by Davneet Minhas
reviewed on PC
Useless Teammates (cntd)
Brink does play a bit better when you’re surrounded by human-controlled characters who may be intelligent enough to complete objectives. But even then, you’re subjected to their random whims. Beyond throwing out buffs, Brink doesn’t encourage teamwork – it simply expects it, and that’s a lot to expect.
Team Fortress 2 does a much better job of manufacturing teamwork with team-oriented objectives. For example, pushing the cart on a payload map provides points. Everyone who wants points will therefore push the cart. Now, here’s the best part: The more people that push the cart, the faster it goes. So, those players who only want points, who aren’t really interested in the “team” part of Team Fortress 2, still end up helping the team without even realizing it.
Brink only reaches its full team-oriented potential when you play with mic’d friends.
When the Tutorial is Better than the Game
And of course, there’s the game’s SMART system, which stands for Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain. It’s a Mirror’s Edge, parkour system that allows you to vault over or slide under obstacles, bounce off walls, and perform all sorts of crazy stunts quickly and intuitively. It’s the game’s most interesting feature. It’s also hindered by the game’s maps.
So much of Brink is played in narrow corridors and tight chokepoints, rendering those crazy vaults and bounces fairly useless. Typically, the only viable and useful move is to slide away from gunfire – and it is, admittedly, quite fun. It’s especially fun when you hit an enemy with your slide and knock them down.
Regardless, the SMART system never sees its full potential outside of the Parkour challenge, which has you jumping around an obstacle course to hit checkpoints before time runs out. Another challenge has you escorting a robot as an engineer against waves of enemies, and a third tasks you with defending a command post. These challenges contain the purest forms of the game’s many features and mechanics. The same objectives exist in the game’s larger, multiplayer maps, but each of those maps contains many different objectives, all of which mush together and provide a general feeling of attacking or defending. As a result, one map plays exactly like another. Again, there’s no variety to this game.
By focusing on single objectives, the challenges feel very different from each other and end up being quite fun. Despite being nothing more than tutorials, they may be the best thing about Brink. Had developer Splash Damage built larger, multiplayer maps that were still as focused and varied as their challenges, Brink may have been a much better game.
Half-Hearted and Incomplete
As it is, Brink is pretty and polished and contains solid, intense gunplay. But there’s not much beyond that. It’s full of half-hearted and incomplete attempts at innovation and variety and ends up being thoroughly one-dimensional.
Pretty graphics, a distinct character design
Too repetitive, “innovative” features feel incomplete