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
Posted by Whizbang

Too high.

Posted by KarlPilkington
@TheCheese33 said:
" @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. "
Opinions!!
Posted by Afroman269
@TheCheese33 said:
" @Afroman269 said:
" *waits for the defense force to arrive "
So we're not allowed to like a game someone else didn't? "
Didn't exactly mean that, there are people trying to dismiss his review by pulling some achievement argument thing just because he doesn't think the game is good.
Posted by commandercup
@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 that was a sarcastic allusion to a little twitter thing that happened today. 
Posted by MormonWarrior

Ohhhhh SNAP! I saw this coming after watching the quick look. Jeff seemed super bummed by this game.

Edited by C0V3RT

Didn't bizzaro Jeff on GameBomb.Ru also give this 2 stars? WHO'S COPYING WHO?

Edit: They gave it 2.5 stars. You're off the hook THIS TIME Gerstmann.

Posted by IncredibleBulk92

What the hell is up with people? Jeff didn't like it, so Jeff wrote about not liking it.  I've preordered it so I'll see how it is in a few days.  I might regret it I might not but man I'd hate it if it's as bad as Jeff suggests.

Posted by DAFTPUNK

knew it!

Posted by RampageAssassin

Such a shame. I hear it was so popular at expos too. I'll be renting it just to make sure but my money now has gone to LA Noire

Posted by Mikular

Is it just me, or does the dude in the first screenshot look like Sektor?

Posted by rjayb89
@DrMadHatten said:
" Biggest disappointment of 2011? Remember that one in the next year end Bombcast fellas... "
Oh, come on. This game can't be so disappointing that it has to encompass the year 2012.
Posted by SethPhotopoulos

This scores funny.  Ha, Joystiq.

Posted by Little_Socrates

Probably a significantly better review than mine, though I found the gunplay a lot more solid than you did. It addresses all the little things that probably should've been better.


(I sold my copy shortly after writing my review.)
Posted by TheCheese33
@Afroman269 said:
" @TheCheese33 said:
" @Afroman269 said:
" *waits for the defense force to arrive "
So we're not allowed to like a game someone else didn't? "
Didn't exactly mean that, there are people trying to dismiss his review by pulling some achievement argument thing just because he doesn't think the game is good. "
Ah, okay. Sorry for jumping on you like that.
Posted by SuperfluousMoniker

Wow, I figured Gamebomb.ru was trolling, but low scores across the board for this game. Disappointing, it looked great on paper...

Posted by dragonzord
@Jeff said:
" @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. "
Hope you've got an Nvidia card. 
Posted by Winsord

For me, this is probably about a four star game, though a lot of your points are valid.

Edited by Wrighteous86

How can we trust this man's opinion if we don't even know where he was born? Why haven't you posted your birth certificate on the site, Jeff? What are you hiding? Show us your school transcripts, how did you get a job at Gamespot if you weren't a good student? Explain that! Post your GamerTag and Achievements NAO!

Edited by abdo

I was also expecting three stars. I wonder if whatshisface is gonna call Jeff out as well, in case he hasn't already realised what a fool he made himself out to be and that he'll always be a nobody.


Good job on the review, Jeff.
Posted by ohboymb

I'll wait for the official government inquest into these Brink reviews before I make up my mind.  Something doesn't seem right.  How deep does this thing go?


Jeff "Gerstmann", I'd like to see your long form gamertag

(love the review + quick look combo, especially in situations like this. great work)
Posted by Jayross

Who is the "Jeff" person, and what are his moral and social values?

Posted by GlenTennis
@Wrighteous86 said:
" How can we trust this man's opinion if we don't even know where he was born? Why haven't you posted your birth certificate on the site, Jeff? What are you hiding? Show us your school transcripts, how did you get a job at Gamespot if you weren't a good student? Explain that! Post your GamerTag and Achievements NAO! "
If Jeff is the Obama of games journalism and you're the Trump, who is the Bin Laden?
Also who can I be?
Posted by DoctorLazy

I've done a statistical analysis comparing the data progression between Gerstmann's word-usage in this review and the vector-form data contained in the gamertag Giantbombing, and come to the scientific conclusion that I love this site.  Too bad this game didn't turn out though.

Edited by theswoosh

Mirrors Edge but with out the edge. Call of Duty but with none of the cool.

Posted by Wrighteous86
@GlenTennis said:
" @Wrighteous86 said:
" How can we trust this man's opinion if we don't even know where he was born? Why haven't you posted your birth certificate on the site, Jeff? What are you hiding? Show us your school transcripts, how did you get a job at Gamespot if you weren't a good student? Explain that! Post your GamerTag and Achievements NAO! "
If Jeff is the Obama of games journalism and you're the Trump, who is the Bin Laden? Also who can I be? "
That depends... are you a maverick?
Posted by SlightConfuse
Posted by Devinant
@RampageAssassin said:
" Such a shame. I hear it was so popular at expos too. I'll be renting it just to make sure but my money now has gone to LA Noire "
+1. This game is a total bummer. Let's hope L.A Noire is better ... 

