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 Claude

A Brink TNT should happen. Using consoles, well, Xbox 360 and the PC as platforms.

Posted by UnrealDP

Maybe 2 stars is a little harsh, but the way i see it brink is a 2.5 that can ether be rounded up or down.
Posted by Rapid

Cool Premise and promise bad execution 

Posted by BibleDoctor

I'm enjoying it actually, it isn't what they hyped it up to be but it isn't terrible.

Posted by Crazy_Horse
The weapons are incredibly underwhelming.  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.

So you wanted it to be Call of Duty?
Posted by Brackynews
@Levio said:
" No wonder they marketed it so much, they were hoping a ton of people would buy it day 1 before finding out it's not worth it. "
That is indeed how it works, particularly when combined with late review copies. And moving the date ahead of a Rockstar title is probably the only way to salvage this month. It's just a damn shame about PSN, but at least it's one of 3 platforms.
I can certainly say I didn't even know what this game was going to look like before I saw the quicklook. Other than the name, the kind of game it is wasn't even on my radar. The last game I remember having that happen was Vanquish.
Posted by Vodun
God dammit GB, just remove the score system! Every fucking review has this discussion of "HAHA FUCK THAT GAME IT ONLY GOT X STARS AND I'M SO COOL FOR NOT BUYING IT" countered by "YOU DIDN'T SEE THE AWESOME BITS YOU FAIL AS A CRITIC".

Force these assholes to actually read the text and form an opinion on if it's for them. I haven't played the game, but I'm going to because the negative points brought up in the review aren't turn-offs for me, and the potential for actual team play is enough to warrant a purchase for me.
Posted by Jost1

Why is there even a defense force for this game? Where do Brink fans come from? Every comment section I've seen for this game has had people defending it.

Posted by FoxMulder
@Vodun said:
" God dammit GB, just remove the score system! Every fucking review has this discussion of "HAHA FUCK THAT GAME IT ONLY GOT X STARS AND I'M SO COOL FOR NOT BUYING IT" countered by "YOU DIDN'T SEE THE AWESOME BITS YOU FAIL AS A CRITIC".

Force these assholes to actually read the text and form an opinion on if it's for them. I haven't played the game, but I'm going to because the negative points brought up in the review aren't turn-offs for me, and the potential for actual team play is enough to warrant a purchase for me.
"
Then go buy the game and quit complaining!  Some may just look at the score and it is enough for them.  Let people do what they want to do and stop being a troll.  Buy Brink and enjoy it if you do, why do you care if other people don't?
Edited by clstirens
@josty81 said:

" Why is there even a defense force for this game? Where do Brink fans come from? Every comment section I've seen for this game has had people defending it. "

I don't own the game, and don't plan to buy it unless a price drop occurs  (like, I won't pay more than $20 USD).  I like the way the game appears to play, and the idiot bots don't appear to be that bad. (especially considering how they are supposed to become better with more players, and with more higher ranked players).

The damage the weapons do seems GOOD. I don't like how slow the kills are in halo, but they are often too quick in call of duty for some objectives to be reasonable, such as those in Brink.  It's a very flawed game that happens to hit a nitch that doesn't exist in any modern shooter.

EDIT: Perhaps TF2 and Monday Night Combat DO hit that nitch... Maybe it's just that it isn't a flooded nitch?
Posted by WinterSnowblind
@josty81 said:
" Why is there even a defense force for this game? Where do Brink fans come from? Every comment section I've seen for this game has had people defending it. "
Most likely people who pre-ordered the game and got it before reviews went up..  They have to defend their purchase.

In fairness, the game doesn't look too bad.  I'm personally completely sick of the genre, but if you're a fan, I could see why they're might be something appealing about this.  But not much, I watched a few gameplay demonstrations on youtube and it immediately killed any interest I had.
Posted by ptys

I love how the Soccer/Football Hooligan is now world renowned, LOL!

Posted by CosmicQueso
@WinterSnowblind said:
" @josty81 said:
" Why is there even a defense force for this game? Where do Brink fans come from? Every comment section I've seen for this game has had people defending it. "
Most likely people who pre-ordered the game and got it before reviews went up..  They have to defend their purchase.
So wait, people can't actually *gasp* really like it?  I've been having a great time with it.  There's a learning curve and the objective stuff isn't for everyone but there's a really cool game here.  But that's alright, don't think for yourself.  Let the reviewers and all their parrots tell you what to think.  Enjoy!
Posted by WinterSnowblind
@CosmicQueso: You just took what I said completely out of context.  I said that's one reason people defend games, I hardly implied that everyone who likes Brink is a moron, and I actually went on to say that I can see why people do like it.  Thanks for leaving that part out.

