Bethesda Softworks’ Brink for Sony Corp.’s Playstation 3, Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 and the PC is a decent online squabble with objective-based team vs. team struggles, though the single-player component should be avoided due to weak ally AI.
In Brink, a land called The Ark has fallen to into two divisions – those that will save The Ark and those that will escape it. The two factions deploy on opposing missions in a single-player campaign and online mode for up to 16 users.
The single-player, online co-op for eight and online versus for up to 16 share a single interface with only the parameters separating the modes.
Users can create a custom character with a number of face and body attributes, with more to be unlocked with XP.
In addition, users can customize weapon selection from an assortment of rifles, machine guns, and shotguns, each of which can be further customized with attachments like scopes, silencers, and grips.
Challenge levels allows users to test their skills to unlock new weapons and attachments.
Finally, Brink includes four classes – Soldier, Medic, Engineer, and Operative – all of which are required to complete each mission and facilitate teamwork.
Aim control is solid with a good default weight and options to adjust per player preference. While running could use a boost, an agile tactile button with the L trigger allows users to climb and move around the area with ease.
Each mission, eight for each faction, includes a number of multi-part objectives and secondary objectives from escorting a hostage to obtaining a file. The opposing faction is required to stop the offensive from completing their objectives at every juncture.
The mission scenario works well in online modes when users can work together to plant bombs, heal, fix machinery, and spot enemies. A lot of combat is close quarters for quick and scrambling fire between each faction.
Additionally, each mission includes a Command Post that, when secured, allows refill ammo, change weapons, and change their class.
Online teamwork will result in many intense sessions to complete objectives with an onslaught of respawning enemies.
The enemy respawn is particularly brutal in the single-player campaign. While each AI is not fully reactive and aware, they fill the screen quickly like a wave of ants and can dominate any area. The hard AI could work if the ally AI was up to par, but unfortunately, ally AI is unable to focus on the required objective to meaningfully complete all missions.
For example, in one session, a security bot needed repair in order continue forward. While all nearby enemies were disposed of, the entire team failed to repair the bot and continued to battle enemies in a prior section that no longer needed securing.
The graphics engine is good at 30 frames per second. While movement is a bit sporadic, characters are well-constructed as are the colorful environments. Also, Brink employs a number of well-designed icons that make it easy to view any current objective or options.
Brink is a decent, customizable online FPS that offers a number of tense, team-based objectives. While the single-player mode isn’t up to par, real-life friends and foes will make it a mission to save or escape The Ark.