Collapses under its own weight in issues.
Brink attempts to differentiate itself from standard conventional shooters, like Call of Duty and Halo as much as possible. Unfortunately there are too many issues that bog down the game. Splash Damage, the studio that brought you Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, attempted to make Brink a breath of fresh air in the shooter genre, implementing several neat ideas. Despite the effort of being different, Brink only manages to be on the verge of resembling anything fun. The dull combat and endless list of issues just makes me appreciate how well those conventional shooters work.
Like Quake Wars, Brink is a class-based multiplayer shooter. The game puts objectives ahead of kills, making teamwork the focus. The majority of your character progression will come from performing your class role and completing objectives throughout a match. The structure of the game is decent. However, the lack of content is what really holds Brink back. There are eight maps, which would be an alright volume in most cases. The issue is that Brink doesn’t have traditional modes. Instead, you will sit through the same cutscenes, complete the same objectives, and probably fight matches the same way every time. With Brink’s maps having a specific purpose, it makes for a repetitive experience.
Brink is virtually the same online and offline. In fact, the campaign is also the competitive multiplayer…and the co-op. For conflicts that aren’t that interesting to begin with, Splash Damage recycled them across all modes. You can instantly pick to play any level from the start, just to show how little the narrative matters. Once you decide upon which match you want to play, you have to choose to play with all bots, play with real players against bots, or a versus game with both teams comprising of people. It’s a ridicules system that puts a spotlight on the cheap feel of the Brink. There’s no “online” button on the menus, or a quick match option. The game boils down to “Hey, wanna play Brink? Do you want bots?”
Playing singleplayer is simply not applicable for anyone wanting to enjoy the game. The bots are completely unreliable. With Brink being an objective based game, you’re going to have to tackle all the tasks yourself and have the bots fight one another in the background. Enemy bots will sometimes just stare at you and forget to fight back, but other times they’ll be on your ass throughout an entire segment of the match. I can’t even say it’s a rubber band AI issue, the difficulty of the bots appears totally random. Despite picking Versus Mode to play with humans, the match will fill in all the player gaps with bots. Which ended up being the bulk of most teams being bots. There isn’t any obvious indication on who’s a bot and when a human joins the game. This puts the player in an unfortunate circumstance of being forced to play with and against bots 100% of the time in some capacity.
This is assuming you can actually get into a game to begin with. Brink is bad at working. You can generally get an operational game of co-op going, but getting anything beyond one team of human players together is impossible. Even in co-op when a team of eight is nearly full, the frame rate drops significantly. Despite playing the game since the morning of release, I have never completed a game of Versus. The lag makes Brink unplayable. Despite me literally turning off all my wireless devices at home to free some bandwidth, Brink’s online modes are unplayable. Which is a pretty nasty con for an online game. This issue is widespread across the Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game. Finding matches and bots aren’t the online’s only problem. The lack of a lobby system makes getting together with friends more of a hassle than it needs to be. It’s 2011, joining a game through my friends list isn’t ideal.
Even if a patch releases that fixes all the network issues, Brink is simply not a fun game to play. The guns aren’t fun to use, and other weapons such as grenades just feel weak. The unlock system forces you to pick a go-to class at a certain point, but that doesn’t make sense due to the need to switch classes in matches to overcome obstacles. There’s an unlock system that boils down to obtaining goofy stuff to make your character wear and utilitarian items for whatever class you choose. It’s difficult to keep track of how much your character is progressing match to match. Everything from the combat to the game’s presentation doesn’t have any flash to it. Brink has a cheap feel to it.
Brink has a bunch of great ideas that break the mold of conventional shooters. However, none of those ideas develop into anything meaningful due to game-breaking issues. It’s as if Splash Damage took notes on everything they didn’t like about Call of Duty and made the antithesis of it without thinking about what makes those type of games work. Brink is a bunch of non-sense and broken netcode in a box. You can’t take away any specific issue Brink has to make it an enjoyable game. Splash Damage’s latest collapses under it’s own weight of problems.