But just because you like it, why should everyone else?  Wouldn't that just be parroting your opinion?  I gave the game a chance, didn't like it and agree with the review.  Feel free to write your own telling people why you did like it.
Posted by Delusibeta

From what I've read (including this review), it seems that the console versions are a bust, but the PC version is quite a bit better. As long as you realise that it's Enemy Territory again, and not Skyrim or something else.

Posted by TwoLines

Wow, 2 stars is pretty darn low. But if that's how he felt about it... *shrug*

Posted by Dimorgh

Great review

Posted by itsjoncharles

Pretty surprised. Glad I haven't ordered this already or, worse, trade in Portal 2 for it!

Posted by afrofools

I guess only the Bethesda development team works well under Bethesda, hopefully ID changes this trend. Since I have not spent money on this game and therefore have no bias - I feel sorry for the hard working employees of Splash Damage.

Online
Posted by LordCmdrStryker
@WinterSnowblind said:
Most likely people who pre-ordered the game and got it before reviews went up..  They have to defend their purchase.
Let me be one to throw my purchase under the bus!

I was completely underwhelmed with this game.  I guess I bought the hype from the devs, but I really expected something more interesting.  The shooting is terrible.  It takes twenty shots to kill a guy.  There are a whole bunch of guns but they all look and work the same.  There are a lot of character customization options, but all the dudes look the same.  The traversal feels slow and clunky, not nearly as fun as Mirror's Edge which was released two and a half years ago.  Like Jeff said the bots are dumb as dirt, which means that the single player portion of the game is nearly unplayable.  The multiplayer doesn't feel like anything other than a series of objectives cribbed from better games like Team Fortress 2.

If I was assed to write a review I'd give it one star.  At least I got it for 25% off on D2D.
Edited by Dogstar060763

Hmmm. Jeff is one of the few game journalists I've read to correctly cite Splash Damage's previous game, ET:QW, in comparison to Brink. The two are indelibly linked by some very deep DNA in terms of game mechanics and even game tech (idTech4). The similarities are not to be underestimated: this is ET:QW in all but name, with a new art style and few fancy gimmicks (SMART). The same old objective-based mission structure is there, the same character roles are there and the same absence of any meaningful SP is there.

Personally, I can't agree with Jeff's final score for Brink (which I consider is a bit mean) and I struggle to see the same litany of failures he (and many others, it seems) reports. Brink isn't perfect - that I concede - and one can only hope Splash Damage will quickly patch the most glaring problems such as lag and graphical issues, whilst continuing over the longer term to improve the game in any number of ways, but it is a very-well realised game with a ton of potential still to be tapped. Perhaps it should have been kept in the workshop for another six months of polish and QA, but all that's moot now; the game is here and, sadly, it might have to stand or fall by the imperfect impression it seems to be leaving in these early days.

I wish Splash Damage (fellow Brits) all the best and urge them to redouble their efforts to fix the rips in Brink. It's a game well worth saving.

Posted by Guided_By_Tigers

I'll be picking up Brink in the bargain bin when it gets there.

Posted by Guided_By_Tigers

And it looks like gamebomb.ru got its review/preview right.

Posted by benu302000

Dwaaaaaaym... That's all I'mma say right now.

Posted by DaBuddaDa

 Yet another game ships 6 months + too early to appease quarterly earnings statements. Add it to the pile.

Posted by mewstu

So.... Shadowrun?

Posted by Sammo21

Let me just say that this review is REAL TALK.  I own this game and have played through almost all of the campaign missions and its horrendous.  If they could at least fix the netcode for the game it would help out tremendously.

