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 MonkeyKing1969

Thanks for the review Jeff. As always you cogently spoke you mind, and I thank you for that.     
Posted by WrathOfBanja

Reminds me of that one review where they forgot to play Chromehounds online.

Posted by mnzy
@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. "
If you have to prepare your gaming session like a mount everest ascent, the game is probably not that good.
Posted by ObiFett
@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. "
All the complaints are not valid.

And the ones he gives reasons for are ridiculous as the reasons can be applied to every other shooter out there.

Basically , this review is horrible.  The game is tons of fun, has sucked many hours of gameplay out of me and will continue to get my gaming time.  Parkour, objective based gamplay,  and customization combined with Amazing opponent AI leads to a fun FPS challenge for me and my friends.  
Posted by TheCheese33
@ObiFett 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. "
All the complaints are not valid.And the ones he gives reasons for are ridiculous as the reasons can be applied to every other shooter out there.Basically , this review is horrible.  The game is tons of fun, has sucked many hours of gameplay out of me and will continue to get my gaming time.  Parkour, objective based gamplay,  and customization combined with Amazing opponent AI leads to a fun FPS challenge for me and my friends.   "
Actually this review is pretty accurate. I traded it in after one day. I've never done that before.
Edited by OkuLaRis

This is a niche game for old enemy territory gamers looking for something new, old Quake Wars players coming over to Brink.
and hopefully some new players join in too.

Shame Jeff didn't like it, doesn't surprise me though.  (Talking about PC version though, dunno what version Jeff reviewed)

Posted by mars188

Worse game for me 2011 Rented it from gamefly thank God i did
Posted by MegaPigeon

Good review (especially considering the quality of some of the reviews Brink got). I agree with some it but feel others are either subjective points (that will obviously differ from player to player) or things that can be fixed down the line. For example, I love the feel of the gun play and the sound design is awesome. The AI is incredibly inconsistent, but this isn't a game I bought for single player, and considering how good it is when it wants to be good it simply needs to be rebalanced. I'm happy with the amount of content, but I only paid £20 for the PC version. I'd say £30 would be acceptable to a certain degree, but I can understand critic's frustration for paying full-price for the console versions, especially when they're obviously far inferior to the PC version. Although the PC version has an inexplicable frame rate cap when you play offline, it's incredibly optimized and the server browser obviously makes it far easier to get into a good game. I'd definitely like Jeff to check out the PC version if possible, as it seems to be the best platform by far at the moment. 

Posted by CosmicQueso
@mars188 said:
" Worse game for me 2011 Rented it from gamefly thank God i did "
As bad as your grammar and spelling?  Wow, must really be bad then.  Put down the games and go to school.
Posted by kevinski
@OkuLaRis said:
" This is a niche game for old enemy territory gamers looking for something new, old Quake Wars players coming over to Brink. "
I've played RtCW and W:ET, enjoying them immensely. I also enjoyed ET:QW, albeit to a lesser extent. I absolutely cannot get into Brink. And yes, I'm playing the PC version. The game just messes with the Wolfenstein and Enemy Territory formula more than it needs to, and the new mechanics don't work as well as they should.
Posted by nihilisticmonkey

Man.... Bums me out that this is getting bad reviews... With the way UK development has gone (Bizarre, Realtime Worlds) I really hope this doesn't sink Splash Damage if it tanks...

Posted by jakonovski

This game should've always been PC only. The devs evidently aren't very good at making console ports, and the PC version is actually a decent game that only needs more content and polish. Hopefully DLC will provide that and keep at least a small community going.

Posted by KimFidler

I agree with Jeff's review.  This game is garbage.

Posted by LethalKi11ler

Game isn't as good as expected even from a big W:ET and ET:QW. AND I HAVE THE ACHIEVEMENTS TO PROVE MY PLAYTHROUGH!

Posted by DamOver

*PLOT SPOILERS* for Brink (Ha) 

Even Brinks most core narrative concepts are flawed at best, during the Brink video ad one soldier says "we must save the arc", thus meaning wipe out vagrants and the such from this idyllic setting. A masked rebel then morns "we must escape the arc", Ok, everybody still with me I hope. This DOESN'T make sense. Just let them leave and give the place a scrub down. 
With this poorly drawn plot (If Brink could be argued to have one) it falls down at the start of the race, and with only eight maps to play with it also seems to have its shoe laces tied together. 

Only played the game at last years Eurogamer expo & it seemed over hyped and unoriginal then. Bar its visual style, which I cannot fault and consider to be a gorgeous idealisation of what a Timesplitters game could look like had EA not closed Free Radical, albeit way wackier. Apologies for turning this supposedly well thought out criticism into a gush about Timesplitters, but what the fuck, Brink is a tedious and repetitive game with a tenth the flair of even the worst of the COD titles and half the assets. Initially interesting idea on single/multiplayer dynamic changes that simply appears nothing more than a lazy way to do half the work. 

The two things that brink does right are not the right things to enjoy longevity from a watered down team based team fortress clone. 

1. Its visuals, which I have already mentioned, but deserve another as they are pretty slick. 

2.Its parkour freedom of movement. This is a nice implementation and post mirrors edge seems to be taking off as a set FPS staple, but theirs even a pitfall in trying to applaud this game for something as simple as "borrowing" a descent game mechanic from another game. This being that once Brink has given you the versatility of movement and speed with which to navigate the environment in a kinetic and awsome way, it says you can only use these to run around a bland & uninspired level. Its like giving you the power of flight and then leashing you to a garden post. 

Well think thats enough rambling for one morning, thanks everyone.    

Posted by Jack_Frost

This game and RAGE remind me a lot of Borderlands.

Maye not in the gameplay area, necessarily, but in general look and theme, definitely.

Posted by MezzerliptikJay

yeah i agree with you guys, its a good game but the bots are terrible at catching objectives and the latency issues online (for the xbox at least) is poor.
Theres also a patch on the way and hopefully it will fix some of the issues...

Posted by apefist

Brink was incredibly disappointing!  All that waiting...

Posted by carljbern

Yeah it may not be the most customizable out there but whats wrong with simple, it throws back to a team fortress system feel. I enjoy not having to worry about worrying about having to level class aspects up.

Posted by kritik

Been way too long since I've heard these 2 sweet voices! Love it.

Edited by heav3nzwarrior

I bought this game and immediately traded it in the next day. I cant stand this game.