There are two factions in the Brink game, the “security” and the “rebels” and that’s what I’ll pretty much all there is to it. If you choose to play as the guards, then the rebels are portrayed as terrorists, kidnapping and injecting those hostages with nuerotoxins that will kill them if you don’t complete certain tasks in order to rescue them in an alloted time frame. If on the other hand, you choose to play as the rebels, you’ll find your actions are toned down and entirely justified, you are attempting to free yourself from the indoctrination of the arc and the heavy-handed abuse suffered at the hands of the security forces.
If you’ve read my previous reviews, or listened to our podcasts, you’ll have seen I quite like my co-operative storylines to tie into the main games storyline. Well, here the solo campaign, the co-op and the multiplayer are pretty much all one in the same (more of that come gameplay) but the stories between the two factions don’t even tie together, so you can rightly assume that I’m not a big fan.
I didn’t really follow this game all that closely pre-release and there is very little by way of presentation or through gameplay that makes me care much about the overall struggle to win back, or escape, the Arc. Seeing as this kind of dilemma is the heart of so much Science-Fiction there really shouldn’t be that much of a difficulty behind it. It’s been done plenty in other games, and done better. I can’t tell if the game is trying (and failing) to portray the dilemma between “terrorist” and “freedom fighter” or if it simply doesn’t care.
Due to the games inability to make this point clearly, it leaves me not caring!
There isn’t much in terms of atmospherics, that I could notice, but perhaps that’s because the guns sound so damn awesome, there is a real crunch and clunk and bang-banging going on and it is the most absorbing thing about the game for me. Characters shout commands to one another and there are transmissions through your comms when the enemy are capturing an objective.
Player voices are fairly ranged, however some of them are pretty oddly applied. I made the whitest, nerdiest looking character I could and gave him the heavy jamaican accent. Thumbs up for humour, but down for continuity. And all those who claim that what I’ve just said is racist, “Lawd mi Gad, bwoy, no bodda bawlin’.Llif mi nuh”
There is no denying this game looks good, especially at first galnce. The player models in the customisation screens are pretty cool to look at and all that detail transfers well to the main game. The same goes for the gun upgrades. However, there is nothing in this that I haven’t seen before. The stylising of the characters just appears to be a customisation step forward from Team Fortress two, or anyone who played “APB” (which is going free to play at some point, so likely many of you will see it at some point) will find little new in this game. As for gun upgrades, “Army of Two, 40th Day” did the same thing, maybe not quite as many upgradable options, but these things are old hat now.
On my system, the game doesn’t quite run smooth, it is almost there, with the effects turned down as much as the in game settings will allow. I’m sure there is probably a customisation file I can tweak the settings of in the game folder, but how many casual players will be able to do this?
I’ll talk about the smart system later, but it’s worth mentioning here because while the first-person view of clambering up a crate or leaping and catching, then climbing over a ledge all looks very good, watching somebody else do this, only to have their player model switch between ‘laying down mid-air’ to ‘standing on the ledge’ during this climbing process is fairly ridiculous.
And for all those customisable options, the game gets the simplest things wrong. Grenade and Molotov blasts look feeble. Glass doesn’t break when shot, surfaces are poorly textured; most of the game looks like it borrowed it’s palette from the first Portal, which works only as a test chamber environment, not as open world dystopean future setting. While that sort of setting might work in a game like Mass Effect 2, the gameplay and story reinforce that surrounding and suddenly that looming sense of clenliness takes on a double meaning. In a game with such poor story delivery, this kind of texturing just seems lazy!
I may have exagerated slightly, but when you’re playing the game you’ll probably get my point. I just don’t feel immersed in the action the way I should be. And that’s aof real importance when the gameplay is so poor (see below)
Dear, oh dear.
Let’s get this straight, the multiplayer (if you can get into it) is one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in a while, it beats the “realism” heavy games that are out there, and really does really on team play to get the best results.
Solo play, though, is just multiplayer with bots, I couldn’t help but think back to Quake 3 Arena for a more disappointing delivery of single-player Vs multiplayer gaming. Co-operative gameplay is exactly the same. And when your team AI is as poor as these guys are, that’s going to be a big downfall. The computer controlled AI won’t attempt to flank with you, and if it does it’ll be completely haphazard. I’ve actually had to rage quit the game in frustration a couple of times just due to the stupidity of the AI. Does the computer enemy suffer the same problem? No, because what they do is camp the objective. Need to escort an NPC, should be easy right, unless he should die around a blind corner with no way of getting your team-mates to flank, leaving the 20minute timer to wear away with you trying to single-handedly outshoot a team of 8, while those you kill reinforce from behind you, all the qhile screaming “FOR CHRISTS SAKE, RUSH YOU MORONS!” at your computer counterparts!
But what of the “smart-system” that helps your player get anywhere is just an improved sprint. It’s like “climbing” for dummies. What’s wrong with hitting the jump button when looking at a ledge in order to climb over it like all the other games do? This is NOT an innovative gameplay tool and it’s not enough to justify the hype surrounding this game.
There is plenty in the way of character customisation, unfortunately you have ridiculously limited choices within the early game, which means you have to play through the challenge modes, levelling your character and advancing your rank to unlock more content. Which is a major limiting factor. I’ve nothing against “game to unlock” but don’t sell the game on content only to hide away most of it. Pretty much all other games give you enough to play around with then have that much more to unlock. This game doesn’t, the options are there to see at the start, and there really aren’t that many. You choice of outfit goes from 3 opening choices to 10 or so upon unlocking. That’s not unlimited choice.
As already mentioned, the difference between the solo, co-op and multiplayer is nil. You play the same missions over and over (pretty much worded that way in the tutorial and mouse-tips). Campaign lets you play the missions in order, Freestyle let’s you play them in any order while tweaking objectives. Multiplayer is a mix of the above. That isn’t a lot of content. That’s the same content recycled. It’s like leftovers for dinner all week. It’s disappointing, boring and limited in scope. The one saving grace is that there is plenty of room for expansion. But that’s like saying an empty plot of land could make a great house one day.
In the gameplay section, I hinted at “if you can get into the multiplayer”. For a game so heavily focused on providing multiplayer over solo (as this undoubtedly has, regardless of any marketing spiel directed otherwise) you’d think they’d have a simplified method of hosting a server. Not so, we at DogHouseGamer followed the forums in order to open the relevant ports through our modems and routers, allowing the game through various firewalls and even attempted disabling those blocks altogether (albeit breifly, would-be hackers!) and were still unable to host a private game. Poor, poor, poor on the developers side! And before you berate us for being noobs, check the various forums and you’ll see this is a problem affecting many players of the game.
So.I didn’t like this very much. You got that right.. this is how much I didn’t like it:
Want to do some free-running? Go play Assassins Creed 2.
Want to do some fun, team based multiplayer shooting within a brilliantly class balanced game? Team Fortress Two.
Want to enjoy a solo-shooter gaming experience? Play any of the multiple other choices. Seriously, this game has nothing to offer in this area!