Posted by sharma55
@Darkstar614 said:
" Yeah I find it somewhat offensive that the game gets shafted with 2 stars because of xbox connectivity and other things. I've been playing this on the PC for a while and it's pretty fun and easy to invite friends to the game with Steamworks.I don't really think it's fair in this day and age to criticize a game for guns and grenades not sounding "satisfying" as Jeff put it. It seems to vary greatly from person to person. I, for one, thought all the CoD guns sounded "weak" and "unsatisfying". And I don't think Brink's sound any better or worse. Not every shooter needs to have every explosion and gunshot sounds that drown out all the other audio.Brink does have its flaws, but I would have assumed 3 stars for this, not 2.. 2 is basically saying the game is busted and not worth anyone's time. "
Well, you say it's wrong to say that guns don't sound satisfying as it varies from person to person, but a review is just someone's opinion on the game. It's up to you to agree or disagree with what they think and if you think the guns sound fine then enjoy your game. 
Posted by Akeldama
@sammo21 said:
" 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. "
You don't seem to understand how this works. Jeff has been playing this game for a little longer than you think. Developers send out review copies sometimes weeks in advance of launch.
Posted by Sammo21
@Akeldama: You really didn't even bother to read what I put down...based on your wording you think I am accusing Jeff of an erroneous review?  Look again...

" 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. " 

 Jeff is in the gaming media...user reviews are not.  Which is exactly what I typed.  Gaming press/media reviews that go up on the day of release are valid as it is assumed, especially in Jeff's case as we can see in the quick look, that reviewers will put adequate time into a game to judge it...user reviews are typically made before regular joes get the game...just like the Brink user reviews were up sometime around noon and later.  Please read before you assume I don't understand.

A new study was just released that shows 1/2 of Detroit are functionally illiterate.  I was shocked but then I saw your reply.

Posted by Branthog

I think a two-star might be just a bit harsh. It's a decent and competent game with a lot of failings. It's a game I'd be willing to see a second attempt on, but not a game I intend to spend a lot more time on after having beat it (in Campaign with random co-op players).

My biggest complaint is that the game moves very slow. They presented it as a fast-moving experience with a lot of almost parkour elements. Instead, you feel big and slow and the only "parkour" elements are when you jump over things. Jumping over things isn't special, here. It's just like jumping over a barricade in Gears or anything else. There's no series of fast and smooth transitions from one place to another and it feels a lot like every other shooter, in that regard.

Worse, if you make the mistake of choosing a "heavy" body style (which you can unlock), then you can't move fast at all. You can't sprint. You just walk. Not a huge deal, because the strength and defense can come in handy during some parts of battle. Unfortunately, I don't think you can switch back. At least, I've tried to find where I can change my body type back to Normal or Light and haven't seen it.

Other than that, it's a game world that had a lot of potential that was only very shallowly explored, the weapons are okay but not worth much of a mention, and the gameplay is average but not competing on the top tier of today's FPS.

On a side note, you can ignore that stupid comment they made during the Brink quick look about how it has a "introduction that lasts at least 20 minutes, because my controller shut off at least twice". That's bullshit. My wireless controller didn't time out at all and the introduction was more like three to five minutes long.

Anyway, it's a solid middle of the road game that won't keep me playing much more, but that I'd give another look at if they made a second attempt. Lots of potential.

Posted by Branthog
@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. "
When I played the game today, it was almost entirely with actual people and it was a really solid (though not exceptional or great or remarkable) experience. Especially after trying to play the first two campaign maps with bots (which left me nearly ready to take the disc out and not play anymore). Seems like it'd get boring after so many times through the same maps and goals, though. So few games accomplish the type of enjoyable repetition that something like Counter-Strike manages to accomplish.
Posted by hurrikenux
@Branthog said:
" @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. "
When I played the game today, it was almost entirely with actual people and it was a really solid (though not exceptional or great or remarkable) experience. Especially after trying to play the first two campaign maps with bots (which left me nearly ready to take the disc out and not play anymore). Seems like it'd get boring after so many times through the same maps and goals, though. So few games accomplish the type of enjoyable repetition that something like Counter-Strike manages to accomplish. "
It isn't any more repetitive than capture the flag can be on the same maps, in fact there are a few different mode to mix things up - I haven't even tried Stopwatch yet.  That being said, yes the AI is HORRIBLE.  It seems only Unreal Tournament got AI right, it may not seem that way now but those bots seemed really damn smart when I'd play them for practice before online games.  Now I can't even play against bots, the Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 ones are also straight out of the sh**ter.  Thank goodness the PC version of Brink allows for bots to be disabled in servers, the all-human games are much much better.
Posted by PieGuy

I saw there was hype around this, suprised to see what a flop it is. Sorry for those who were looking forward to it.
What if Skyrim flops =O Couldn't happen. . . Could it?

