Among a busy spring release schedule we find Brink, Bethesda’s latest venture into the first-person shooter market. In the game you really don’t play a specific character because your role in the single-player mode is rather ambivalent. Instead, you accomplish objectives based on your commander’s orders as you try to thwart a terrorist plot from wreaking havoc on the innocent public.
Sound a little abstract? Well, that’s because it is. Brink doesn’t really have a single-player or a multiplayer for that matter. What you have is a single mode, which can be played as a single-player campaign. In this iteration of the game, your teammates and the rest of your squad are AI bots. If you decide to play this mode in multiplayer, your goals are exactly the same but instead of AI bots running around the battlefield, you have human players. The nice thing about designing a game like this is its drop-in, drop-out nature. You don’t have to worry about a player’s connection going bad or late-night sessions running into the early morning hours. You can simply stop playing and the computer will finish your game for you. The bad part about the same functionality is that the story becomes incredibly weak and degenerates to the point of being insignificant.
The better parts of this game come from the customization and upgrade system in place. It is almost RPG-like in feel but has a fair amount of depth that will entice players to keep going for that last objective to level up. This specific system mimics Team Fortress 2 quite a bit with your ability to choose body type. However, Bethesda takes things a step further by restricting the map by body type, so only certain body types can enter certain areas. This addition makes you think about your character beyond how proficient you are at first-person shooters or what weapons to use. Customization is taken another step further with the ability to choose outfits for your character. There are a large number of combinations and colors, so you can have a unique look just for you. Lastly, you have the ability to choose a class to play as. The choices are rather uninspired and you will probably have seen this layout before: as you would expect, Engineers can lay turrets and mines, Medics heal other players, Soldiers have special incendiaries, and Operatives can hack consoles. The twist to all this is how you are able to change classes on the fly through the use of consoles found at your spawn point. This is a nice addition which gives you information such as what players are what class, so if you need more Medics or Engineers then you will know by just opening the screen.
The last thing that doesn’t go over well is the artistic style of the game. It has a cartoon-like appearance, with grossly exaggerated human features which make the characters look awkward. It makes the cut-scenes really distracting, and it would have been much better to have a different, more realistic look for the characters. Sure, the customization of the game helps to offset this specifically, but it still reflects negatively.
Overall, Brink just didn’t get where it needed to get to be a good game. It is definitely playable, and you may even have some fun with this title. You can appreciate how Bethesda tried to think outside of the box, which is commendable, but there is just too much holding this game back for it to join the upper echelon of 2011’s releases. This game is definitely not worth full-price, and interested players would do better to either pick it up cheap or rent it.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Playstation 3 version of Brink by Bethesda Softworks
- Drop-in, Drop-Out Co-op
- Interesting Customization Options
- Awkward Character Design
- Just Isn't a lot of Fun