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  1. #1

    Thumbs up Brink Pure TeamWork

    Splash Damage's Brink is a multiplayer game. This cannot be stressed enough. It might sound obvious; it's an objective-based team game after all. And even though there's a plot and a Campaign mode – a stalwart single player institution – it's important not to mistake Brink for a game that is fun to play alone. It can be played alone, make no mistake; there are AI-controlled bots that fill the roles of absent players, and one can take on a rival team alongside these bots, but it's not the point of the game. And honestly, it's not particularly fun. If you're not interested in playing with other people then it's best to stop here. Brink wasn't designed for you.

    Following on from Splash Damage's work on various multiplayer maps and the massively popular Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory (and the less-popular Enemy Territory: Quake Wars), it's no surprise that Brink is a title centred around team play with other people. The game sees two teams of 8 battling across a variety of objectives, in a series of 16 levels made up of 2 campaigns: Security and Resistance. Each level has a series of missions to complete, from hacking terminals and disabling security bots to guarding doors and stealing vital info from under the other team's nose.

    In order to complete these objectives, players adopt one of four character classes; Soldier, Engineer, Medic or Operative. Soldiers are able to plant explosives, can hurl molotov cocktails and buff other players' ammo. Engineers can increase weapon damage, build and repair barricades and whatnot, and construct defenses such as turrets and minefields. Medics can provide health boosts, heal, and revive team mates. Operatives can disguise themselves as a member of the enemy team and hack electronics. Each of the classes has more to discover, abilities that are purchased via tokens earned by leveling up, and the sheer scope of abilities is offset by the fact the tokens are sparsely distributed (especially at later levels) meaning that there are numerous different ways to tailor a character to your playing style. Missions can be tackled on and offline in Campaign mode, or played with differing and custom rulesets in Freeplay.

    The application of these classes comes in a number of flavours. Some objectives will require an engineer, but the team also needs Soldiers, Medics and Operatives to provide support. Every class has a primary objective they're best suited for, but taking in an entire team of 8 Engineers for a Repair objective will never work. The game is designed to require teamwork, a well balanced team, communicative play. Of course, voice communication comes in massively handy in Brink, as it's a game that really requires you to work together, but the game does a good job of telling you what needs to be done as well. Accessing a Command Post allows you not only to change your class mid-game without requiring a respawn, but also tells you how many other instances of that class are currently on your team. If a primary objective requires a Soldier, but the radial wheel shows that there are already, for example, 4 Soldiers in the field, then taking on one of the other roles may be a good bet. It's a simple, effective system which is perhaps overcomplicated in explanation, and far more intuitive in-game. Numerous aspects of Brink appear more convoluted on paper than they are in practise.

    As a more thoughtful alternative to other multiplayer FPSes on the market, Brink really shines. It's a game about teamwork in which teamwork is massively rewarded. There's no competing to nab XP; it's divvied up fairly, rewarded for pretty much every meaningful in-game action. Nobody has an advantage. The level cap may be relatively low; 20 levels which you can feasibly obtain within a week or so, but the fun comes from leveling multiple characters, customising different loadouts, trying out the vast array of weapons and unlocking weapon attachments via the short but enjoyable Challenge Mode, which tasks you and up to three other players with completing a series of different set challenges.
    There's plenty to do in Brink, then, as long as you're not doing it by yourself. If you can look past the occasionally rough exterior, and the inexplicable absence of lobbies, there's a truly exciting, compelling multiplayer experience to be found here. Playing Brink is the easiest way to love Brink. It's not so much a rival to certain other FPSes as it is an alternative; balancing fast movement with lengthy, multi-layered missions. If Brink grabs you, it'll grab you hard. Even though the lack of polish is at times a disappointment, beneath the occasional annoyance is a fantastic and refreshing shooter that offers something different to the norm. It's standing on the precipice of true brilliance, and one can only hope that in time Splash Damage is able to push it over the edge.

  2. #2
    Community Administrator Jewelz^'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    South East Kent
    Great post! Cant wait to play with the dMw lot!

  3. #3
    Personally I find Brinks tried to tackle a problem that many other games have attempted and often failed, but only manages to succeed through over simplification. Whereas in TF2 (the only other real example I can think of where team play is critical to success of a mission) classes are all unique and special, Brink removes this individuality and slaps each class with the same load out and only changes small things like what buff you give. It works very well in one way, it encourages people to play a class which suits the team because they're not penalised in their weapon choice, but in another way it completely fails. The classes are too similar which means a team of 8 engineers can go and take the fight to the enemy. In TF2 you'd have come across a heavy and lost in a big way, but because every character is the same you're no worse off.
    It's disappointing in a way. I find myself just playing the character that is required to complete the objective. It's a good game and team work is important, but it's just a bit of a shame that the classes have been weighted out of the equation by being made so equal.

    As player tailor their character to better suit them I imagine this will change. If you have the Gatling gun you're better off supporting a solider than become one in many situations. If you can hack turrets as an operative many options open up to you, which simply aren't available with other classes, It's early days for me in terms of what I've unlocked, I'm not at 20 yet, I just hope the unlocks round out the game nicely because right now everyone seems too similar.

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