(Posted by: Eric Rees)
There seems to be a few games that I get excited for, and even fewer that I go to my friends and tell them that they need to get it so we can play together. The last time this happened, Medal of Honor let me down immensely but with Brink I hope this would change. The amount of customization in the characters and within the firefights had me intrigued beyond belief, but then I saw all the reviews it was getting. Hit the break to read the rest of my own Brink review.
I'll just come out and say it; people who call Brink bad because the single player is bad are stupid. This is a multiplayer game through and through and that fact is pointed out by the fact that at any point in any game mode in Brink, someone from the internet can drop in and help you out during your mission. The campaign is short and sweet and has you either choosing a side between the Resistance who wants to take the "Ark" for themselves or the Security who wants to put down the resistance. The campaign is further shortened by the fact that each mission for either side are mirror images of the other one. One mission for Security has you defending a point while that Resistance mission is you taking the point from the other side. While this is interesting for showing both sides of an argument, the maps are exactly the same and by the time you play one and then go back to play the other, you have a weird sense of deja vu.
Other game modes in the game vary with each. Freeplay (or as everyone else in the world calls it) Multiplayer is fun and face paced but has the problem of being the exact same maps as the campaign. Everyone who has played through knows the choke points and again it feels a bit tired after doing the same objectives as you did in the single player. Challenges are used to unlock gun upgrades and this is probably the one mode that really irked me. There's a difference between being difficult, and having a team based game where the AI doesn't do anything to help you, this becomes glaringly obvious in the challenge that has you repairing/hacking/destroying while your teammates are supposed to be backing you up, but don't. The other best part about the Challenge mode? You can play co-op, with a catch. If you beat a level with a friend instead of by yourself, you get no weapon unlocks. Those can only be unlocked when you play through it by yourself. I would say that the AI in the challenge mode is Brink's biggest fault by a leap and a bound.
Speaking of leaps and bounds, Brink truly shines in it's implementation of SMART running system, Smooth Running Across Random Terrain. This is the parkour aspect of the game that is the most fun using. Holding a shoulder button will cause your character to run and if held down will vault over bars, slide underneath pipes and climb walls. The character's body type; Heavy, Medium or Light decides how much movement it takes to vault these obstacles with the Light being the easiest. This comes at a price though with your character taking less damage and only being able to use lighter weapons. But Brink offers the ability to make multiple characters, sounds like a good idea right? Wrong. If I get to a certain level and unlock body types and abilities for my character, they are locked to that character. You have to start another character if you want a dedicated Heavy, Medium or Light persona. This is just convoluted to me, and seems to just point out the fact that people don't want to replay the campaign of your game.
Brink has it's flaws but it did not deserve the tearing down that it got when it launched. With some dedicated friends to play with the game really shines but by yourself the game can get a bit old. I quite enjoyed taking the time to customize my character just the way I liked him, changing every little aspect of my gun and then running around sliding when I didn't even have to and killing everything that moved. Call of Duty fans beware this isn't your exact cup of tea but I say at least give it a rental to see if you enjoy it.
Final Score: 3 out of 5