*Goes back to Portal 2*
Posted by mnzy
@GlenTennis said:
" @Wrighteous86 said:
" How can we trust this man's opinion if we don't even know where he was born? Why haven't you posted your birth certificate on the site, Jeff? What are you hiding? Show us your school transcripts, how did you get a job at Gamespot if you weren't a good student? Explain that! Post your GamerTag and Achievements NAO! "
If Jeff is the Obama of games journalism and you're the Trump, who is the Bin Laden? Also who can I be? "
Your name is already Glen, come on, you know it.
Posted by DonPixel

You all bitching about the review keep pre-ordering crappy generic FPS without waiting for a review or a demo. I know it´s hard to deal with $60 into the trash. But common denial does not help. 

Posted by wickedsc3

Not surprising after watching the QL.  Didn't look that great.

Posted by Benny

Who is it who is calling out game journalists and stirring the proverbial pot with this achievements nonsense? I just want to see where this drama originated if it's still out there.

Well written review and from what I've seen I have to agree.

Posted by HydraHam

Ouch.. still don't agree with the low scores, it has problems yes but i am having an amazing time playing it, easily a 3-3.5/5 for me and that's with the bugs.

The game defiantly isn't for everyone and it might be because i only had to pay $30 but it's the best 30 i have spent in months, defiantly will keep me occupied till LA noire releases.

Posted by Wrighteous86
@slightconfuse said:
"


i have a copy of jeffs gamescore certificate, seem legit

 

http://yfrog.com/h2oz7cp    

"
Shopped. I can see the pixels.
Posted by ReyGitano

I was hoping this game would have some potential, oh well. Just watching the quicklook was enough to make me suspect.

Posted by phrosnite

Oh, shooters... People keep buying them even though they are bad. Sniper: Ghost Warrior f-ing sold 1 million units. I wouldn't be surprised if Brink sold 1 or 2 mil.

Posted by astonish

Unfortunate. Wolf:ET sucked me in like perhaps no other game since (TF2 perhaps, though I haven't had as much time to play it). I had high hopes for this, but will take a pass.

Posted by tooPrime

Jeff Gerstmann: I don't like this game!   2 Stars.  It's okay, but I don't like this game!

Posted by crusader8463

Should have been a $20. Wish I had of waited a few months to grab this during some Steam sale.

Posted by Hardtarget

I was able to get this for $37 from Direct2Drive and at that price it's a great game if you think of it as 'Enemy Territory 3', which is basically what it is.

I didn't follow the development of the game too much so I don't know how they advertised it but the bots are an abortion and the singleplayer modes should not even be in the game, as a purely multiplayer objective/team based shooter it excels.  Less than 40 was a great price for it.  60 on consoles? not a good sell.

Posted by SomethingClever

So how does this compare to the gamebomb.ru review posted November 9, 2010?  Were they pretty much right?  They gave it 2.5 stars but everybody knows half star scales are lame.

Posted by Napalm
@Afroman269 said:
" @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. "
Yeah...
Posted by CaptainFish

I think they made a mistake marketing the continuous single co-op multiplayer  experience. The bots in this game are terrible and no fun to play with. It's a blast with actual people. You get a lot more variety as humans are likely to clump up more, leaving multiple routes to explore. I've played a bunch as a medium dude, but now I'm doing a light operative and the gameplay is much different. I find myself using my mobility to get into sniping situations or get the drop on people, and slide tackling an enemy is the most satisfying thing ever.

I do wish the weapons were  better. There are so many guns that are just automatic, that it gets boring. Especially when there's a clear advantage for some guns over others. 4 of each type would've been much more appreciated than 6-8 smgs and rifles and not much of anything else.

Posted by SpanxMcFranks

While I have been thoroughly amused by the events this game has caused, I am very surprised that people are claiming to be excited for Brink. This has always looked mediocre to me.

Posted by Wrighteous86
Posted by EgoCheck616

I can't wait to buy this................




.............when it is $9.99 on Steam.
Posted by Mystyr_E

and here I was hpping to spend money today. Only game I want next is Hunted.......freakin 3 weeks from now. Damnit.

Posted by LethalKi11ler
@Benny: From OhmBreaker on Voodoo Extreme. He called out Joystiq's review saying it was bullshit because Justin McElroy didn't have achievements or enough game time shown publicly to give such a score (2/5). The hurtful comments were removed by Voodoo Extreme (not OhmBreaker because he 'stands by' his words). You can follow the whole thing via mcelroy's twitter.
Posted by Spookie

Credit to Jeff for at least waiting till he could play online. Maybe if he didn't try to brute force every shooter like it was a CoD clone *looks angrily at the Crysis 2 QL* he'd be able to get in to it.

Posted by Gizmo
@EgoCheck616 said:
" I can't wait to buy this................



.............when it is $9.99 on Steam.
"