This video game review looks at the new first person shooter Brink. Its ad campaign is slick and promises to set the pace for future games in the genre, but does it live up to the hype?Brink is a first person shooter that brings a unique style to the entire genre. Its SMART movement system is rather innovative and you do get plenty of customization options, but the overall gameplay and story do not deliver in the end.
Brink takes place on a futuristic floating city known as The Ark. The Ark is a refuge for those who managed to survive a flooded Earth that has become a battlefield between two sides: the Resistance and Security. You play as either side, with the intentions of surviving at all costs.
There are four character classes in Brink: soldier, engineer, medic, and operative. A soldier helps demolish objectives, and is more of a run and gun player. An engineer takes on the tasks of improving team weapons and deploying or repairing objectives. A medic obviously revives downed teammates. Finally, an operative sneaks around and behind enemy lines, interrogates enemies, and hacks enemy equipment.
While they do provide some variety in terms of gameplay and objectives and suit players of different styles and personalities, the way in which the classes are executed is lacking. You will often find yourself having to switch between classes during a level to perform duties according to your team's needs. This can make you more multi-dimensional, but the constant switching makes it difficult to master each class. In other words, you become a jack of all trades but a master at none. Regardless, the fact that there are different classes does help if you are playing with friends and want to really strategize.
The gameplay in Brink does not only focus on killing your enemies. Instead, there are plenty of objectives to complete. An on-screen objective wheel is where you can view your objectives. While the primary objective should be of utmost concern, there are other secondary objectives on the wheel that you can aim your sights on as well. These objectives will differ according to whether or not you are playing as a soldier, engineer, medic, or operative. The objective wheel does integrate well with the gameplay, and is rather easy to use, no matter what class you are using.
SMART is easily Brink's best aspect. SMART (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) is a movement system that helps you get around the map and its different obstacles in style. It essentially turns you into an acrobatic, gun-wielding hero, and you can use the system to jump, slide, climb, mantle, and seek cover with a single button. As you approach certain areas of the map, the SMART system will take into account whatever moves are necessary to keep you moving and progressing, and you will be able to execute them quickly to avoid and combat enemies. SMART on its own is great, but it's hard to really enjoy due to the game's setup. Since it is first person, you won't be able to get the full effects of the moves you are pulling off. Still, it is a great and refreshing addition to the genre.
There are eight levels or maps in Brink, which does not seem like a lot. They do look good and offer plenty of ways to showcase your SMART moves, but they can get repetitive after a while. You will need to adjust to the maps according to your character's body size, but, other than that, you will probably grow weary of seeing the same landscapes over and over again.
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