Posted by Druminator

Looked dumb anyway.

Posted by Brad
@Branthog said:
"On a side note, you can ignore that stupid comment they made during the Brink quick look about how it has a "introduction that lasts at least 20 minutes, because my controller shut off at least twice". That's bullshit. My wireless controller didn't time out at all and the introduction was more like three to five minutes long."
Try deleting your Xbox cache, load up the game offline, and tell me how long that video is. Over 20 minutes, right? They patched it out on day one. You may want to consider alternative scenarios in the future before you go off half-cocked and call bullshit on our comments.
Staff
Posted by sandweed

how annoying are the operatives ability to disguise? It's what killed TF2 for me.

Posted by Ben99
@Unknown_Pleasures: 
is this site legit ? I heard it was just a joke 
Edited by ProfessorEss
@Brad said:

" @Branthog said:

"On a side note, you can ignore that stupid comment they made during the Brink quick look about how it has a "introduction that lasts at least 20 minutes, because my controller shut off at least twice". That's bullshit. My wireless controller didn't time out at all and the introduction was more like three to five minutes long."
Try deleting your Xbox cache, load up the game offline, and tell me how long that video is. Over 20 minutes, right? They patched it out on day one. You may want to consider alternative scenarios in the future before you go off half-cocked and call bullshit on our comments. "
I started up the game, refused the update and yes, the tutorial video was just short of 25 minutes.
Posted by FuriousJodo

Seems the PC version is coming out a lot better than the console versions.  I think dedicated servers, lower price point (Most people I know got it at like 40$ with preorder deals), and a stronger community because of all the ET people jumping on it.


I am enjoying the game quite a lot so far, but I do agree that it isn't worth 60$, seems that is even more so the case on the consoles.

It's unfortunate but I do hope that the Giant Bomb guys give the PC version a try.
Posted by FuriousJodo
@sandweed said:
" how annoying are the operatives ability to disguise? It's what killed TF2 for me. "
You need to kill the person completely first and then it takes a second to take their disguise.  I haven't had too much trouble with it yet.  Seems like it works fine but isn't too powerful or anything.  
Posted by iAmJohn
@sandweed said:
" how annoying are the operatives ability to disguise? It's what killed TF2 for me. "
What, is spy checking too hard for you or something?
Posted by Bulletzen

This review was actually embarrassing. Jeff just stick to what you know. Borderlands and Mortal Kombat. If you really want to review the game then let it be late and play the game with other people not stupid bots. Wait for the Call Of Duty crowd to disappear (usually about a week), then play with people who know about teamwork.
Like I said earlier. Plain embarrassing.

Posted by Xpgamer7

I think with some weapon and AI fixing on a patch all those problems could be fixed.

Posted by PrioritySeven
@Bulletzen said:
" This review was actually embarrassing. Jeff just stick to what you know. Borderlands and Mortal Kombat. If you really want to review the game then let it be late and play the game with other people not stupid bots. Wait for the Call Of Duty crowd to disappear (usually about a week), then play with people who know about teamwork.Like I said earlier. Plain embarrassing. "
Any specifics on how "this review was actually embarrassing"?  Or are the jabs at Jeff the only thing you're offering here?
Posted by pot
@Brad said:
"
                @Branthog said:
"On a side note, you can ignore that stupid comment they made during the Brink quick look about how it has a "introduction that lasts at least 20 minutes, because my controller shut off at least twice". That's bullshit. My wireless controller didn't time out at all and the introduction was more like three to five minutes long."
Try deleting your Xbox cache, load up the game offline, and tell me how long that video is. Over 20 minutes, right? They patched it out on day one. You may want to consider alternative scenarios in the future before you go off half-cocked and call bullshit on our comments.
            "

Owned, good one.
Edited by sado

I would like to see Jeff check out the PC version and hear his comments on it. On my end I have had almost no problems with it on the issues he mentioned in the review (except for the dumb AI).

Posted by w34ky

anyone else notice they were playing with hutch

Posted by sandweed
@iAmJohn: Yes, I'm a big gay baby.
Posted by kkotd

Wow... I mean what the hell... The game is fun, it's definitely got some really great points, sure it's not a 'revolutionary' game but it's far better than a 2 star game. It's a competent online multiplayer shooter.