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 amir90

Not surprised to be honest ^^

Posted by Jeffk38uk
@Spookie: You do realise they play games in Quick Looks much faster than normal because they try to show as much as possible? How they play in Quick Looks doesn't mean he brute forces his way when he plays to review.
Posted by dannyodwyer

Who is this Jeff person and why does he hate parkour ??

Posted by MisterMouse

Well, Brink will come and go with out much more then that.

Posted by Claude
@Benny said:

" 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. "

The original is gone. This article has been edited big time.

 http://ve3d.ign.com/articles/news/60202/Brink-Reviews-Are-A-Mixed-Bag-Some-Thoughts

When I first saw it, it talked about a specific reviewer from Joystiq. It actually had a picture of his gamercard. The author basically called the guy out on his lack of achievements.

I'm guessing he got a shit storm up his ass and edited the post.
Posted by CosmicQueso
 @Ertard said:
" @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. "
I love Jeff and value his judgments, and I'm looking forward to hearing his thoughts after firing up the PC version.  It's cool he's doing it.  It's just that the bots are so central to the point of all the reviews, which is unfortunate.  Since you can turn off the bots on the PC version the choice of format is certainly relevant here.  As I said, I'm into the PC version and dig it.

If people that are adding such valuable contributions as "meh" and "generic shooter is generic" and other nonsense they're not wanted in the playerbase anyways.  But when you see some people that really liked ET games say they'll pass because of reviews like this, based on Xbox play with bots, then, well, it does matter.
Edited by Wacomole

I watched a live gameplay feed with Richard Ham from Splash Damage earlier, and he addressed the issue of the Bots and their ineptitude suddenly becoming expertise towards the end of the match.

Apparently they built that in as a (as he put it) "Hero Mode" where the bots start the match not stealing the player's thunder by completing the objective themselves so that the player feels more like a "hero".  He even acknowledged that you will notice early in the match bots standing by the objective and waiting for you to do it rather than do it themselves...this is supposedly by design.    He went on to say that, if the match goes on and the player hasn't managed to complete the objective, the bots are programmed to start doing the objectives themselves to give the player a fighting chance as Jeff has noticed.

Also it was said that the enemy bots are programmed to become more aggressive and skilled in correlation with the number of human players in the game opposing them, so I assume a game with just one or two humans against a host of bots is apparently going to be pretty easy especially early on in the match. Whereas a lone bot versus a full house of humans would, in theory, be playing closer to its full potential.

He mentioned another point about the behaviour of bots that was interesting.  Namely that on easier levels they just seemed to stand there doing nothing at times.  This was apparently programmed behaviour based on the actual actions of "noobie players" in these sort of circumstances.

He did, however, state that they are very closely watching the feedback in their forums and are able to easily tweak many aspects of the gameplay based on what the community is experiencing. 
So personally I think the game that we are seeing today might not necessarily be the same as the one that people may be playing a little way down the line.  That said, It's not on my list of must-play games right now, for sure.

Posted by Getz

As I was reading your description of the bad AI, I could have sworn you were talking about the players. It's obviously a little too much for the average FPS player to take in, because player-controlled medics will just flat out ignore you as you lay in a pool of your own blood. The amount of fun you have in this game is entirely contingent on how good your team is. Playing with newbies is god-awful.

Posted by Spookie
@Jeffk38uk: The game gives you a short video explaining the basics before you play. Even that gives a better vertical slice of the game than the QL. Never mind.
Posted by The_Laughing_Man
@DonPixel said:
" 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.  "
I am enjoying the game. I do not think its crappy or generic. I could easily call COD generic. 
Posted by Video_Game_King

Wait, did he seriously not beat the game? *checks achievements, because this is a legitimate issue* He kind of did. He completed a campaign, which I guess is good enough, maybe.

Posted by CaLe

I've just discovered completely by accident that there are whole ebay sellers dedicated to selling used underwear and pervs actually buy them. I've been tainted once again by the internet.

Posted by Dogby

getting connected to a bad host? How does that happen when they just released the dedicated ser... 


oh you reviewed the console version as if it were the same as the PC version. great
Posted by bybeach
@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? "


ARIGHT, serious gamer issues I can get behind! Is Jeff a 'American' (fuck yeah) journalist qualified to write a video-game review?


We need to know this before anything about Brink..or OMG, Halo, for that matter...

Posted by TheSmashing

 Oh well, thanks for saving me 50 €uros

Posted by Winternet

Man, I had a 3stars bet on this one. This is all a conspiracy.

