Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brink: First Impressions

I've been waiting for brink to come out for a year or two and finally picked up my copy tonight at my local Gamestop. The amount of hype surrounding the title has really divided the gaming community between it being an over-hyped so-so title(see: Fable 2&3) or one of the only truly team based FPS games to date. I popped it in my system as soon as I got home. Here's what I think of the single player so far after playing for a few hours through some of the story mode and the challenge mode, multiplayer impressions to come later of course.

Brink is an odd beast when it comes to the campaign. Bethesda and Splash Damage have tried to seamlessly blend the online and single player experiences. When playing a mission offline it plays much like an online game but your allies are controlled by bots. The result is kind of frustrating. Your AI allies aren't nearly as competent as a human controlled character. This leads to some incredibly tough firefights where you'll be overrun by enemies and wishing they had added the, now, ever elusive couch co-op option due to the computers lack of priority.

Regardless of the fumbling AI the missions still present some kind of enjoyment and maybe even a little bit of training for the online arena. The real winner playing solo is the challenge mode. This is where most of your unlock-ables will come from. While there only seems to be a handful of challenges they offer a slightly different take on the single player experience by forcing you into the different classes to complete objectives arena style. Each challenge has three difficulty levels which you unlock sequentially by beating the normal difficulty first. These challenges range from escorting and protecting a repair bot to defending a command center from waves of baddies. Completing any of the challenges on the first two difficulties will unlock a hefty chunk of accessories, guns, and upgrades which really makes these challenges worth while. the third difficulty posts your score to an online leaderboard so you can really show all your friends how awesome you are.

The gameplay is pretty solid overall with the myriad of customization options available it really allows the player to tailor the different classes to their liking. This is also one of the first games i've seen on a console that lets you complete customization of your controls. They have a ton of different presets and allow you to create a custom preset if you're not a fan of any of the given choices. I went with the default. While the controls take a bit to get used to, particularly the SMART system, after a few rounds I was more than accustomed to the slight nuances of Brinks gameplay and I was hopping barriers and sliding under pipes in no time. This is the one thing that sets Brink apart from the crowd. Ever since I've been playing any kind of FPS free running has always been something I wanted Integrated into the experience and brink does a great job of bringing this to the front of your gameplay experience.

The guns handle a bit like Call of Duty, allowing you to look down the barrel through your iron sights or equipped scope to be a bit more accurate. I did find the amount of damage bullets do to be a little off and I still can't tell whether or not headshots really matter but this is just another thing I go used to in no time.

Once I get through the campaign and start playing online I'll post a full review. Thanks for reading!

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