Bethesda Softworks and Splash Damage bring us Brink, a first person shooter set on board the Ark, an entirely self-sufficient habitat that has become the home of two now warring factions: the original founders and a large group of refugees. It is up to you to decide which side to help and whether to destroy the Ark or save it.
I was seriously excited for this game. It sounded like it would be a great amount of fun. Lots of co-op play, tons of customization, and a cool story. Unfortunately, I didn’t get into much of the story because playing this game is so frustrating that I was in danger of putting my XBox controller through my 52-inch TV.
Let’s get back to that in a second. Let me point out the good things about the game before I get to my ranting.
The cutscene visuals are really quite gorgeous. The character design is interesting and the visual theme really unique. Even the voice work is good. The customization options are pretty much limitless and you can play any of the classes (engineer, soldier, medic, or operative), even though they’re really all the same with different animations (opening a safe and hacking a computer are really the same thing).
And now, back to the bad stuff…
The game seems like it would have a lot of replay value since you can play as either side of the fight. Unfortunately, I did not experience that. I could barely handle playing one side.
I played mostly through the single player which was at first fun until I realized that my AI team members were all completely ignorant of anything that they should be doing and that somehow the enemies were able to one shot me at any time they chose.
This meant running around trying to do the job of every other team member while they flounder around shooting at god knows what while I am getting killed, waiting for a medic to decide to come to me, rezzing, and getting one shotted again only to have to wait again for a medic. To call it “frustrating” is putting it mildly.
I mentioned before that the customization is nearly limitless, it seems that way yes. Unfortunately, you can only unlock things by playing through the trial modes or by earning credits and buying them. It seems counter-intuitive to have unlockables outside of the actual gameplay to me.
You might be thinking, “why not just play the co-op so you don’t have to worry about that pesky AI?” Oh reader, I did that. The lag was so bad that my character would not move from it’s starting location for an exceptionally long period and when it did move it rubberbanded straight back. Every. Single. Time. That kind of blatant broken gameplay means that this game never should have been released.
Brink, in my humble opinion, is a serious blight on Bethesda’s record. Sure their games have problems but Brink is nearly unplayable. I would go so far as to call it a disaster.
Pretty colors and nice visuals cannot save your game.
NOTE: Recent patches have, apparently, helped with some of the issues, but patches don’t change what is physically present on the disc. Of course, if you have downloaded the patches and have noted a marked improvement in gameplay due to them, do let us know in the comments.
Brink is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Blood, Language, Violence. This game can also be found on: PS3 and Windows PC.