Splash Damage have yet to put out a console game. Developer of PC titles like Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, the studio’s making their first PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 outing with Brink, their upcoming team-based shooter from Bethesda. Earlier this month, I had a go at the game’s multiplayer, where its team play and SMART movement system left me blatantly impressed.
The game itself is based on one mode of play. The story mode is actually the game’s multiplayer mode, meaning you can have friends come in at any time. You won’t be playing across standard multiplayer maps, though. Each map has its own line of progression; players will die and respawn, but they’ll constantly gain access to areas that were unavailable at the beginning of the stage. I played one stage in particular where, as part of the “Security” side, I had to keep a wheeled machine moving through its course. But first, some tutorials.
Edward Stern, lead writer on the game, set me up with my demo. Of course, being completely foreign to the game, I needed to learn how to play. Luckily, Brink has tutorial videos built right into the game, accessible to the player any time they’re in the menu. After getting familiar with the game, Stern set me up with a character, then led me to choose one of four classes: soldier, engineer, medic, or operative. I started off with soldier.
If you haven’t yet caught it, Brink is a class-based shooter, in addition to being team-based. Each class has their own abilities they can perform that aid both themselves and their team. They’ll start off simple, but players will get tons of upgrades over time. The soldier’s skill is the ability to give ammo out to teammates — something that should appear more frequent in first-person shooters nowadays.
Off with the soldier, I went. The game opened up with a cinematic detailing its story. It’s an all-out war, basically; “Rebels” vs. “Security”. One side wants the Ark, the floating city they inhabit, to fall, and the other wants it to be saved. The catch here is that there’s no good or bad group. Both factions believe they’re doing right, which is where playing the campaigns for both sides becomes interesting. Contrary to my prior belief, Brink‘s cartoon-like style has no significance to its story. I thought it’d be one of those game’s that doesn’t take its plot seriously, but I was wrong. I should note that cut-scenes in Brink are entirely optional, therefore, it’s story can be nonexistent if it’s something you don’t care for.
Getting into the game, I finally began my mission. The team and I had to safely guide the aforementioned wheeled machine through the stage, however, the machine would constantly break down every now and then. I felt my choosing the soldier class wasn’t too great of an idea for this mission, as our team had little to no engineers. So, I popped up my objective wheel and switched my goal from aiding the machine’s progression to finding a computer terminal so I can switch my class. After finding one, I went ahead and became an engineer. I thought this class was particularly cool because not only could I repair the machine as it broke down, but I could buff my guns, as well as the guns of my teammates, to give them some extra firepower.
As Brink is a team-based game, there are benefits received in aiding your teammates. Every time I buffed a weapon for a teammate, for example, I gained experience. Buffing your own weapon won’t earn you a penny, though. You technically don’t even have to be good at shooters to gain points in Brink — you can just follow your team around and buff up their guns, earning you sweet, savory experience.
Gunplay was something I especially liked in the demo I played. I’m not too great at first-person shooters; as I told Stern, I’m the type of guy who plays shooters like BioShock and The Darkness, but shies away from things like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor. It’s fair to say that these games all have different feels and Brink is no different. For some reason, I did extraordinarily well, accurately tossing grenades, lining up head shots, and sneaking up on enemies for a surprise shot in the back using the game’s SMART movement system. SMART, for those unaware, is the game’s signature movement system controlled by a single button. That button allows you to climb where you can climb, jump where you can jump, slide where you can slide, etc. It’s really a work of art and so efficient. Every time I needed it, it was a mere button-click away.
We were probably playing on ‘super easy press testing mode’, but either way the game generally had a good feel. It wasn’t sluggish and everything felt pretty spot on.Brink has the potential to be something good and I hope that when it releases this fall, it succeeds and is recognized by consumers. It’s different compared to what the kids are playing online these days, but it’s something welcome in my book.
Check out some new screenshots of Brink at the gallery.