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Brink hands-on: Slick shooting meets Mirror’s Edge… with added Hannibal Lecter masks and mohawks

The shooter genre is so crowded right now, it’s hard to tell one Billy Buzzcut shouty soldier from the next. Luckily, with playable characters who all look like circus acts and the most intuitive movement system we’ve seen since Mirror’s Edge; Brink shouldn’t have too much trouble standing out from the generic crowd. Recently, we got hands-on with the game in a few four-player co-op sessions. We were even fortunate enough to have developer Splash Damage’s head honcho Paul Wedgewood guide us through the action. So if you like the idea of freerunning clowns murdering each other with hi-tech weaponry, we suggest reading on.


So what's the deal with Brink, then?

“Eh, is that the FPS where the guys look like they’ve had their heads and arms stretched out by a medieval rack?” you might find yourself asking. Well, yes, young Padawan. You’re partially right.


Above: OK, so you’re a lot right

But Brink is a whole hell of a lot more than a bunch of lanky grunts running around tightly-designed maps, shooting each other’s gangly asses. It’s also a shooter with a simple, if ludicrously lofty mandate: it wants to blur the lines between single and multiplayer gaming.

Pitting two factions (Resistance and Security) against each other in a floating city called The Ark, the game Brink most closely resembles is Team Fortress 2. It’s an obvious comparison, as both titles revolve around team (objective-based) deathmatches. But where Valve’s masterpiece is focused on purely multiplayer, Splash Damage’s title weaves a story mode throughout its drop-in/drop-out co-op. It means whether you’re playing with the impressively on-the-ball bots or actual human-shaped flesh bags, there’s always the added motivation of a single player-style narrative to get you through what feels like a multiplayer experience.


It’s SMART as hell

No, the caps lock on our keyboard hasn’t suddenly developed a mind of its own, Johnny Wisenheimer. Instead, Splash Damage’s acronym for their Mirror-Edge-style parkour system stands for ‘Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain’. If you’ve ever played EA’s futuristic freerunner, you should feel fairly at home with Brink’s buttery smooth movement. Simply hold down L2/LT and your gibbon-armed soldier will automatically break into a Usain Bolt-shaming sprint.

Cleverly, it’s a context sensitive system that responds to where you’re looking. Nudge the stick up as you come towards a stack of crates and you’ll automatically clamber smoothly up them, before vaulting over the other side. Likewise, if you aim downwards as you approach a low obstacle, your military man will gracefully slide under it.

Basically, in both concept and execution, it’s such a sloppy kiss towards Faith and her parkour prowess, we suggest the Runner take out a 500-foot restraining order as soon as she can sprint down to her nearest courthouse. Not that we’re complaining, of course. After years of controlling shooters where beefy soldiers move like they’ve been injected with a big fat doze of arthritis, SMART provides the most nimble and refreshing of changes.


You’ll actually want to be a team player

Mainly because Splash Damage bribe the shit out of you by rewarding you with extra points for helping out your team. The game’s four different classes all reward you in different ways. Say you’re playing as a Medic. Well then, Brink will spit out points each time you ‘buff’ (i.e. boost) the health of your team-mates with med-packs. Similarly, Soldiers’ rewards come for buffing other players’ weapons, while Engineers get a delicious bonus for repairing droids or setting up gun turrets.


Above: Turrets = fun... and obviously agonising death

Operatives are slightly different. Although they can’t directly improve the stats or health of their buddies, they can highlight the position of enemies for their team on the map. If they can successfully hack an opposition player’s HUD, they'll also temporarily steal their identity, which makes them essentially invisible to their enemies for a short time.

Thanks to each class having such clearly defined perks, the action is given a lovely variety with players all performing different jobs. There’s never a shortage of things to do, either. And you always feel involved as the really shooty cog of a much larger machine

Points most definitely mean prizes in Brink, too. And any you earn can be spent buying new clothes or weapon upgrades in the impressively in-depth customisation options, which handily, we’re just about to talk (well, type) about…

24 comments

  • gyromne - May 3, 2011 2:38 a.m.

    I sure hope people buy, and play this on the 360.Seems kinda boring alone.
  • kooloff - April 18, 2011 5:50 p.m.

    really want this. cant wait until may.....well, i probably could
  • cougarmony123 - March 2, 2011 3:01 a.m.

