Some might feel that defining a game by its genre is a completely unfair way to classify a game. For example, is referring to Deadly Premonition as a third-person survival horror game fair when Silent Hill: Shattered Memories would probably be described the same way? Many games strive to expand the meaning of their genre, or go forward and defy genre definition.
So with this in mind, I can only define Brink as a multiplayer-focused objective-based first person shooter. Brink fails to differentiate itself from the pack in any truly significant way. It carries a similar player progression (including unlockable weapons, perks, outfits, tattoos, and, yes, unlockable beards) to the one you'll find in similar multiplayer games these days
, but otherwise it differentiates itself little from team objective based shooters like Team Fortress 2
or, more recently, Dead Space 2.
What little story there is occurs upon the game's launch and before and after games. Essentially, the game's setting, The Ark
, is out of supplies, and the police force Security
is set up to fight The Resistance
(obviously taking their creative sides very seriously) who really just want to leave. I chose the Security side as it seemed less predictable, and sure enough, the cops are cops who either feel bad that they're part of a slightly oppressive force or who feel like lethal force should've been advised instead of allowed. I haven't noticed any repeating characters from cutscene to cutscene, but they also all look like they came out of the Create-A-Character mode in the game, so some might look very similar to others.
Of course, it's not really fair to judge Brink on its storytelling, as that's not really what it's trying to do. What little story there is exists mostly to give you more varied objectives in more interesting locations than it could otherwise and allows the developer to include bots, which is more than Team Fortress 2 bothered or claimed to do. The eight on-disc maps are all very different in style, but all match a sort of cultural mash-up of San Francisco and Rio. The maps themselves are pretty fun to play with, though some of them become a little labyrinthine unintentionally, and they smoothly change from one objective to the next.
Objectives in Brink are as you'd probably expect; collect the data key, blow up the gate, hack the mainframe, defend the caravan, etc. Each type of task requires you to play as one of the four different classes; the soldier blows things up, the engineer can repair or operate machinery, the medic can revive other players and hostages, and the operative can hack technology. The soldier also has a more powerful grenade and can grant allies additional ammo, the operative (almost called him the Spy
) can disguise himself as opponents, and
the Engineer can grant you a boost to your weapons and create turrets
. Obviously, I feel that the class system is not especially creative, but the objectives do allow for most classes to have a specific use on each map.
It's nice, then, that the character customization applies across all four classes, or else the game would feel even more limited in content. There are plenty of weapons to play with, though note that the weapons in this game follow the subtle-differences approach (AK-47 vs. M16, though you won't find either in this game) rather than the more Doom/Fallout-y approach of "assault rifle, shotgun, laser cannon, BFG
, nuke launcher
," and I found both weapons I spent extensive time with very quickly. The shooting mechanics actually do feel very solid and satisfying, but it is frustrating how much damage you have to deal to down opponents. However, it's worth noting that the gun I found a quick preference for was the GameStop pre-order DOOM gun
, so be warned that those without a pre-order are actually missing a few guns that might prove vital in the coming days of the game.
The other character creation options are dedicated to the appearance of your character. I was able to create someone I liked very quickly, and all the pieces of gear looked significantly different from each other, along with the color schemes available. These don't have a major impact on the gameplay, but you can make a character that fits into the stunning visual style of the game pretty easily. They even allow you to select which voice actor you'd like to have play your character, though I found many of the voice actors to be pretty grating. These voice options don't carry into the cutscenes, but instead factor into the extensive in-game radio chatter, which at least SORT of helps the fact that nobody on Xbox Live was playing with a mike.
Brink is little more than the sum of its parts. However, while those parts can easily be traced back to games like Call of Duty, Dead Space 2, and Team Fortress 2, those parts are also still quite good, and if you've ever thought to yourself that the Call of Duty multiplayer could use a more objective-based mode, or that Team Fortress 2 would be better if it had more varied objectives, you'll find that the action, layout, and progressive multiplayer in Brink is really pretty good. However, I would also recommend to those who aren't the biggest shooter fans to wait for a significant price drop, as the game doesn't really have a single-player component, and eight maps is not a ton of content.