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Brink Review

Although the brevity of an E3 demonstration only provided a cursory overview of Brink‘s mechanics, a subsequent chat with the title’s developers helped to reveal the title’s ambitions. Building on experience gleaned from both Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, it became evident that Splash Damage sought to elevate the first-person shooter beyond the rudimentary Deathmatch and Capture the Flag rulesets. With gameplay which pledged to blend parkour-maneuverability, adaptive mission structures, and artificial intelligence which was indistinguishable from online players, Brink‘s aspirations were undeniably lofty. Regretfully, a post-patched final retail build struggles to meet those objectives. While the bulk of liability can be attributed to the developers, at least a portion of Brink‘s burden lay with gamers.

With a substantial emphasis on online multiplayer competition, Brink‘s storyline and bookending cinematics are surprising treats. The game’s storyline situates players on The Ark- a sprawling, man-made chain of islands which becomes a fragile outpost when global warming initiates massive global flooding. Following an introductory sequence, gamers align themselves with one of two factions: The Security, a group who intend to use any remaining resources to save the Ark, or The Resistance, a militia hopeful to find refuge beyond the city’s congested walls.

Much of Brink‘s personality stems from the title’s inspired character design, which features long, deftly caricatured faces and a exhaustive arrays of unlockable apparel. Three distinct body types offer more than cosmetic diversity- each dictates both the agility and resiliency of combatants. Likewise, the game’s arsenal is both proficiently rendered and highly customizable. Starting with four basic weapon types, players can add an array of accessories- from red-dot sights, duct-taped clips, grenade launchers, to slings. While the game’s environmental architecture is solid, creating plenty of opportunities for impromptu choke points and interior stand-offs, the textures used to construct these areas are often drab and suffer from sporadic fits of pop-up.

Although the title’s maps aren’t always attractive, the verticality of each stage endows each stage with a plethora of objectives. Beyond having a primary mission in both offline and online games, a press of the directional pad brings up secondary assessments, with both completion and assignment of tasks contingent upon a players class. From engineers that build turrets and barricades to medics who revive fallen comrades, Brink requires a well-balanced team concentrating on a common objective.

Play the game offline, and the title’s bots perform their specific duties admirably- soldiers will plant explosives or buff their teammates ammo. Yet, while your cohorts focus on their individual goals, they often fail to obey the group goal, forcing the player to repeatedly work alone. With a timer closing in on expiration, gamers may find themselves alone in escorting a VIP or hacking an objective, as the AI clashes over a command center. At these moments, aggravation is bound to arise, as teamwork goes disregarded.

Sadly, online experiences fared little better. While a minority of random matches were populated with participants who concentrated on the game’s goals, many more became Modern Warfare-esque fragfests as players neglected objectives and avoided support roles. While fault cannot be attributed to Splash Damage, potential purchasers should be forewarned. Others may be vexed by the lack of any in-game lobbies, making playing with Brink with a group of regular needlessly cumbersome.

Ultimately, any of Brink‘s caveats stem from the game’s noble ambitions. In an attempt to offer a dense alternative to the twitch shooters which permeate the market, the title generally prevails. Yet, when individual  objectives meet group goals, Brink stumbles-  as bots and players show a disturbing lack of esprit de corps. Hopefully, a healthy commitment to patching and an evolving community can make The Ark’s last stand a movement worth caring about.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.


  1. B- seem a bit too nice from what I read.

  2. Deagle, your take on Brink was worth the wait. Totally agree with you.

  3. I dunno, those screens look pretty good to me.

  4. Travis Touchdown

    I’ve heard there’s lag, disappearing textures, and all around goofiness. Why no mention of these things?

  5. Immoral Immortal

    I know its mainly an online game and I guess that’s why I couldn’t see myself paying $60 bucks for this,

  6. Good review, Deagle!

  7. Good review Deagle. Seemed pretty fair to me.

  8. I know this game is getting a lot of hate these days. I think you got to the source of the problem.

    The other thing was the game looked unfinished, any word on that?

  9. so you knocked the game because of the community? That’s not really fair.

  10. really wish Bethesda had a demo for this so I could play it for myself.

  11. Reminds me a lot of TF2. Too bad no one plays that on 360 anymore.

  12. What took you so long to review the game? Other sites had their review up last week.

  13. LastManStanding

    I bought it on launch day. Can’t recommend the game to casual FPS fans but more to those who want something more. Also single-players should stay away- this is a MP game,, mainly. The bots aren’t helpful at all sometimes.

  14. sounds like the game was on the Brink of success.

  15. Teach Me How to Dead Dougie

    Brink is for the hardcore. Noobs need to get off the servers and back to their MW shit.

  16. Once again, Deagle and Garnett Lee kind of sound alike on this one. (For further evidence, listen to both talk about Gatling Gears)

    Old men FTW!

  17. “esprit de corps”?

    Desert loves to throw in at least one French phrase with every review.

  18. MUCH MUCH better than the Joystiq review where the guy didn’t play the game, and then his brother came to defend him.

  19. Refreshing NukeCola

    If you’re reading Joystiq for the reviews- you’re doing it wrong.

  20. not exactly timely, but a good read.

  21. Thats not true for PC players.

  22. Great review Deagle. As always you are the FPS reviewer of choice.

  23. You have it wrong- the bots are just plain stupid. They don’t really do anthing but cling together and shoot.

  24. I saw on Twitter it got lost in the mail. They sent him a new one, I’m assuming.

  25. Thanks, except for that last statement 😉

  26. I didn’t lower the score, but I felt compelled to mention it in the review, as it was a reoccurring experience.

  27. Haters gonna hate!

  28. Primal Ice Cream

    I’m liking it so far, although its an acquired taste.


    Good review, I have to agree.

  30. The patch fixed a lot of things, it seems.