In every game genre there are simulations and then arcade games. For every Gran Turismo or Forza, there is a Need For Speed. For every NBA game there’s an NBA Jam (well, there hasn’t been until recently but thank goodness that series is back). Now, to compete with the success of Call of Duty and Battlefield there is BRINK.
Oh – PC gamers, I know you get loads of arcade shooters like Team Fortress, but for argument’s sake put aside your ‘PC is better!’ argument and feel sorry for a tortured console gamer.
Brink takes the current explosion of class-based shooters (you know; the engineer, medic, assault classes etc) and throws it in a mix of random objectives on hectic maps while borrowing ideas from other games in the genre.
In terms of the classes there’s not much new there, other than the ‘operative’ class and their capability to disguise themselves as the enemy.
There are a large range of guns, from memory around 40. Problem is, they all feel the same, they all do minimal damage and they all have large recoil.
“But this is an arcade game, the aim is to attract new gamers to the genre!” you may cry. To which I reply: watering down guns is not the way to attract new people. The complaints of unskilled shooters is not ‘I kill other people too easily’. Remember the Quake and Unreal series? Those were great arcade shooters, and they had plenty of weapons which could kill your enemies with one shot.
What makes people get into arcade shooters, in my opinion, is allowing them to die and re-spawn so quickly they can’t even think about how often they’re dying. BRINK kinda does and doesn’t do this. When you’re killed, you can select to wait for a medic to revive you – which could take two seconds or 30 – or wait 10 seconds and re-spawn immediately.
Being given the capability to select is one of the good ideas incorporated into this game. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve blurted out a foul-mouthed outburst after a Battlefield medic has revived me for the third time to use me as a meatshield when I just want to switch classes (by the way, if you do this, I will switch to the other team, hunt you down, and knife you. Several times. Definitely.)
It’s kind of a shame this option of ‘choice’ didn’t continue to other aspects of the game, like team orders in the single-player campaign.
The way the AI works – for both sides – is this: if there is an objective, they run toward it like futuristic Lemmings with guns and get mowed down, re-spawn, and do it all again, making progress a slow torturous experience. If they are defending the objective, they stand around doing nothing until they either see someone or are shot at, in which case all of a sudden 10 of them appear to mow down a single solitary enemy.
The map design is perfect to grant people to flank the other team, so it’d be great if AI team orders had been incorporated. There’s only so many times you can tolerate following your AI team-mates (at max two of them will be medics, by the way, and they’ll helpfully lead the charge and be the first to die) along the same route until they hit a chokepoint.
I actually had a fair few disagreements with friends who love the game about these points. “But the whole point of the game is to encourage teamwork with your on-line mates!”
I’m sorry, but a game with a levelling system which only grants you to focus your attentions to one class if you’re gonna max it out, and requires you to create a new character and go through all the same missions to get them to a high level does not promote teamwork. It promotes “nah I’m not gonna do that engineer objective because I’ve levelled up as a soldier and my engineer is so useless I’ll be killed even faster than normal”. Add to this the fact you can’t change characters in game, only classes, and you’ve got an aggravating, annoying experience which can only be fixed by changing the levelling system.
On the actual game levels, they’re kinda cool. The parkour style of the SMART system has its benefits (and also its drawbacks). It’s quite fun to be able to jump from the top level of a map over a railing to the bottom and surprising everyone with a hail of bullets (though as covered above, you’ll be lucky to kill anyone).
The game seems to be geared towards a fight or flight mentality, as you’ll benefit more if you strike from one area, escape, then attack from another angle. But in my opinion that’s quite detrimental to the entire FPS experience. I want to attack attack attack, not run away!
It’s a shame because I can see the potential in BRINK, and there are definitely quite a few unique ideas – and some which are clearly sampled – which, if they’d been pulled together properly and worked on would have made for a great game experience. Unfortunately, they don’t, and the game is simply nowhere near what FPS fans anticipate at this point in time.
:: Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
:: Format: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
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Submited at Friday, May 27th, 2011 at 4:00 am on XBOX by madison
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