Posted by Benny
@Claude: Appreciate the reply, That guy seems like a total idiot, attempting to publicly belittle someone because they don't share the same view... Would like to have seen the original but I think I'll live.

...and keep on lovin' yo god damned Wii!
Posted by Sammo21

I think ANYONE who reviewed this game today, besides those in the gaming media, has irrelevant reviews.  I doubt most of those who have reviewed this game in the player comments probably barely touched it.

Posted by Floppypants
@CosmicQueso said:

If people that are adding such valuable contributions as "meh" and "generic shooter is generic" and other nonsense they're not wanted in the playerbase anyways."

Not wanted in the playerbase?  What, does Brink have some kind of clubhouse somewhere?  Is there a sign on the door that says, "Haters piss off!"
Posted by raiz265

I kind of saw that coming since the first trailers/gameplay videos...




BUT I WANT IT TO BE GOOD!

maybe when it's a budget title or something
Posted by DonPixel
@The_Laughing_Man said:
" @DonPixel said:
" 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.  "
I am enjoying the game. I do not think its crappy or generic. I could easily call COD generic.  "
Nothing wrong with people enjoying Brink.. I actually had a good time with Medal of Honor last year and I still log from time to time. But I never went into nerd rage to defend the obvious flaws that game possess.   

Brink issues are pretty obvious, just look at the quick look, Jeff work is to point out those issues to the general public. Some people would enjoy it.. yes but well ¨Sniper Ghost Warrior¨ sold a million copies then. 
Posted by CrazedMaverick
@Dogby said:
" getting connected to a bad host? How does that happen when they just released the dedicated ser... 

oh you reviewed the console version as if it were the same as the PC version. great
"
You do realize it says "This review is for the X360 release of Brink" at the top right?
Posted by tinylanda

Its hardly fair that you played this with PSN currently down.. the game is going to be a lot more dull while playing with AI, its not built for that, at least wait until you can actually play this multiplayer game in some form of effective multiplayer before passing final judgment on it.

Posted by Nettacki
@tinylanda: I don't know what you're trying to say, but he played the 360 version, not the PS3 version.
Posted by Claude
@Benny: My Wii love is waning. I can smell a new console on the horizon. But I still play that little motion box.
Posted by Cold_Wolven

Before the reviews set in for this game I was confused as to whether I wanted this game but thanks to Giant Bomb's quick look and Jeff's review I saved myself some money by not buying this game.

Posted by tinylanda
@Nettacki: Woops.. the quicklook was on the PS3 where the broken PSN was actually brought into question, didnt check the platform for the review
Posted by Bouz
@tinylanda: It says at the top this is a review for the Xbox 360 version of the game.
Posted by NickL
@MoleyUK said:
" I watched a live gameplay feed with Richard Ham from Splash Damage earlier, and he addressed the issue of the Bots and their ineptitude suddenly becoming expertise towards the end of the match.Apparently they built that in as a (as he put it) "Hero Mode" where the bots start the match not stealing the player's thunder by completing the objective themselves so that the player feels more like a "hero".  He even acknowledged that you will notice early in the match bots standing by the objective and waiting for you to do it rather than do it themselves...this is supposedly by design.    He went on to say that, if the match goes on and the player hasn't managed to complete the objective, the bots are programmed to start doing the objectives themselves to give the player a fighting chance as Jeff has noticed.Also it was said that the enemy bots are programmed to become more aggressive and skilled in correlation with the number of human players in the game opposing them, so I assume a game with just one or two humans against a host of bots is apparently going to be pretty easy especially early on in the match. Whereas a lone bot versus a full house of humans would, in theory, be playing closer to its full potential.He mentioned another point about the behaviour of bots that was interesting.  Namely that on easier levels they just seemed to stand there doing nothing at times.  This was apparently programmed behaviour based on the actual actions of "noobie players" in these sort of circumstances.He did, however, state that they are very closely watching the feedback in their forums and are able to easily tweak many aspects of the gameplay based on what the community is experiencing.  So personally I think the game that we are seeing today might not necessarily be the same as the one that people may be playing a little way down the line.  That said, It's not on my list of must-play games right now, for sure. "
huh.  Intentionally making your AI shitty to make the player feel better about himself, this seems like an interesting concept.

