Giant Bomb Review

271 Comments

Brink Review

2
  • X360

Flat combat and a lack of variety are just two of the things that make Brink such a disappointment.

You'll be able to customize your character's look with items that unlock as you play.

Brink is a class-based multiplayer first-person shooter from the developers of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, and a lot of that style of play is present and accounted for in the way the objectives are built and the classes function. The structure of the game is decent, but it's brought down by issues both large and small. The largest one is a simple lack of content. With eight maps, a lackluster arsenal, and a campaign mode that is, by default, populated with terrible AI-controlled bots, Brink just doesn't have enough going for it to justify a full-price purchase.

The game is roughly the same in both its campaign mode and its freeplay option. The difference is that the campaign mode offers up the different maps in a set order (which you can skip around, if you want) and the freeplay mode is a more open option that lets you jump into a game on any map, theoretically making it easier to get into games with real people. But both modes let you play with humans, if you like.

This is handy, because the game's bots are bad at playing Brink. Bots will run up against objects you're interacting with, as if they can't see you and are trying to complete the objective that you're already completing. The enemy team's bots will often run right past objectives completely, and they'll occasionally just sort of stare at you, like they've forgotten to shoot back. The only dependable thing a bot can do is revive you if you go down, though the medic bots tend run blindly in your direction when you drop, often getting taken out along the way. This stooge-like behavior lasts for most of the match, but when an objective is nearly expired, it seems like the bots suddenly get better, almost as if they've been designed to make the missions draw themselves out as long as they possibly can. If you don't intend to play Brink against people, do not play Brink.

That said, my recommendation for the game doesn't change much for those of you interested in playing with human teammates, largely because the game can become choppy and unplayable if you end up getting connected to a bad host, which seems to happen more often than it does in most other games, though your experience may vary. The one big positive is that the game rewards varied teams by letting each of the four different classes contribute and buff in different ways. The engineers can increase a teammate's weapon damage. Medics can raise a player's health beyond the maximum, as well as increasing a player's ability to regenerate health. Soldiers can refill ammo. And the operatives can mark targets and takeover enemy turrets. Admittedly, that's not all that different from other class-based shooters, but it's effective here and encourages players to not all rush for the one class that can complete the next objective. Also, weapon selection is detached from class selection, so you can carry whatever you like and still contribute to the team in any of the four roles.

The universe has some neat ideas in it, but you rarely get a sense of that while playing.

Beyond that, playing Brink is a bit of a mess. The weapons are incredibly underwhelming. Part of this is due to the sound design, which doesn't give anything an appropriate punch when it's fired. But the weapon damage feels weak and the bullet spray makes a lot of the non-scoped weapons feel imprecise and generally ineffective. Grenades are also lame, with pops that look and sound more like a firecracker than a hand grenade. They also don't seem to do much damage, making them better for knocking opponents over, giving you time to finish them off while they get back to their feet.

A lot of time in each map is spent running back to the battle, as the game lacks any sort of forward spawn capability. To let you worry less about obstacles in the environment, holding down the sprint button also allows you to automatically mantle up and over low objects. You can also slide under objects or, in some cases, you can leap up to grab ledges. Vaulting over these objects makes the path back to the battlefield more of a straight line, but once you're engaged, it feels like hopping around like a crazy person is just a good way to get gunned down because you weren't spending your time firing back.

Brink occasionally hints at a larger universe with its pre-mission cutscenes that attempt to set up the conflict between a rebel force and the security crew trying to hold them back, but these vignettes are incredibly half-hearted, introducing few characters and not really giving you much of a reason to care about the overall world. It's too bad, because the characters and the set of islands they inhabit have an interesting look to them. But beyond a couple of weak cutscenes you'll see when you finish campaign mode and some dull audio logs, Brink does absolutely nothing of value with its fiction.

You'll earn experience points and levels as you play, and with each level comes the chance to unlock a new ability. These vary from universal skills like extra health or the ability to reload while sprinting to class-specific perks, like building better engineer turrets or giving operatives a bomb in their head that lets them blow up on command when downed, potentially taking enemies along with them. You don't have to break these up into loadouts, as all your abilities stack.

