“BRINK (Single-player)” by Co-Op Jaken

Single-player:

So, I have been anxiously awaiting this game’s release, and was stoked about writing a review to share how this game hit me with as many people as possible.  Unfortunately, I bought it for PS3.  As I am sure you are all aware, PSN is down, which means no multiplayer.  This review will cover how single-player fairs, and a second review will be made once the PSN is restored.

Brink is a first-person shooter (FPS) designed by Splash Damage, known in some circles for their previous title Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.  The goal was to create a new kind of FPS, where single-player and multi-player were merged in a unified gaming experience.

What I Expected:

In my gaming circle, we have all grown tired of the “modern” FPS – lightning fast point-and-shoot, large skill curves, and cheap tricks.  Lately, it seems that the only people that play FPS’s (on the consoles) just want to rack up as many kills as possible, with no regard for sportsmanship, teamwork, or social regard.  If that is the type of gameplay you do enjoy, then I would advise against Brink.

What I expected from Brink was a new way to play FPS’s – a way that reinforced cooperation and teamwork, as well as rewarding skill and perseverance.  To summarize, I was expecting the savior for first-person shooters.

What We Got:

Just to clarify, this is the single-player review, so what we got is only half the picture today.  However, with a game that promises to bridge single-player and multiplayer, I suspect the experience should shed some light on how this game fairs.

First of all, the art style is just neat.  It has this cartoony playfulness, but, at the same time, it has this hardcore, badass look, which is sometimes even creepy.  To top that off, the character creation is fun and rewarding; making a personalized character that you really feel is yours.

The gameplay, at its core, has four player classes that can be cycled through in game, and three body types (which determine speed and mobility, as well as what weapons you can carry), that you can alternate from the out-of-game menus.  The first class is the Soldier.  This class is able to resupply ammo of his own, and of his teammates with a quick button press and hold.  He is also able to throw better grenades, and can engage in destruction objectives with large explosive charges.

The second class is the Medic.  As expected, the medic can buff his own health, or that of allies.  This buff bring them past full health from whatever amount they currently were at, which means you can bring an almost dead ally back from the brink (see what I did there?) in the middle of a firefight, which can turn the tide.  Additionally, they can throw revive syringes at fallen allies, and at final level they can revive themselves.  The great thing about throwing revive syringes is the medic need only hold his interact button for a short moment, toss his fallen comrade the syringe, then continue fighting while the downed guy gets himself back on his feet.  In regards to objectives, medics can revive and heal the VIPs some missions require that you escort, making them necessary in those times.

The third class is the Engineer.  For those of you familiar with Team Fortress 2, this class will feel about the same.  They have a deployable turret, like in TF2, as well as landmines to deploy.  They can also buff their own and their allies’ weapons, making them do more damage.  In regards to objectives, they can repair robots or other objectives.

The final class is the Operative.  Of all the classes, I find this one to be the least appreciated in regards to gameplay options.  They can disguise themselves as the enemy, but it doesn’t seem all that useful.  In regards to objectives, they can hack mainframes and the like, but this is by far the most difficult objective to achieve in single-player (more on this later).  Mostly, they run around capturing command posts, which give the team that controls them a small bonus.

The games plays out in 8v8 matches, with attacking and defending teams.  Attackers must complete a series of objectives to achieve victory, while defenders try to prevent them from doing so.  There are two command posts that can be captured on any given map, one adds to your health a tiny bit, while the other gives you a single pip of energy to use your abilities with.  In single-player, the seven allies on your team, and the eight enemies are all computer player bots.

These AI bots do not understand priority.  At all.  The game has an objective wheel which guides players to certain objectives that help the team.  The AI seems to spin the wheel at random, and then go.  Because of this, attacking in single-player is a mess.  The AI will always fight over command posts, which give hardly anything, and rarely pursue the main objective unless all secondary objectives, and command posts have been captured.  Many times, if you are pursuing the main objective, you find yourself alone.  Hacking is a real challenge, as you must stand there with a device in hand, unable to shoot, to gain progress on the hack, and if an enemy engineer arrives, he can negate all your process in seconds.

Despite these pitiful AI allies, I was able to beat every mission without bumping down to Easy difficulty.  When the bots finally worked with me, the game was INCREDIBLY fun.  Teams engage in crazy firefights, that can last minutes with either team being constantly buffed, revived, healed, and saving themselves from the line of fire.  Even though its only 8v8, you feel like you’re in this epic conflict with bullets raging and bodies falling.  In the end, it’s not how well you aim that wins, it’s how you use your classes abilities.

I look forward to multiplayer, so I can lose these bots.  If you play with friends, I imagine it will be incredibly enjoyable.  But to conclude single-player, gameplay can get frustrating, but the game itself is very fun.

The score I am about to give is for PS3 players, assuming that PSN is still down.  For those players, once you complete all the missions and reach max level, it becomes just a normal single-player FPS experienced, without scripted events.  For just the single-player, alone, I’d give this game a RENT IT.

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