Brink – Eurogamer Expo-pinion
Availability: Xbox 360, PS3, PC (version demoed) – Spring 2010.
On the brink of civil war, a cut-off floating Arcology far in the future (2045) seeks to unravel the mystery of what great disaster has befallen a seemingly post-scarcity global society.
So what niche is Splash Damage looking to fill with BRINK, their first original IP to be conceived in conjunction with Bethesda? Well, it’s an interesting one. At a glance it seems a mish-mash of ideas as far and wide as Mirror’s Edge (the ‘SMART’ movement system, which I shall cover more of later), Assassins Creed (one button free-running, only in first-person), and the vehicular class-based construction combat of Enemy Territory Quake Wars. Quite an impressive mix of ideas; and amazingly it seems like they’ve pulled it off with aplomb.
Not content with simply creating a hybrid of other games, they also have a few truly innovative ideas to add of their own. Take the way missions are handled for example; although levels seem generally linear in the way they’re played out, you won’t always be completing the same sub-tasks within each objective, as they’re set-up in a dynamic fashion. Wedgewood demonstrated one such task that players could select through the easy-to-use radial menu: – interrogation of an enemy soldier using a Taser gun (aimed into a certain nether region), which in doing so earnt his character 300xp (an example of the RPG elements in Brink) Using the info gained from the now pleading soldier he was able to locate a handy cache of C4, which later allowed him to create a tactically advantageous short cut through the level. It also means players are fairly unlikely to run through the objectives in the same way twice.
Add to this the ability to change classes (I saw eight or so, but this may change before release) on the run using equipping stations, and the inherent flexibility of Brink’s gameplay becomes readily apparent.
The feature they’ve probably put the most development hours into however, the ‘SMART’ (simple movement around random terrain?) free-running/movement system. Using just one context-sensitive button, players are able to execute a wide variety of moves. For example, you can perform a slide simply by looking down and pressing said button. Conversely, to vault and leap over obstacles simply look up (such as at an overhang) and press it again whilst running forwards. Very elegant, and perhaps even an improvement over the free-running in Mirror’s Edge.
Also briefly demonstrated was the ability to deploy automated sentry guns, much as in TF2.
Sound design seemed quite good, shotgun blasts in particular have a nice ‘oomph’ to them, and character dialogue is varied and well acted. I can’t say much more due to being fixated by the shiny-ness of ID tech 4’s beautiful graphics for most of the presentation, running at a smooth sixty frames per second.
This is definitely one game that deserves to be higher up on your 2010 shopping list, especially if you were pining for more gun-play to go along with your free-running.