Greetings Space Cadets, This is another entry from my IGN Blog. I’m going to ramble on about Bethesda’s Brink. O’ and apologies now for all the spelling mistakes, iPad2 auto correct/and spell checker truly sucks apple need to talk to Microsoft.
First off I didn’t really know much about this game, I’d seen a couple of things in IGN and on Xbox Live but hadn’t really paid attention. Until I went to see Thor at the iMAX (written by one of my favourite writers, the genius the created Babylon 5 J Micheal S), and there was a trailer for Brink before the movie, and it looked cool. I thought “Why has no one told me about this game”. After the move I went home and went to order it, and guest what I see, retailer specific DLC for preorder, as it was due out the following week I shopped around a choose the Fallout pack from play.com, and as a bounce they where offering a discount in the game guide, so I offered that as well…
The following is now a rant about play.com if you want my look at the game skip down.
So the week no and I got the email telling me order had been dispatched, and that’s where the Phun began. Saturday came and the game guide arrived, but no game. Strange since they where sent from the same place at the same time. But Monday, Tuesday, nothing… Friday, saturday, nothing. Went on play.com 21 days before the can investigate. So I’ve got a DLC code and a guide for a game I’ve not received to play…
21 Days Later…
Still no game, back to play.com to submit a missing order complaint. So I fill in the form and sit tills you they will get back to you in 24 hours.
48 hours later…
No response, submit again. So save time this loop continued for 4 attempts to submit the form. So I emailed the another area of there customer services and a couple of days later they gave me a direct email address for the missing items department (obviously of difficult for the, just to forward it for me), and they also told me that I had to fill in the form scan it in and sign it. I thought what, fill in what form. The only conclusion I could come to was to fill in the online form and take a screen shot. So I did and and email it off. I got s email back saying this was not the form and they could not process the missing order. This is now 2 months after Brink was released. So I’m not a happy bunny. But, enter Microsoft Bing, for they know play.com’s secret, a costumer services phone number. Called them up I had paid £40 from them and wanted my money back. After arguing in the phone for a bit they finally refunded me YaY. I then jumped straight in the car and up to Morrison’s, where Brink was now available for £20. And so ends my rant about play.com and the madness I had getting my copy. But at least I still got discount on the book (that is impossible to follow) and my code for the Fallout DLC Pack.
So as we established earlier I knew nothing much about the game before I bought it, so I did not know what game style it was, or any thing about it’s single and multiplayer. The game starts out with you character what side you want to follow by default the resistance or Ark security. I choose the resistance. Next up is your character creation pretty similar to the any other game on this but you unlock other items to wear and player classes as you level, and the items you can select all have ominous names, such as Anger and The Lost, These choices are purely aesthetic as you they have no effect on your characters performance, and game play. The characters themselves remind me of something from TF2 with there odd proportions. There are a couple of character classes in the game but they can not be unlocked at the beginning, you have to level up a bit first and progress through the game before you can use these. These classes also effect how you interact with the environments with regards to S.M.A.R.T. that I will talk about later and the hit points you can take which is very low to start with.
But moving on form the characters and on the the important part, the actual game. You have you campaign mode of douse but I will first start of with the challenges. There are a series of challenges that also act as tutorial levels and if you have yet to play the game I seriously recommend that you do these first, especially with a low level character. As if you make the mistake I made and did most of the campaign and levelled my character to Hightower before starting to do them, as this makes the difficulty extremely high and your frustration levels will go through the roof. Additionally as an added bonus for competing all the challenges you will unlock all the weapon mods, and playing with all the variations can make you game play a completely different experience.
Moving on to the campaign, as I mentioned I know nothing about the game or how it worked before playing and on my first play was quite clueless as to what I had to do. It took 2 levels for me the work out what was going on and then the Phun started. Depending on who’s story you chooses to start with Ark Security or the Resistance makes no difference, as you can progress in any order if you configure your setting for online play other players will drop in and out, but most of the time you may not even notice them from the AI (an AI that is frustratingly dumb). The missions themselves have simple and repetitive objectives, and if you playing as Ark Security or the Resistance you will be pitched at the opposing end on that levels conflict, for example if as Ark Security you are tasks with escorting a VIP, as the Resistance on the same map you will be tasked with the mission of stopping the VIP. There are several main themes to the missions:
Defends a location
Attack a location
Attacking a location can involve attaching to destroy of to hack a terminal.
