Ah... Brinky, Brinky, Brink Brink Brink...
Right, let's hit this head-on, shall we?
Brink is set in a post apocalyptic dystopian future on a hi-tech floating island during a civil war where you... *SNORE!*
Sorry, I said "head on" didn't I... Brink is a shoddy copy of Quake Wars: Enemy Territory with worse graphics, no vehicles, a broken parkour element and shoddy generic characters that look like they are from Bo' Selecta.
Brink is a DONKEY of a game - it is a fetid pile of toss. It is by a LONG stretch the worst game I have ever played.
"Strong words" I hear you say. Strong words indeed and words that I feel need justification with such turds as Hour of Victory, Turning Point and numerous others on my played list. My justification is this - I love cheap and cheerful games, the ones that I find in my local game shop and actually have to ask what it is because I've somehow missed the release, like Blood Drive, Warrior: Legends of Troy and the criminally overlooked Singularity. Games that have had very little publicity (if any) where there are some unexpected thrills to be had. Then we have odd games from German/Eastern European developers that are obviously huge in Germany, like Two Worlds, Divinity 2, Risen and Ghost Warrior which have been made very cheaply and they know what they are. They know that they are cheap and average looking and there might be one person out there who loves them - and that's fine. All these types of games I have no beef with.
Now. Here's my point - Brink and it's ilk, the vile over hyped trash that is usually headed up by months of developers diaries and a teaser trailer consisting of a logo, a muffled crash and fade to the name of the game or something... Oh they wind me up. It is the world we live in, the world of hype and marketing, and AGAIN - I accept this. But never before in my gaming life have I ever felt so comprehensively LIED to as with Brink. Being misled by my own expectations is my own fault, but this... this was targeted humiliation.
Let's start at the beginning then, with character creation - it's hard not to get excited by customisation possibilities that will eventually be made available to you. It's only when you realise the implication that ALL THE CLASSES LOOK THE SAME that you get your first sinking feeling. You see, in an objective based game where everyone has a role to fill it is quite important that you are able to identify and prioritise targets, so if you are defending a deliciously hackable terminal, you are going to want to shoot the operative (or spy, or whatever, I actually don't remember) before you waste your ammo on his escort. Sadly, with the customisation options, everyone looks like extreme sports hobos with cranio-facial genetic disorders. The voices are bland, but at least convey a feeling that they are an international bunch. It can be a little bit odd when you play as the Security forces and you accidentally shoot one of your INEPT cockblocking AI team-mates and they shout "DO I LOOK LIKE A FASCIST TO YOU!?". Buzzcut, uniform, boots, rifle... Yes, actually. Yes, you DO look like a fascist...
We may as well discuss the AI as we have briefly touched on it - it is awful. Greatest hits involve one minute being unable to hit you from three feet and fighting as a dispersed gaggle, to suddenly every shot hitting you as they skilfully hold the objective room. This wild inconsistency runs through both teams to the point where I had gone to the toilet, and got waylaid on the way back to find that in my absence my team had won 2 maps. On other occasions, the respawn, die, respawn, die, respawn, die cycle is so short that you can't help but feel huge amounts of frustration. And woe betide if your AI team-mates pick up an objective that needs to be delivered. That can cost you a match as he steadfastly refuses to move out the room, or insists on getting involved in gun battles rather than running to the objective. It is incredibly frustrating, but not NEARLY as frustrating as the gun play.
Weapons are divided into 3 broad categories... No. Only joking! They are uniformly garbage. Not only do they lack the perceived weight through their animation and controller vibration, but the sound effects are akin to children's toys. Couple this with the fact that they lack the visceral punch in the game and you have a very unsatisfying whole. Examples include 3 headshots with a sniper rifle to take down an enemy and the shotgun that may as well be firing confetti. Muzzle climb and accuracy are awful in this game (as well as damage), so your only real combat tactic is get in close with a rapid fire SMG and holding down the button until you are out of ammo. Oh and good luck with the lucky dip of weapons. They are all basically mixed up in a big generic menu screen with the scantest of information. Sure, you can see stats like damage, stability and what-not, but the game omits basic information like the weapon type and actual rate of fire. It's quite annoying when you discover in your first up close fire fight that the 80% filled bar on the rate of fire stat refers to firing a three-round burst, rather than full auto. Or that new high powered rifle is, in fact a shotgun. It is very shoddy indeed, and that's not even mentioning the tacky feel of the weapon customisation - reflex sights take up too much screen and sniper scope crosshairs are too bloated for accurate work, but then I refer you to my previous statement regarding three headshots to kill. With a SNIPER RIFLE.
Ah-HA! "In Brink, you should be moving more than you are shooting", a loading screen message proclaims. "The guns aren't the point, you fat fool" the game (seems) to cry. Well if that is the case, you really should get a sense of speed as you move through the cluttered environment. Well, you don't. The lies that I mentioned in the previous paragraphs get another mention - I swear that they sped up game play videos, even within the game itself the tutorial videos look far faster than the actual game. It seemed quite promising that there were the three body types to choose from as well, as I thought that maybe the light body type might move like Mirror's Edge or something. It doesn't. In fact, you tend to find with the light body that your character launches himself OVER thinner bits of scenery (like walls) rather than onto, losing you a tactical edge. With his significantly lower health, I had very little use for him. Also, I have to say - S.M.A.R.T? Smart? What would be bloody "smart" would be rather than designing six stupid, confusing cluttered maps and then making a system that allows Smooth Movement Around Rough Terrain, how about you just design better maps? No?
The maps are very poor, it must be said. I have never come across a game so hopelessly skewed towards defenders. It might just be that I am better at defense, I don't know, but I never failed a single defense objective, but on attack... Oh, god. Chokepoints, slow moving easily damaged escort VIPs, hacking that takes an age and AI that flat out refuses to defend you as you repair things as the engineer all conspire to cripple the attacking game. I make plenty of mention of the AI, but not of multiplayer, you might notice. This is due to me getting the game a week after its release, while about a dozen of my friends bought it day one. So appalled were they, that a week later only 2 still had it. My local game shop had to stop taking trade-ins as they had bought in so many (I think their cut off is ten copies). So, I have been left to trawl the underbelly of random matches and blessed lord Krishna, is THAT a lonely place to be... Either that or I'm just unable to join matches. I have managed 2 games and in both, there were only 3 other human players and the rest made up of bots. So... No... No thanks.
My final irritation in this game came on the Shipyard level with a piece of graffiti. A piece of graffiti of a man with a fish saying "WE EAT COD". Now I accept that they probably eat cod. That's fine. However, the implication that they "eat COD" as in they better Call Of Duty in any way is laughable on so many levels. Were the developers so ARROGANT as to compare their new untested product to a far superior well established franchise, or are they so STUPID? I genuinely don't know. For the record, I dislike Black Ops and World at War intensely, but I would play either any day of the week before I even contemplated touching this dreadful pile of muck.