Hands-on with Brink

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

I’ve been a fan of developer Splash Damage for a long time, heck, I still play Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory on the PC occasionally. Then at E3 2009, I was fortunate enough to see the presentation for Brink, and I was instantly intrigued. This year it was actually playable at Bethesda’s booth, and it has definitely improved over the past year.

The main differences with Brink over other First Person Shooters are mainly in the fact that you can switch roles almost on-the-fly at specific panels, and the fluid control scheme that allows the player to focus more on what’s going-on rather than “where can I jump over this thing.” The entire experience has been streamlined to always try and keep the player in the game. Press ‘up’ on the d-pad, and it’ll tell and show you what and where your next objective is. See a railing that you need to get over? Run toward it and point slightly ‘up,” as your player effortlessly bounds over the railing automatically. Then you see a table in your path, look slightly ‘down’ and again, your player automatically slides under the table so you can keep your momentum. Heck, even when you’re playing the Assault class, hold L3 down for a few seconds and you’ll replenish your own ammo.

Every class will be needed throughout the mission-based portion of online play. While the Assault class will be used to hold a point down, an Engineer may be capturing a critical point or repairing a ventilation system. It felt a bit like the co-op missions in Resistance 2, but with a lot less repetition and a much more streamlined experience. Controls are excellent and very intuitive, especially after going through a definitive training mission that explains many of the aspects of the controls and gameplay.

Visuals are a real treat, with smooth lines and pleasing colors. Enemy AI seems above average, especially when they tried to sneak-up behind us instead of the frontal assault that our guide anticipated. The lead platform is PS3, so anyone worrying about a sub-standard port can rest easy. I can’t wait to get into the story of the Single-Player experience, as so far, Brink seems to definitely be on the right track to becoming a must-have title.

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