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Hands On With Brink

Posted on Monday, March 14 @ 17:02:53 PST by Blake_Morse

I must admit, the first time I saw Brink at last year's E3, I was a bit underwhelmed to put it nicely. But after getting my hands on a more recent and polished version of the game, my tone towards the upcoming FPS has changed dramatically.

Brink takes place in a future that is part Waterworld and part Mad Max. After ocean levels start rising, a group of forward-thinkers put together a floating utopia, called "The Ark", to ride out the climate change and preserve humanity called "The Ark". But when wave after wave of desolated immigrants arrive, the population explodes and supplies run low. The floating paradise is now divided between the haves and the have-nots. Now it's up to you to pick whose side you're going to be on: Will you be a defender of the status quo as a member of the Security Squad or rise up against your elitist oppressors as a Resistance member?

The first thing I did when I emerged into the world of Brink was choosing a side and creating my own character. There are tons of character customization options; everything from your clothes to your gun can be given a personal touch. If you decide your avatar needs a tattoo, go ahead and give him one, but be aware that just like in real life, once the ink is on the skin, it ain't coming off. You get a decent amount of options to start off with but like with most games that feature such options, many more will have to be unlocked by playing through levels and gaining XP.

Once you've made your character and the lines have been drawn, it's time to get right down to the nitty-gritty action. Combat is FPS-based and features some cool acrobatic moves, a la Mirror's Edge, only you'll actually want to play this game. If you need to hop up on a ledge. your character will run up to it and grab it simply by just running up to it. You can also pull off a cool sliding kick move to get your John Woo action movie vibe going on.

All missions are team- and objective-based. As anyone who's ever put a headset on while playing FPSs can attest to, communicating with a team to achieve a goal in-game can be quite a hassle as most folks are more interested in spurting out racial slurs or derogatory remarks about your mother and how she may theoretically make a living (say, as a big, fat ho) than actually working towards achieving a goal. To both save you the hassle and time of trying to organize and communicate with a group of unruly trolls, Brink has come up with a system that informs you of what needs to be done and who's working as what.

The system works brilliantly. At no point did I ever communicate directly with anyone I was playing with, but we were still unified in whatever objective we had in front of us at the moment. If we had to hack into a system, there would be backup waiting for me when I arrived on the scene to take out any would be aggressors while the job was done, or I'd take up the role of defender and join in the fray myself.

There are four classes in Brink you can choose from. The Soldier and Medic are pretty self-explanatory, and they get buffs to ammo capacity and health respectively. Medics can also revive fallen players on the battlefield if they're patient enough to wait for one to come along and toss them a syringe. Then there's the Engineer who can do things like fix robots, lay down turrets, and plant land mines. And last but not least, the Operative, who can make himself look like fallen enemies for some serious subterfuge.

Out of all the classes, I had the most fun being an Operative. I'd sneak into enemy territory and kill whoever was hanging out there, then do something really mean, like hack their outposts, so they couldn't spawn or change character classes there anymore, or I'd pretend that I was backing someone up while they worked on an objective, then just massacre them. I love being sneaky.

I must admit, Brink has come a long way from when I originally laid my eyes on it and is shaping up to be just the thing the online FPS squad-based genre needs to get people to pick up their controllers instead of throwing them down in frustration after losing match after match all the while being called such lovely things as "fag" or "pussy" by a 12-year-old half way around the world.

Brink launches May 17, 2011 on PS3, 360, and PC.

Related Games:   Brink
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