    Wow amazing , i love this ! . I am a lawer 31 years old, mature and beautiful , and single at present ..and now I am seeking a young man who can love me back |it is the first and best club for Cougars and Young Men. So i uploaded my sexy photos there under the name of cutie23.. on ~~~~ Cougarmony.c om````` Please Check it out!I'm serious
  • Rivenscry - March 1, 2011 12:32 p.m.

    I wouldn't exactly say the guns in Killzone were the most realistic sounding, that honour still sits with Black, but I see what you mean. Still, I love that this isn't being published (as far as I know) by the big three publishers (Activision, EA and Ubisoft) but by a comparatively smaller group than the giants. (Zenimax, by the way) Still, can't wait for it, and keep up these articles of yours, they're the highlight of my day, save from www.ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com
  • KingOfFighters - March 1, 2011 9:36 a.m.

    Glad that these details came out. I've been waiting on someone to preview the game. From the sound of things, it seems like a pretty soild pickup. I've been on the fence wirh this one, and not that the light has been shed on it, I'll pick it up.
  • AGENTJORRRG - March 1, 2011 8:38 a.m.

    May 17th, actually.
  • marioman50 - March 1, 2011 5:39 a.m.

    SOO not a fan of the character models. Hearing good things though, and maybe if I buy 10 copies of this game, EA will suddenly decide to approve Mirror's Edge 2.
  • kiwicrossing - February 28, 2011 11:07 p.m.

    been waiting for this for a long time. [ ] This long actually
  • ray4594 - February 28, 2011 9:10 p.m.

    @JoeMulvihill1 Actually no it isnt coming on the same day. Brinks coming out on the 17th, which is the same as L.A Noire. Crysis 2 is coming on the 22nd, and Deus Ex doesnt even have a release date, but it isnt coming out until after April for sure.
  • donutman7 - February 28, 2011 8:41 p.m.

    I was hyped for it a while ago, it just seems like the delay and less and less trailers being released has brought that hype down to about 0, still a great game, but with such a long delay, it's hard to really get into that brink mood again
  • PistonFistin - February 28, 2011 8:35 p.m.

    Colour me (even more) excited.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - February 28, 2011 7:29 p.m.

    Definitely giving it a look in. Get me an agile, and a pistol like the one in BulletStorm (flare optional) and I'll happily spend hours ruining other people's fun with a well timed bullet into their skull as they vault over a fence.
  • McNeelyJ - February 28, 2011 6:58 p.m.

    Sorry but when did this game get pushed forward to mid march?
  • Yeager1122 - February 28, 2011 6:57 p.m.

    Been waiting for this for awhile now looks pretty good.
  • reveffect - February 28, 2011 6:43 p.m.

    @xombiesarelove I wouldn't worry about that. This game is more of a straight up, team based, shooter with some parkour thrown in than a parkour game with some shooting thrown in. The game isn't the same as mirrors edge and if you bought mirrors edge expecting it to be a shooter then you are sorely mistaken or else you would not be complaining about the fact that most of the time you are running around and attempting jumps so it is clear that that is not the type of game for you so if ME2 comes out then do not bother getting it. Basicly this game will have the speed of say COD with some team objectives to keep people from going lone wolf even though they are on a team. With a parkour machanic that allows you to move more freely through out the environtment than you could in other shooters like COD, Halo, and Battlefield.
  • MrWindowPayne - February 28, 2011 5:41 p.m.

    I cannot wait for this game! Played it in October and it was incredible. But it launches in May and not March
  • xombiesarelove - February 28, 2011 5:37 p.m.

    I hope this game isnt the same mix of "run for 10 minutes, die 30 times attempting a jump, then spend 20 minutes trying to figure out where to go" like Mirror's Edge. All the ads i keep seeing for it make it look pretty interesting, at least character design wise.
  • Fiirestorm21 - February 28, 2011 5:33 p.m.

    Been awhile since I heard about this game; I'd almost forgotten it. However this article reminded me why I'm so looking forward to this title. Splash Damage already has two hits under their belt with the Enemy Territory games, and they seem to be keeping that streak up with Brink.
  • JoeMulvihill1 - February 28, 2011 5:31 p.m.

    deus ex and crysis 2 are released on the same day. i'm still gonna get this. been anticipating it for AGES!!!
  • mijetman - February 28, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    Meiks?

Showing 1-20 of 24 comments

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