This makes you more powerful at higher levels, something the game attempts to address by preventing higher-ranked players from getting matched with lower-ranked games. Ultimately, this just splits the people playing Brink into yet another smaller subset, which, at least in the near-term, has made it fairly hard for me to get into games with an abundance of other human players. Between breaking up the campaign mode options by map and the rank lockouts, Brink just feels like it needs a big "quick match" button to expedite the process and match you with human players and completely sidestep the game's weak AI.

Brink's stylized look is pretty cool, but the whole thing feels like a bust. The minute-to-minute action just isn't interesting enough to make the game's eight maps worth replaying for a serious length of time, which makes a lot of this come down to a basic value proposition. It feels like a downloadable game's worth of content that's been fleshed out a little by some slightly higher production values. Nothing about that sounds like a great deal to me at its current price, but its awkward structure and dull combat won't go away after a simple price cut.

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
271 Comments
Edited by Wrighteous86

You only played it for 2 hours! LIAR!


(Haha, stole the quest from someone--I didn't even need it!)
Posted by Joey2683

youch
Edited by listerfeend

I honestly thought this came out like six months ago...

Posted by Bloodgraiv3

Called it.
Posted by Claude

Check this man's achievements.

Posted by Generiko

tehee

Edited by Milkman

Sorry but I'm going to need to know how many achievement points you have in this game before I can take this review seriously.

Posted by Keenblaze

I CALLED IT, BABY.

Posted by Napalm

Hmm.

Posted by Afroman269

*waits for the defense force to arrive

Posted by SileoNex

I am so disappointed by Brink. :(

Posted by TheCheese33

Fair enough. Personally, I love the game.

Posted by zombie2011

So glad i didn't pick this up.

Posted by phrosnite

Ouch indeed. No surprise here though. I call it :) Just like APB. I'm two of two.

Posted by pickassoreborn

Sorry to hear about the low review score, looked so promising in the previews. I still might give this a try though if there's a demo knocking about.

Posted by ThePhantomnaut

How unfortunate.

Posted by TheCheese33
@Afroman269 said:
" *waits for the defense force to arrive "
So we're not allowed to like a game someone else didn't?
Posted by Metal_Mills

It's amazing that Gamebomb wrote a review ages ago for Brink and gave it a poor score too.  Crazy!

Posted by Bloodgraiv3
@Milkman said:
"Sorry but I'm going to need to know how many achievement points you have in this game before I can take this review seriously. "

How do you figure? Every complaint he's layed to the game are all valid and he gives reasons for it.
Posted by Lotus

Boom.

Posted by HairyMike87

ouch

Posted by Napalm
@Bloodgraiv3 said:
" @Milkman said:
"Sorry but I'm going to need to know how many achievement points you have in this game before I can take this review seriously. "
How do you figure? Every complaint he's layed to the game are all valid and he gives reasons for it. "
Fuckin' seriously, dude?
Posted by gla55jAw

AWWWW shitttttt. Actually, not really. It looked pretty lame from the QL.

Posted by Meltbrain

Man. What a let down. Whatever, I guess I didn't have high hopes or anything.

Posted by Rhaknar

oh snap this should be good, where's my popcorn at?

Posted by TheCheese33
@Bloodgraiv3 said:
" @Milkman said:
"Sorry but I'm going to need to know how many achievement points you have in this game before I can take this review seriously. "
How do you figure? Every complaint he's layed to the game are all valid and he gives reasons for it. "
I think he was joking. There was a miniature conspiracy earlier today with reviewers calling each other out over Gamerscore.
Posted by foolman

Haha! Thats awesome, after watching the quick look, then hearing all the review mess this morning its funny to hear Jeff say, "No I think it should get a 2/5 as well!" I trust Jeff's word over all others.

Posted by Bloodgraiv3
@Napalm said:
" @Bloodgraiv3 said:
" @Milkman said:
"Sorry but I'm going to need to know how many achievement points you have in this game before I can take this review seriously. "
How do you figure? Every complaint he's layed to the game are all valid and he gives reasons for it. "
Fuckin' seriously, dude? "


Who was that meant for?

haha

Posted by Zohar

This review just saved me 50 bucks.  Thanks Jeff!

