Developer(s) – Splash Damage
Publisher(s) – Bethesda
Designer(s) – Paul Wedgwood, Neil Alphonso & Jamie Manson
Designed to be an innovative first-person shooter unlike any other, Brink was released back in 2011, following the then-recent plethora of critically and commercially acclaimed games in the genre, including BioShock, Borderlands, Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead. Unfortunately for Splash Damage, formerly multiplayer map designers for id Software and developers of the game Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Brink didn’t turn out to be the huge hit many of the developers hyped it up to be, and in my personal opinion, made for one of the worse experiences of the seventh generation of gaming; if not, the worst.
Graphics – 3/10
Whist the visuals may seem technically sound at first glance, the further a player will progress through the game, the more glitches they are bound to come across. There were more than enough instances I encountered to make me think that the game hadn’t even been properly tested and finished. Not only that, but the game is also very bland from a conceptual standpoint as well. I’m sure that many other people who played this, including myself, would’ve thought that id Software’s influence would have rubbed off on the team at Splash Damage a bit more, having worked with them for such a long time, and even handling some of their IPs themselves. But anyone willing to make this assumption now will be sadly mistaken.
Gameplay – 0/10
Whilst trying to bring an element of innovation in terms of gameplay, Splash damage failed miserably by making more negative changes than they could have reasonably hoped that would make for even a half decent first-person shooting experience. Brink’s gameplay centres around a system called S.M.A.R.T; standing for Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain. The idea behind it was to make the game in such a way that players would spend more time running and moving around rather than shooting in order to get to objectives and vantage points fast enough that they wouldn’t be tracked by enemies, and that they would be able to complete allocated jobs as efficiently as possible. The problem is that this completely defeats the object of the game being a first-person shooter at all, as the entire point of playing one is to shoot as many enemies as which stand in the player’s way. Not only that, but the enemy’s AI had been set to such a high level that they will always try to land head shots, and most of the time being successful, which only adds to this game’s unfathomable level of frustration. These elements alone pretty much amounts to this game’s death sentence. If anyone reading this review is sat on the fence about this game, I will offer fair warning that players will spend less time killing and considerably more time dying.
Controls – 4/10
Although there is nothing wrong with the control scheme itself, the game handling as well as most other decent first-person shooters, the problem lies in the fact that it is put to quite ridiculous use in this game. Since there is much less call for shooting, and more call for running, players will get bored very quickly by how redundant the need to press buttons can be. There’s even an option for players to run automatically, and even so, it doesn’t leave even the slightest bit more time for shooting.
Lifespan – 0/10
The main campaign can take about 10 hours to complete on both sides with two different characters, but all I’ll say to anyone reading this is good luck making it through the first ten minutes; not counting if you choose to watch the five-minute video explaining the basic gameplay premise for the sake of a few measly experience points. In a way, I’ve always found it ironic that the developers chose to award players for sitting through what is basically the advert that outlines how terrible this game is; anyone willing to spend that time, which they’ll never get back, deserves a medal.
Storyline – 0/10
The story of Brink revolves around two different factions warring with each other over a man-made floating island called the Ark; the Ark Security faction looking to maintain control over the island, and the Resistance faction looking to protect the Ark’s many refugees, and distribute scarce resources equally. The way I see it, I would have been happy enough if the developers had left it at that, and just had nothing more than a basic premise. But one of very few side quests involve uncovering a lot of the back story of the faction leaders, despite the great lack of character and plot development throughout.
Originality – 2/10
The different jobs and extensive character customisation options throughout the game do provide players with a little bit of variety, but most innovations the developers tried to make just made the game stand out for all the wrong reasons. If they truly wanted to make a game that had a positive impact on the industry in terms of change to gameplay, they needed to get the basics right first. Unfortunately for Splash Damage, id Software would release Rage later on that year, which posthumously blow Brink out of the water, and leave Splash Damage to wallow in video game obscurity.
To sum up, Brink is a grotesque mess of a game, and I wouldn’t even recommend it in the event of gamers having played every other FPS out there, and who still yearn for more of the same. If handled properly, the game may have been even a little bit more than what it turned out to be, but for me in particular, there are far too many errors present for me to either take it seriously, or draw any kind of valid entertainment value from it.