One Night Stand: Brink

by: Jeremy -
More On: Brink One Night Stand
With the recent announcement that Redbox would / has started offering games nationwide, the amount of new titles passing through my household is about to increase. Actually, it already has...

The only thing is, Redbox rentals only give you a single night to enjoy the titles. That is, unless you want to pay for an additional day, or two, or three. While a single night might not be enough to fully “review” a game, it is definitely enough to tell me whether or not I want to see more of the game, perhaps even prompting me to go out and buy the title outright. With that mind set, I am going to do a series of short, mini-reviews / impressions of games that I play for just one night, or as the article title implies: One Night Stand(s).

The first game that I picked up on a lonely Friday night was none other than Splash Damage’s recent release, Brink, for the PlayStation 3. Read on to find out just how the experience went...

Brink is a game that I have had my eye on for a while; I followed the game quite a bit during the months leading up to its release and felt that the premise had a ton of potential. Unfortunately, a majority of the gaming media was too pleased with the game upon its release. The Metacritic score for all three version currently clocks in at around 69-70, even though our own Sean Colleli seemed to find the title extremely enjoyable.

Despite the less-than-stellar reviews, a common tone was apparent in the various reviews and that was the fact that the game had a ton of promise. It seemed as though everyone saw at least sparks of the same thing(s) that drew me to the game in the first place. After spending a full evening with Brink I would have to say that I agree more with Sean’s review than I do most of the other media outlets in the market. Brink isn’t half bad and is honestly some of the most fun that I have had gaming online in quite a while.

What works?

One of the most impressive aspects of Brink, to me, is the game’s seamless integration between online and offline gaming. I really love the way that Splash Damage has broken up the different modes of the game and offered players pretty much the same experience be it online or playing solo. Regardless of which mode you choose, you end up experiencing the same style of mission(s) and gameplay which is what I consider to be the game’s strongest trait.

I love the objective based focus of gameplay intertwined into the FPS world. The matches play out as more than just mindless, killing-fests thanks to the introduction of the objective wheel and character classes. Sure, one of your primary duties is to eliminate the enemy, but that will only get you so far and will definitely not “win” the match for your team. In order to win, you will need to complete the various objective missions placed before you given the various scenarios presented in the game. Splash Damage did an excellent job structuring these mission-based experiences in a fashion that drives the gameplay forward and keeps thing moving at a quick pace. Whether or not you are actively pursuing an targeted operative on the opponent’s team or just guarding a ventilation system, you feel important and it is always apparent that the success of your individual mission can really make or break your entire team’s effort. Each soldier on the field serves a purpose and that fact shines through in every match.

The developers also did a great job at implementing a ton of customization options which will allow players to set their character’s a part from the rest of the Brink-world. There are tons of equipment, weapons, and accessories available as you progress which will allow you to tailor your soldier to your liking in what seems like an endless amount of ways. Every match that I completed seemed to unlock something new for me to tinker with, even if it was just a new hat or pants.

What needs work?

There are plenty of aspects of the game that gamers could easily take issue with, which explains a lot of the low reviews that the game has received. The gunplay aspect of the title could really be tightened up quite a bit. While there is a wide variety of weapons in the game, I didn’t exactly “feel” the differences between them. Sure, some of them were rapid fire versus single shot, and the class differences existed, but other than that a machine gun and a sub-machine gun felt pretty much the same. Unfortunately, they seemed to perform about the same as well, which is what really caused a problem. This led me to basically just pour bullets into the enemies until they dropped with little to know strategy involved based on my weapon of choice. Granted, the is the goal of any shooter (to take down your enemy), but I never evolved past rushing in and emptying clips. There was no incentive for me to apply a strategy to my offensive attacks when it came to taking out the enemies. Thankfully, I had other missions and objectives to complete which more than made up for that in the long run.

The parkour system was a huge focus on the game’s marketing but it isn’t nearly as effective as gamers were led to believe. Yes, you can easily traverse terrain with the simple press of a single button, as long as it is meant to be traversed. There were numerous times when I discovered ledges and walls which seemed to be the perfect size for scaling or climbing over, but simply wasn’t able to do so. The game seems to pick and choose which environmental objects can be interacted with from a parkour sense and it doesn’t always make sense. I also found it very hard to multi-task while doping so as well. It isn’t very effective to mix your gunplay and your platforming despite the fact that the game was pitched in that manner... which is really a shame.

Where do we go from here?

Thankfully, both of these issues can likely be addressed with supplemental updates and fixes to the game. Like it or not, but the ability for modern day developers to patch their games so easily after the launch can be effective when used correctly and this is a perfect opportunity for that to be done. I was thoroughly entertained with the 5 or so hours that I poured into the game on Friday night that I was more than happy to invite it back for another on Saturday. One night stands aren’t meant to go one past a single evening, but I just could bring myself to send Brink home come Saturday morning. I will be honest though, come Sunday, I had no reservations taking it back to the grocery store kiosk where we first met...

Brink is a game that I fully intend to check out again, after Splash Damage releases a patch or two to the game. Given the right amount of tuning and “love”, I really feel that Splash Damage can turn this game into a contender for your online, gaming attention. I know that it had mine, and I may end up being a return customer in the future...