Posted by hurrikenux

lol @ Achievegate


Anyways, I think a PC review might have been better for this.  I think only the dedicated servers on PC allow you to turn off the bots, playing with all humans is very fun on the PC side.  Granted the game isn't without its issues, but judging on the AI isn't good as it certainly is no Deep Blue.
Posted by rjayb89

Only two pictures, Jeff? I'm not going to take this review seriously, Jeff. I mean, seriously, Jeff. Seriously.

Online
Posted by Afroman269
@Bloodgraiv3 said:
" @Napalm said:
" @Bloodgraiv3 said:
" @Milkman said:
"Sorry but I'm going to need to know how many achievement points you have in this game before I can take this review seriously. "
How do you figure? Every complaint he's layed to the game are all valid and he gives reasons for it. "
Fuckin' seriously, dude? "


Who was that meant for?

haha

"
Someone needs to get their sarcasm meter fixed.
Posted by Zeninnnnnnnn

I figured as much. It sounded like it had some promise, but seeing that quicklook cemented my suspicions that the game is not worth my money.

Posted by ApolloBob

This pokes you with a stick, hornets nest of internet.

Posted by CosmicQueso

Well the PC crowd that enjoyed ET games will surely like it, as I do.  Hey, to each their own.


Just too bad that it wasn't tried on the PC or with human players.  But whatever, gotta get that review up quick, right?
Posted by l4wd0g

Great review Jeff. I appreciate your point of view.

Posted by rjayb89

Thanks, Jeff, for adding a third image. I like your review, Jeff.

Online
Posted by Enigma777
No real surpise here. The lack of content kinda makes me wonder why it took so long for it to come out... I really do like the art style and the general look of the game though, but I'll probably pass or wait till it's in the bargain bin.
Posted by Nomin

Bethesda will not take kindly to this. NO MORE FREE RIDES NO MORE FREE ACCESS! lol

Posted by buzz_killington

Didn't see this coming; thought it would be a three-starrer.

Posted by Jeff
@hurrikenux said:
" lol @ Achievegate

Anyways, I think a PC review might have been better for this.  I think only the dedicated servers on PC allow you to turn off the bots, playing with all humans is very fun on the PC side.  Granted the game isn't without its issues, but judging on the AI isn't good as it certainly is no Deep Blue.
"
I did play the 360 version with quite a few actual people, wouldn't have reviewed it at all if I hadn't. Anyway, we just got the PC version today, I'm going to at least check it out for a bit tonight. An option to totally disable bots already makes it sound at least a little bit better than the console version.
Staff
Posted by MrMazz

not surprised seems like everyone is saying the same thing, this game isn't that good

Posted by TheCheese33
@MrMazz said:
" not surprised seems like everyone is saying the same thing, this game isn't that good "
Actually, there are plenty of people who are loving the game.
Posted by DrMadHatten

Biggest disappointment of 2011? Remember that one in the next year end Bombcast fellas...

Edited by SlightConfuse


as expected the game seams aliitle bare for a retail game

 

but what about the achievements?

Posted by Scribbly

Ouch, I was expecting a 3 as well. Hopefully this doesn't affect Giant Bomb's ability to get interviews/demos of upcoming Bethesda games through the game journalism bullshit that sometimes accompanies bad reviews.

Chin up, plenty of awesome games still to come this year.
Posted by RIDEBIRD
@CosmicQueso: He delayed the review to specifically test the multiplayer. And I'm a PC gamer as well, but this game is so clearly made for consoles anyway, so I don't see how the choice of format matters at all.
Posted by beard_of_zeus
@Milkman said:
" Sorry but I'm going to need to know how many achievement points you have in this game before I can take this review seriously. "
And we want the long-form gamerscore certificate, just to be sure!
Posted by CrazedMaverick

Damn. I knew Brink was gonna end up as a disappointment, but still wished it panned out in the end. :[