Escort a VIP
Stop a VIP
You see the patten emerging. In accomplish this goals you have to make use of the 4 character classes available, soldier, engineer, medic, and operative (spy). My preference is to be the engineer as you that the option of deploying turrets, like in TF2 and is a excellent way of holding your position if you are defending. But dependent on the mission is dependent on what you will need. Unlike other games where you had to die to change class in Brink all you need do is find a command console your team controls (or take one over which gives you and your team bonuses for the time you can hold it) and select what type you wish to be and when you leave the console you will be that class. This is essential as the AI is really dumb. What l like to do and do really well is a an engineer, go in setup and hold. I hold, and I hold waiting for the AI to sent me one of the 5 operatives out there away from taking command posts that you can do without and come and complete the mission wile I defend them. If you had the ability to give some orders to any of your AI team this game wile be truly awesome and a lot less frustrating. All the mission objectives are timed so you only have so long to hold an are and if you or the AI don’t have the right class in the right place you will lose the mission or be forced to move on to another objective delaying you potential victory, or prolonging your defeat.
The levels themselves are visually beautiful. At first before I know anything about the game I read Bethesda and thought ‘Open World’ and looking at the Ark I think this would have been awesome. The Ark itself reminds me a little of Atlantis from Stargate… I love Jewel Staite… Ok I’m back. But the levels or areas represent different areas of the ark, arrival terminals, power reactor stations, a resort areas that look like shopping mall, etc. These area you have to play in are quite large, and some times this can be a problems as if (or when) you die it can sometimes be quite a hike back to your objective. But getting back to your objectives can be made easier and put the enemy off balance dependent on how you use the different character classes. Some areas, doorways, stairs can be hacked, repaired or blown up, to help your team push forward or alternatively to slow your attackers. Additionally there is a Free Running style of navigation you can use to be through the map they call it S.M.A.R.T. (I’m sure it stands for something, but I cant look it up right now). Basically wile you have S.M.A.R.T. active as you run around you can point your view at an object, a wall, a low gap, and you will automatic navigate over or under it. This also works if for example you are say coming up to a drop but there is a path beneath or a balcony above, with S.M.A.R.T. You simply point a little up or down and it will handle drop down or the jump and grapple over the balcony. It’s quite a nice system it can be useful in getting passes enemy’s or getting away. This can be excited virtually anywhere on the levels it’s up to you to decide how to use it to your advantage.
I will try to be a little cryptic here as I don’t want to spoil to much, and since I am still gathering all the extras myself from the story it could not be complete anyway. The overall story is quite simple the founder site or Ark Security side want to maintain order due to truths they know, and the Resistance made up of the Guest or refuges want freedom and equal right as they work more or less as slaves to those from the founders camp. The Ark it’s self in the Brink universe was build as an experiment and was later a holiday resort, a self sufficient island. But as the world changes it became the last outpost of civilised humanity, and took in refuges, survivors from the lost world. After 20 years with no contact that the guests know of they want to leave and try to start a new. And I’m not surprised really there only appears to be meals on the Ark with the exception of the main founder who’s voice you hear from time to time. An island with no woman, I’d be angry too.
So in wrapping up, because I really have to get back to work. It is a Phun game to play, lots or replay if the AI was a little better this would be perfect, and if one sound bit was removed that being the constant shouting of “they are taking a command post, stop them” it would be 100% perfect. There are not to many missions but I hope this will be solved with DLC at a later date, and since the game is only £20 you have no excuse not to have picked up your copy.
Brink – 7/10 on the ‘Bonniwae’ scale.
See you next time. Gort, Beringa…