Brink is a team-based shooter focused on multiplayer action, with four class types, a role-playing-like leveling system, and an unusual art style that looks as if each character was sculpted out of clay and then stretched from head to toe. While one of Brink's major selling points is that it also includes both solo and cooperative play as part of a "seamless experience," that's a bit of a cheat.
The main single-player mode is no different than the multiplayer component, only instead of human players comprising your team and the opposition, you have computer-controlled bots. Your character stays the same, however, so all experience points and leveling done alone or with friends against the computer will be carried over to the eight-on-eight multiplayer game.
Problems with the single-player content include a lack of story, aside from a few cut-scenes that appear before each map, and bots that are probably less competent than grouping with chimpanzees. Your AI-controlled teammates have a singular fascination with capturing control points regardless of what the opposition is trying to do, so you basically have to do all the heavy lifting yourself. The AI will try your patience by setting up turrets facing walls, running through heavy gunfire in a hopeless attempt to revive you, or just plain ignore your wounded character while standing idly nearby, out of harm's way. So if you are purchasing Brink for its single-player experience, expect to be disappointed.
The game itself isn't bad; it just takes time to unlock some of the more interesting things your character can do, which may not bode well for Brink's success in a highly competitive genre. You'll create a custom character (only males, unfortunately) before selecting a faction to fight for -- either a rebel group or a security force. Both sides are fighting for control of an island called the Ark. On each map, you'll work with your team to defend or attack key objectives, with the advantage going to the defensive team due to the way the maps are designed.
The class types your character can specialize in are futuristic versions of familiar roles, including medic, engineer, soldier, and the stealthy operative. You'll earn points for doing class-specific things such as supplying ammo to teammates, healing them, or repairing damaged items. As you earn levels, you'll unlock new masks, pants, shirts, and other clothing types to enhance your character's appearance. You'll also choose from new abilities or skills to use in combat.
While the leveling system can be addictive, Brink suffers from a number of issues that keep it from being a must-have game. First, the number and size of maps is too small for a shooter so reliant on multiplayer action. Second, it seems players are rewarded more for spamming ammo and performing similar support tasks than for actually completing objectives, which is bizarre. Third, the shooting mechanics are a bit wonky. Your opponents are basically sponges and your guns are like hoses -- skilled aiming isn't a requirement, only some patience as the enemy sucks up more bullets than a vacuum cleaner.
Yet the most frustrating issue plaguing Brink is the severe bouts of lag that crop up during multiplayer contests, suggesting that the game's many delays may have meant less time devoted to working out the kinks. Factor in the slow character progression, small number of maps, and unusual shooting mechanics, you have a game that's going to be difficult to find an audience. Perhaps even more troubling for Brink is that it doesn't do class-based warfare as well as Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or cooperative role-playing as well as Borderlands.
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Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway, Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood, Bulletstorm, Brick Breaker II, Bricks, Nightmare Creatures, Bloody Good Time, Buccaneer: The Pursuit of Infamy
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