Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brink released with some mixed reviews.

Well thought I would update with a few different things today. Tuesdays are awesome. New games and movies always come out on Tuesdays. With that being said, a game I mentioned a few days finally came out. Brink.

Now I didn't pick this game up right away because I've noticed that the past few games that I bought recently went on sale on Amazon, K-Mart, Best Buy, and a few other places a week or two after the game came out. For instance Portal 2 in on sale a lot of places for $30. So I was going to wait til this one hit that sub $30 before picking it up.

I'm glad that I waited because the reviews that came out, made me glad that I didn't pay full price for the game. Listen to some of the big name site are saying.

Brink is unfinished. And that doesn't mean it's full of technical problems. Well, it's got those too. But mostly, it's just an unpolished, poorly executed mess of ideas. Wait, let me temper that. There are times when Brink looks like it's going to break out of its shell. There are times where the fairly interesting and cool (honestly!) ideas seem to be just about to bubble up and make the game worth playing. And then, suddenly and without warning, they're pushed back into the murky depths under the boot of poor design choices and lack of polish. It's exceedingly disappointing. Of course, for a game to be truly disappointing, it has to have potential. And Brink has more potential than it knows what to do with. (Note: Metacritic converts 1UP's D letter grade to a score of 25)

Here's one of the first major problems with Brink's objective-based structure: Each level that a player earns lets them unlock a new ability. Though there are a few permanent boosts the player can spend their unlocks on, most of these abilities are class-specific, meaning eventually, you're going to find a class you like and spend most of your points on it. Naturally, you'll have a predilection to play as that class — but should you refuse to switch your class to suit the objective, you're going to feel like your services aren't really required three-quarters of the time.

My central beef here is that anemic feel to the action. I love complexity in games like this, and strategizing how to utilize the varying skills of the different player classes to achieve your goals. But when the core action doesn't feel good, it kind of weakens the entire venture. When I shoot an enemy, especially in the head, I want them dead. Not laying on the ground waiting for a medic to revive them, dead. Especially when I pop someone in the head. If there is a cardinal rule of shooters, it should be that no one survives headshots. No one.

While some of the levels have a more even chance of success for either side, I have a feeling there are certain stages that players are going to eventually refuse to play, rage-quitting should they find themselves on the wrong side. Had Brink employed something similar to Killzone 3 — where objectives constantly shift and are evenly split between teams — it might have worked. Instead, the game has a totally bizarre flow where even if a team is dominating an enemy and wins two objectives, they can still lose a hard-fought match because they failed the third imbalanced requirement.

Brink deserves to be ranked among the finest co-op games available. As a multiplayer experience, it is exquisite. But as mentioned earlier, it falters if played solo. While all the modes can be played in single-player, the bots that act as stand-ins for other players are a poor replacement. It certainly isn't the case that gamers who buy Brink will feel ripped off if they don't have access to their console's (or PC's) online network. But until you've fought both with and against living opponents in Brink, you have yet to sample the best of what it has to offer.

Brink's one shining aspect is SMART (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain). Using SMART, holding a single button lets you navigate up walls, over obstacles, and through the game world. Depending on your body size, you can do more or less with movement, but overall this finesse is fantastic. Nothing in Brink feels quite as good as sliding under gunfire into someone, taking them out with a shotgun. However, it's easy to forget which size your character is in first-person perspective, as movement abilities don't change dramatically. While the Large size allows miniguns and shotguns, they still move only slightly slower than the Medium size. Only Small characters can really burst through levels, leaping off of walls and finding clever passageways.

Without a doubt, Splash Damage and Bethesda will listen to what people are saying. I would expect to see a patch to fix some of the technical issues people are talking about in the next week or two.

On a totally different note, the developers also took a shot at console gamers and their lack of teamwork.

Implying that console gamers aren't going out of their way to help out with objectives. I agree. While playing on the console, I normally stuck to more objective based games. In Call of Duty I preferred Search and Destroy and Headquarters. I bought Battlefield: Bad Company 2 originally on the XBox 360. I stopped playing because I would end up raging at teammate. Snipers that wouldn't leave their hiding spot to help capture a point, or medics that would revive you in the line of fire, only to let you die 2 or 3 more times so he can get the points for reviving you.

After finally building a gaming PC I bought Bad Company 2 on the PC. I immediately found a new love for the game. People working together. Using chat. Spotting people. Actual teamwork. I was glad that I decided to give the multiplayer a second chance. It was clear that the PC crowd took winning more seriously than their K/D ratio.

A while back, the Bad Company team even held a contest on the three different platforms, to see who complete a set amount of team actions to get a set of maps unlocked early. Want to guess who won?

Anyways thats enough rambling in this post. Let me know if you got Brink and what you think of it. What are your feelings on K/D ratio and teamwork in games?


  1. I heard about this game this morning, dunno if i want it though

  2. Haha, I told my friend about these reviews just before he picked up his pre-order and he was ticked off. It's too bad to see what could have been a fantastic game fail so miserably.

  3. I really want to try out brink! :D

  4. Party babyz? Somehow I do not think I am going to love that...
    K/D Ratios are good! They show if you are a good player, or a clueless noob!
    Teamwork is good, but you need to be able to solo it aswell!
    Awesome blog! Followed!

  5. I was planning to buy PS3, but nah, after what happened to PSN, I'll be sticking for XBOX360 I'll try this as soon I got my XBOX360

  6. So true, teamwork is not easy to find when using consoles, however I think it depends on the game too, sometimes the game can make you look more at "your" goals than the ones you have as a team.

  7. party babyz looks pretty cool! this might be good for the kids i babysit for hehh

  8. Haha, I have no clue what you would do in that left baby game.

  9. Thanks, great compilation of reviews.

  10. Too bad, I was really looking forward to Brink. Following you now.

  11. I don't think I can justify playing 'Party Babyz' to my friends.

  12. Brink is way more fun than these reviewers claim.

  13. I've been pretty skeptical of all the hype, I'd say thats one reason it's taken such a beating.

    And PC gamers do tend more towards the teamwork side, play a couple of rounds of TF2 on PC and then play it on 360. Massive difference.

  14. That's so embarrassing. Better reviews than Duke Nukem is currently gathering.