The FPS community, at the moment, is a lot like a gay porno. Everyone is looking for the next big thing. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has sold over 20 million copies and even Charlie Sheen could work out that that's where a large majority of people choose to shoot imaginary people for hours upon hours every day.
Basically what I’m getting at is: making a successful online-focused FPS game these days is exceedingly difficult, and making a unique one that much harder again. Keeping that in mind let’s look at Brink.
Brink is set in a fictitious totalitarian society which lives in a floating city named “The Ark”. As with all totalitarian societies, there are a number of factions and a certain amount of dissent in the general population. When you add in the fact that refugees from the flooded outside world have taken to living in slums on the outskirts of “The Ark” while the original population lives in the lap of luxury, you can see why people want to grab some guns and start shooting.
And that's exactly what you do. Straight away you are given the option to “Save the Ark” or “Escape the Ark”, effectively letting you choose from one of the two teams: The Resistance and The Security. Both of these teams have very unique design options to choose from and identical class and upgrade options.
Now if Brink was to be judged on its customisability alone, it would be one of my favourite games of all time. Creating a unique character is effortless and the additional unlockable options only sweeten the deal. However, after about half an hour designing your perfect badass you will no doubt want to go fighting with him. And this is where the game starts to go downhill.
Brink incorporates a SMART (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) system which allows the player to perform slides, wall runs and jumps while maintaining the speed necessary for a successful shooter. As well as this, you can play as a Medic, Soldier, Engineer or an Operative. Both of these features are achieved admirably. The movement is effortless to the point of being subconscious (example: on xbox you just hold down RB while moving towards a wall, a crate, whatever) and the classes all feel different and useful while not distracting you from your teams goals and shooting up your enemies.
But a lot of the time unfortunately I wanted to be distracted. The interface Brink has constructed provides you with a lot of information, but at the same time feels like you are looking through a car windscreen that someone has cluttered with bumper stickers. On top of this, the campaign and multiplayer all play exactly the same (something Bethesda bragged about prior to release) and I hate to say that it gets old quickly. For fans of Team Fortress, you will wish Brink had the foresight to be an only multiplayer game as well. Any offline features become very quickly redundant.
The online however, is fairly entertaining. If you are looking for a break from CoD then you could do a lot worse than play a few games of Brink. Unfortunately the online is also notorious for lag issues and slow connectivity. Critics have said it before and it’s easy to agree, Brink is a few updates short (or should I say on the brink) of being a good game.