FPS Pushed to the Brink

by Jeremy Murphy

I am not really much of a shooter fan.  I love the games, but I always run into the problem of having to do the same thing over and over again.  I get into the rush of it, I enjoy the epic moments, and I usually really enjoy the games.  For an hour or so.  Really, how many times can I spawn, shoot, die, and respawn before I go crazy?

There have been some games that have taken measures to help alleviate this torture.  Battlefield, for example, puts you in the position of capturing new spawn points and creating a sort of motion as teams push back and forth.  Many games have begun to incorporate leveling systems, which I love right up until a week after the game has been out and the uberplayers have all the unlocks while I’m still working with the starter guns.  All in all, I hate spending $30-$60 for a game that will interest me for 3-6 hours.

Then I picked up Brink.  I was pleasantly surprised. I’ll start with gameplay, the most important part.

At first, I was afraid it was going to be Team Fortress 2.1 – a good game, yeah, but it doesn’t need a remake.  I saw my team spawning, running out into a junkyard, and proceeding to engage in a storm of bullets and bodies.  They would die, spawn, and dive in again.  I groaned inwardly.  As soon as I glanced at the mission wheel, my eyes lit up.  Not only did I have a handful of objectives to choose from, but they weren’t static; for example, if my enemies blew out the side entrance to a building, I’d suddenly gain the mission to repair the side entrance.  It seems minor, but putting those options into the game mechanics helps mitigate the feeling of smashing your team’s collective head against the opponents’.  Add in the very easy buffing (hit F and you’re done), the ability for all classes to use all weapons, and the interesting parkour system, and this game feels slick and engaging.

The graphics, as in Borderlands, are sure to elicit as much hate as love.  Yes, it’s a stylized world.  No, you’re never going to forget you’re playing a game.  But is it ugly?  Hell no.  The maps are widely varied and the visuals do not bore.  If you don’t like that style, that’s all there is to it.  But that’s a poor reason not to give a good game a shot.

And finally, I’d like to touch on the multiplayer.  Really, I just want to point out that they allow you to make servers.  None of that matchmaking idiocy.  It’s my personal opinion that any game that relies on matchmaking should be stricken from the face of the planet (I’m looking at you, Modern Warfare 2).

Of course, it’s not perfect.  Though there are sure to be a ton of maps in the future, there will always be a few popular ones that will get stale.  And yes, you do have to go through the die and respawn cycle from time to time.  The hacking objectives can sometimes feel like trying to slowly press your skull through a keyhole. 

In short, Brink is one of the best shooters that I’ve played in a good long time.  Even for someone that prefers slow and carefully thought-out gameplay (like myself), this game will surely give you enough options to keep you from turning that EZ-Nade grenade launcher on yourself.