Game Review: Brink

The quick and dirty review for the impatient – If you play bad company for the objectives, you will enjoy this game. If you play bad company to have cool vehicles and mostly play TDM, you won’t enjoy this game. It’s basically bad company sans vehicles where only the right class can capture the objective at any given time.

First, a story about amazon. I ordered this when it first came out when Amazon was doing double points trade ins. I sent in three games, one of which was previously purchased used. The used game was in good condition. Amazon said the disk was damaged in shipping, which was strange since I shipped it back in a box I got from amazon in the first place to ship me a game. I told their customer service if it’s damaged, I want it back so I can sell it on ebay. They declined, but they did credit me the game as though they spent it. (They eventually sent it back, so I used it as trade at EB Games). I ordered brink and not only did they not ship it in time to get it today, but they shipped me the wrong version. They sent the PS3 version, not the XBOX version. Something happened when they moved the release date up which made them lose the original order, so they just fulfilled it with the PS3 one.

When I asked them to return it, they said that I couldn’t get a refund, I had to accept delivery, relabel it, send it back, then I would be given a credit. I hung up on them. I called them back and got another rep, who I explained my kids ordered the game and it was an unauthorized purchase, and they were happy to give me a full refund. Alright! That’s sweet since walmart has it for $5 cheaper.

Now, the game has a points system for doing stupid crap like watching all the videos. I couldn’t care less. Thankfully they’re about as much as playing a match well so it doesn’t matter. Scoring isn’t an issue, if you like to shoot dudes play assault. If you like to heal the dudes shooting play medic. If you like to uparmor people and buff the guns, possibly placing turrets and generally being a real indirect pain in the ass, be an engineer. If you like to sneak around, be the spy.

Just a note on the medic, you can revive people who are DBNO similar to gears. It works really well since you toss them a syringe and they decide when to use it. The “medic problem” which bad company has where the medic gets you up at the worst time is gone.

And the spy, what does he do? When you’re doing an objective, you undisguise so what good is he? Everyone and everything he sees (friendly, opfor) is shown as an outline on your view. It’s really very useful, it’s like the UAV in bad company. It’s also hilarious to mele people and then dispatch them, but until you unlock the silencers you should avoid that.

Weapons attachments let you go nuts in the game, and there’s a guilty sense of dressup which works out really well. Unlocking a flash hider is sort of like the accessories in Army of Two but they actually do something. Silencers hide you from the map, grenade launchers ruin your day and taped mags are actually taped together. It lets you take a very nice looking gun and stick the worst looking crap on it. It’s very Army of Two without making you feel gay playing it.

Objectives work out well, I don’t have much to complain about except that three people working in a squad tend to dominate. Then again this is what Bad Company has happen also, the public players tend to play the game as team deathmatch while your buddies will actually do the objectives. There’s always one or two main objectives leading to the next mission. While not as broad as Left for Dead in how you get things done and the objective flow, the secondary objectives tend to really give your team an edge. Capturing a supply point moves your spawn or lets you refill ammo or change class. This works well until you realize you’re wasting mission time doing that. Also it’s a great way to get shot which is another thing I object to – if you’re trying to change class, you’re probably doing it for a reason. The fact that you can get grenade stuck while doing it is annoying. At least each starting depot has a set of turrets, but it’s a design annoyance that the first station doesn’t give you invincibility. You can change your class in the pregame menu, but not in a menu after the game starts.

Classes have style, there’s really no hiding in the game as there’s no real outdoor maps. Maps can be so dark it’s hard to get around. It’s OK to be wearing a giant british flag on your body with bracers made from tires and your face painted hunter safety orange – the game is so fast and close there’s no sniping or hiding. Sometimes this gets stupidly tight with accidentally running into the enemy spawn and immediately being sliced to ribbons. Otherwise the players and levels look unique and fresh.

Abilities – cool stuff here. Engineers buff guns, and eventually armor. Some abilities are class specific like that, others are simply neat tricks such as the ability to toss a grenade and lock onto it with the autoaim on the sights to detonate it in mid air. These are fairly high cost though and I haven’t dug into it too much.

Finally the downside – the game lags like it’s cool. I haven’t figured out how the game chooses host but I have a very nice router here and it’s usually not me. Other problems are the interface – you have to accept the invitation and then select “join on invitation” in the menu, it’s just awkward. And the worst – if you don’t install it to your hard drive, expect Left 4 Dead problems with load times and texture pop in. The manual doesn’t stay install it or else, but it helps. A lot. The last niggle is a balance concern – you get more points for shooting people than “moving the chains” on objectives. Case in point, me and a buddy were playing and we were both engineers. I cracked the safe and stole the intel almost single-handedly, but he got the best player award for having a huge kill count. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem like doing the objective is rewarding enough.

Verdict – Just like it says at the top. If you like games like Team Fortress or Bad Company or Left 4 Dead, this is a great game. If you’re more into deathmatch mayhem, this may not scratch the item. Personally for me, being a huge Rush player in Bad Company, this stuff is great.

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