@Video_Game_King said:
" Wait, did he seriously not beat the game? *checks achievements, because this is a legitimate issue* He kind of did. He completed a campaign, which I guess is good enough, maybe. "
It's a multiplayer focused game so I don't see how beating the campaign would mean much, in fact it would probably make one feel worse about the experience.  Either way in the quick look he was almost max rank and he probably played enough after to get maxed so he really didn't miss anything this game has to offer.
Posted by DeathbyYeti

i love when everyone talks about reviews all the time then a game they dont know or havent played gets lesser reviews the common response is, "Well I will still buy this game because what do these people know"

Posted by chilibean_3
@tinylanda: The quicklook was not for the PS3.
Posted by rjayb89
Screencap from Giant Bomb QL. Please note the buttons on lower right corner of image. 360 version in full effect. 
Edited by chilibean_3
@MoleyUK: That's at least some interesting insight.  Not a terrible idea but it doesn't seem to work in practice.  
Posted by Video_Game_King
@NickL:

I still believe that in order to have any authority when reviewing a game, you should at least have beaten it. When a game doesn't have an ending, like heavily multiplayer games, then yea, you can just play five hours and type a review. But if there's an ending in there...
Posted by Dopey2400

so sad

Posted by Wacomole
@tinylanda said:
" @Nettacki: Woops.. the quicklook was on the PS3 where the broken PSN was actually brought into question, didnt check the platform for the review "
The Quick Look is definitely and clearly (from the button prompts) on the 360.  
You may have mistaken some comment regarding the reason why they obviously weren't playing the PS3 version (re: the PSN situation) as an indication that they were playing on the PS3.
Did you not notice that the last part of the Quick Look took place online?
Posted by Chontamenti

After watching the Quick Look I'm not wondering at all.

Posted by tinylanda
@MoleyUK: @Nettacki @chilibean_3: @Bouz:  I stand corrected.. between coding and keeping track of  Google IO its been one of those distracted kind of days.. 
Posted by Clinkz

Holy crap! This is truly the next Shadowrun! I'm stoked for my $5 purchase in a few months.

Posted by SpacePenguin

From what Jeff has wrote it seems like a fair review to be honest, it is a shame really.

Posted by FMinus

It's a team based game and it clearly is not for everyone. The real gripe with the game I have right now, is that the damage from various weapons is so toned down that it's not even fun. Like Jeff mentioned the grenades and other stuff. Yes they said no one-shot kills, but that just comes with such games and trying to balance against it just makes weapons that "should" be able to one-shot-kill just out of place in the game. 


That said, players who like to Rambo a lot are not really going to be satisfied with this game, as said it's team based, and if you are lucky enough to get a good team going you really start to see the good side of this game, even more so if the enemy team is also organized. 

For me it's a good game and the potential it has is huge, let's just hope Splash Damage is able to squeeze it out of it rather soon and that players actually give it a try. 

Posted by big_jon

Ouch.

Edited by Sir_Lizardman

People cry because reviewers in general give to high of a review score but as soon as their game gets a bad score they start to cry anyways.   People who are complaining about the score, its Jeff opinion not because he did not play the game.  Believe it or not I dislike popular games and vice-versa.  Get over it.

Posted by animathias
@Video_Game_King said:
" @NickL: I still believe that in order to have any authority when reviewing a game, you should at least have beaten it. When a game doesn't have an ending, like heavily multiplayer games, then yea, you can just play five hours and type a review. But if there's an ending in there... "

Seriously?

In any case, which campaign did he not beat? He has achievements for completing both the Security and Resistance campaigns.

Posted by arcn

I'm so glad I decided to rent this from gamefly instead of buying it, the marketing on this game was a bit fucked up, it's like someone said, hey lets put out videos where developers talk about the fiction in the game and the "deep" story so everyone will think we actually have a real single player campaign.

Posted by Pop

I really wanted this to be good, but when I watched the QL it got so boring, oh and I'm wondering is there any team deathmatch in the game? cause I only saw objective based stuff.

Posted by TheChaos
SLAMED
Posted by futureman

Absolutely loving this game on the PC thus far, really unfortunate the fun-box versions seem to be getting received poorly. 

Posted by FinalCut

From the beginning this game looked really mediocre to my eyes. Not to mention the completely unrepresentative CG trailer that tried to hype people up. There are some interesting ideas in the game but it looks incredibly dull to play, and I love team focused shooters.


I hope someone takes the parkour team based shooter concept and makes a better game. 
Edited by GreggD
@bybeach said:

" @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? "


ARIGHT, serious gamer issues I can get behind! Is Jeff a 'American' (fuck yeah) journalist qualified to write a video-game review?


We need to know this before anything about Brink..or OMG, Halo, for that matter...

"
http://www.gamespot.com/xbox360/action/halo3/review.html?tag=summary%3Bread-review

Just sayin', since you brought it up. :P