Gaming & Technology

'Brink' plays better with others than alone

Although Brink can be a single player game, it works best with a group of people who know what they're doing. Others might find the learning curve a little too steep.
Although Brink can be a single player game, it works best with a group of people who know what they're doing. Others might find the learning curve a little too steep. Photo courtesy Games Press

With video games dominated by first-person shooters, the recently released Brink tries to define itself by a fluid campaign-to-multiplayer transition, class-based support play, and simple and flowing environment navigation.

It's a different approach, but it's not done terribly well. Let's start with the story.

Brink is futuristic sci-fi set in an Earth that has flooded, leaving one remaining floating city on the planet. The game takes place as a civil war erupts, splitting the city into two sides.

At the outset, players are forced to choose to defend the city or leave it. From the beginning, the story doesn't make much sense — why wouldn't the city defenders just let the others leave? Why do they want to kill them? I'm wasting brain power here. But ultimately, that doesn't matter, because the story has little to do with the game itself.

If you've never played a team-based shooter, be prepared for quite a bit of learning. The user interface and gameplay elements are beyond what normal first-person shooters expect of players: This game makes widespread use of artificial intelligence bots when playing single player.

Essentially, every area you play in is a multiplayer battlefield. It's just up to you to determine whether you fill it with real people from Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network or whether you play against the AI bots. The latter is definitely discouraged; these bots frustratingly feel as if they were torn straight out of a game from a decade ago. The only way to play this game is against real people.

Once you get a group of people who know what they're doing, the game starts to shine. Somewhat. Playing with a good team can be rewarding, as completing objectives is often complex and requires a lot of teamwork. This isn't your typical run-and-gun Halo clone with some teamwork thrown in. If you're not careful, you will be taken out quickly. Some of the core mechanics feel clunky, but playing with a good team can be fun.

Also, once you start completing missions, the breadth of character customization opens up. This is one of the game's best attributes, as the amount of options presented, such as clothing, body style, perks, weapons and attachments, is almost endless.

If you're a huge fan of multiplayer team-based shooters and are looking for something a little different, then by all means give Brink a try. For everyone else, wait until the price comes down.

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