It's been said many times that there are no original ideas left in this world. Every idea just keeps rolling over into different things whether it be a movie, book or, in this case, a game. I'd like to think we still have original thought that exists, but Brink sure doesn't help to give me confidence in the statement. That means if Brink isn't original, then it has to be good, because it has also been said that it's better to be good than original. And Brink is good.... kind of.
Brink has gotten some mediocre reviews, and to be honest it's deserved those scores. The game has flaws that are very obvious, but I still had a lot of fun with it. The objective based gameplay, class system, online system and the game's style all have a lot of stuff to like. Where the game falls apart is in its repetitive nature and terrible, terrible AI. The game also poorly implements the free running aspect which it borrowed (to put it politely) from Mirror's Edge.
The most obvious thing you will notice when starting up Brink is its unusual style. The game features human characters but they are hyper-stylized to the point of almost being comical. Bodies and faces are extremely long and features like a change in body type from normal to skinny are over-exaggerated. It might sound like I am negative on the character models, but overall they actually work pretty well and help to let Brink at least look different than the games which it is copying from. The world you play in is set in the future. If you can imagine taking Mirror's Edge's nice, clean lines and turning them into curves, you'd have an idea of what to expect. The main difference in Brink's world is it uses a lot more of a color palette than Mirror's Edge did, which helps it to feel like not too much of a copycat. I was honestly impressed with some of the level design from a futuristic mall, to an office building and then onto a grimy dock location.
The parkour, or free-running, aspect of the game is its other big copy from Mirror's Edge. It was touted and promoted by the game's devs as something that would have a big impact on the game, but it just doesn't. To free-run you press down on the left stick and you can use X to jump over things or on to platforms. The game will automatically slide you under tight spaces. I found myself rarely even using it unless I just wanted to jump over something to have a bit of a short-cut. Watching the AI use it is kind of funny, because they do it in wide open areas and tend to just slide into walls or right into enemy fire. I am sure people who get really good at this game will find a way to make this do something for them, but I just didn't see the point through most of my time with the game.
The other game Brink takes inspiration from is Killzone. Instead of just standard death matches or capture points, Brink focuses on objectives. The objectives will switch from protecting a point, hacking a safe, escorting a tank (or person) or picking something off to drop it somewhere else. None of this is ground breaking, but it works for what it is. The only problem is that once you are done with the missions, you are going to find it hard to find a reason to go back. The game's online is, unfortunately, already pretty dead, so most of the time you are just going to be playing with the game's AI bots, which, are dumb.... to put it lightly. Also similar to Killzone, and hundreds of other shooters, is the game's class system. You can be your standard engineer, solider, medic, or operative (spy). The classes work hand-in-hand to complete the different objectives with certain classes only being able to finish certain tasks.
I've mentioned online quite a bit and Splash Damage attempted to do something unique in that it can be a 100% online or 100% offline experience. You can play missions online in a co-operative format or competitive mode. You can decide to just skip online and have fun with the game on your own. The system seemed to work well while I played the game, it was just not very active as people have probably moved on to better games. While playing offline, or even online with bots, it is here you will find the game's biggest flaw. It's stupid. The enemy AI is a pack of geniuses and the guys on your side run into walls and just keep chugging forward like nothing is in their way. I can't say the AI is all bad, but it certainly can be very dumb when you need it to help. When playing with bots I found that, for a lot of objectives, I'd have to switch to the class that required them, because my AI teammates were not interested in doing them. It was particularly frustrating on one mission which I had to do over and over again because my AI team would just give up or be too dumb to do anything objective based.
The game has a decent selection of weapons, but they all felt pretty generic. They were all similar to any other assault rifle, SMG or shotgun you've used plenty of times before. For the most part the abilities you can unlock under each class aren't much different then you have seen in other shooters as well. You can get turrets, different mines or grenades and boost stats like the ability to heal better or run faster. Even though there isn't anything new about the class system, I thought the abilities and unlocks were great things worth working towards.
Brink has the base of what could be a very good game but I don't think it did well enough to warrant a sequel. You can just see that if you were able to get two well organized teams of humans together, it could be quite a bit of fun. But since you are stuck with bots most of the time, that never really happens. Instead, the enemy AI will almost always magically organize into a super group with a minute left on the timer for an objective. And when that happens, you need to be ready or they will take you down, which takes you out of the game. Your team isn't going to help you when you aren't there.
Despite its flaws, I had fun in Brink's world. I didn't mention the story, because honestly it doesn't even matter. Post-apocalyptic world, you need to save the arc and blah, blah, blah. The game is an objectives based shooter, what did you expect? The story is paper thin but it won't add or detract to your experience. If you are willing to forgive the bad AI you could probably get a good 10 hours out of the game, but there isn't much of a reason to go back for more unless trying for platinum. It's some dumb fun, but there are worse things than dumb fun. If you love the genre and you really like objective based shooters it's worth buying as it's under $10 now.
Story & Presentation:
Bare-bones story of two factions fighting for what is "right". The presentation and menus are pretty high quality.
The game has some nicely designed maps. Character models are unique and a little goofy, but work.
There are AI issues but I enjoyed the objective based matches and the class system has cool things to unlock.
Nothing awesome about it, the audio portion of the game is adequate.
Really an easy list especially with help from friends. The trophies are heavily focused on in game activities which I enjoy.