Brink Preview: PAX East 2011
So, Mack and I got some time at PAX East with Bethesda’s latest title, Brink, developed by Splash Damage. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, let me give you the spiel from their site:
Brink is an immersive first-person shooter that blends single-player, co-op, and multiplayer gameplay into one seamless experience, allowing you to develop your character whether playing alone, with your friends, or against others online. You decide the combat role you want to assume in the world of Brink as you fight to save yourself and mankind’s last refuge. Brink offers a compelling mix of dynamic battlefields, extensive customization options, and an innovative control system that will keep you coming back for more.
Much of what was stated above could be the claims of many an FPS out on the market today. The question is, can Brink separate itself from the pack? “Innovate” is a term that’s thrown around a lot these days. Does Brink bring something new to the table? Well, bearing in mind what we played was a Beta and that we only got 30 minutes and one level, I feel confident answering yes. Brink is going to give you something very unique. I’m also pretty sure it’s gonna be fun enough to light your eyebrows on fire (that’s a good thing).
The first thing you’ll notice when playing Brink will probably be its art style. We had a little time with Splash Damage’s media director, Richard Jolly, and I ended up commenting to him that it has a unique mix of gritty/realistic environments and cartoon/comic book style character design. He told me that is what they were going for — a style they call “Hyper-Realism.” This look alone is enough to make the game stand out among the competition.
The strongest element of Brink beyond gameplay, in my opinion, is depth of character customization. First, there are enough costume pieces to sink a ship. Trust me, you won’t have any trouble looking unique. I’m not going to go into anymore detail than that otherwise this will turn into a novel. Once you pick your outfit, then you begin the customizations that factor into gameplay and Splash Damage didn’t skimp out on these either. You’ve got countless guns to pick from, and up to 5 different attachments to place on some of them. I didn’t get to try all of them, but those I did felt drastically different from one another. If that’s not enough, you can pick between 3 different weight/size classes: small/scout, average, and brick-wall/heavy. Each of these has your standard perks and drawbacks where speed and health are mutually exclusive. Taking it a bit further, your size also determines the number of weapons you can carry, and, more importantly, how and where you can move around the environment. A brick wall can get up to a descent trot and vault a wall or two while the small/scout weight class is a Parkour master on speed.
Then you’ve got the classes and things get really interesting. There’s the Soldier, Medic, Engineer, and Operative (ganker). Each has his own role to play, much like many class-based FPSes, however Brink allows you to mix it up and lets you take any of the three weights for any of the four classes. On paper, this may not seem like a real break from the norm so let me put this in real world terms: ever seen a fat medic? Didn’t think so. Also, from what I could tell, most if not all of the guns are not class-specific. Translation: fat medic with a chaingun. This was the setup I played for most of my time with Brink so I can tell you, yes, that’s as awesome as it sounds. There are in-match quests for experience and points specific to your class, like getting ammo to a buddy, or reviving a fallen teammate which really ramps up the teamwork. Again, going into more detail about the customization would triple the size of this article so lets watch a video, shall we?
Put this all together with tight map design, stellar graphics, and an innovative joining of single/multiplayer and you’ve got a hit. The action is quick, calculated, and utterly rewarding. I know I only played a beta and this is supposed to simply be a preview, but I was truly floored by the experience. At the end of our match I was left white-knuckled, inches from the monitor, desperately wanting more. Unless Splash Damage guts what I saw and turns this into a dating-sim before its release, this will be a hit. If it’s not a best seller, shame on all of you for not buying it. Shaaaaaaaaaame!
Anyway, I’ll have a review up once I get my hands on the real thing and put it through its paces. Stay tuned for more news or bookmark this page and check in for updates. I’ll put a link to the review once it’s up.
– Squiddy D.