Depending on your viewpoint, Brink could be a vision of gaming hell. Although billed as a first-person that blurs the divide between offline and online play, Brink’s solo mode feels vestigial – a shrivelled appendix to its multiplayer core.
The narrative potential of its setting – an overcrowded floating city that is humanity’s last refuge after sea levels rise – is lost in the rush to the action. The campaign missions are few and the team interaction at the heart of the game feels empty when AI replaces people.
But in multiplayer Brink is a different beast. Its matches see two teams made up of individuals from different ‘classes’ go head-to-head. One team must complete set objectives, the other has to stop them.
What Brinks gets very right is its classes: solider, engineer, medic, and operative. Each has unique abilities but there’s little difference in firepower, so playing as a computer-hacking operative is as fun as being a soldier.
The incentives for teamwork are another thing Brink has nailed. Beyond the near impossibility of winning if you play as a lone wolf, the game doles out more experience points to those who help their comrades than for straightforward kills.
More experience means more freedom to enhance and customise your character, so these points matter. And talking of characters, Brink allows trillions of characters to be created, each with the distinctive Judge Dredd-style exaggerated facial features that form so much of the game’s visual identity. Shamefully though, none of these characters can be female.
Where Brink stumbles is in its levels. The goals and their location in each level are fixed and so the action rapidly becomes predictable and familiar. Which is a shame because Brink gets so much right: the team work dynamic, the balance between classes and the lovely parkour-like movement system.