suppress the enemy and restock his team mates' ammo. The Engineer is there to perform special tasks like fixing cranes and bomb disposal robots. He can also buff up his team mates' weapons and give the team an extra advantage in the coming fight. The Medic is a vital part in any team. He can heal his comrades and if he dies, he can even revive himself. Of course, he'll be out of the fight for a few seconds, but he'll soon get up and join the fight again. When other players die, they can choose to wait and join the next wave of reinforcements or wait for a medic to come and revive them. The Medic runs up to a downed comrade and tosses him a syringe. That syringe he can then use to revive himself. The Operative can interrogate downed enemies and get information about troop placements from him, displaying them on the mini map. He can then proceed to disguise himself as an enemy and slip, unnoticed past their ranks. Your character is not stuck in any of these roles and can change them on the fly during a mission. All that's needed is a console computer which is normally located on or near a checkpoint and the Operative can quickly become a Medic if the situation demands one.