[Updated Impressions] Brink

Yes, we played some more Brink. Here are our updated impressions.
Author: Parjanya C. Holtz
Published: February 28, 2011

Over the last two years we've had a lot to say about a little game called Brink, offering in-depth previews by what must seem like every editor we have on staff. Whether seeing the game for the first time behind closed doors at Cologne, Germany's GamesCom '09, getting our first hands-on time with it at E3 2010, or suffering a painful defeat against human players at Pax Prime 2010 a few months ago, we've covered the game's different stages in its developmental evolution extensively. But not enough it seems, as Bethesda once again invited us out to San Francisco's W Hotel granting us an hour with Brink, likely a last time before its scheduled release date at the end of May.

It's a little difficult to find something unique to write about when a game has been covered by us as often as it has, so please forgive us for keeping it brief this time. However, do not make the mistake to assume that we are beginning to grow tired of seeing British studio Splash Damage's baby evolve. Of course it's always hard to judge a game's final and overall quality based on a few brief demos, and yet it's tough to not get overly excited for the final product upon playing Brink's campaign in online co-op, followed by Paul Wedgewood, Splash Damage's CEO and Game Director guiding us through a few layers of the level of depth Brink's character customization promises to offer.

In only a couple of short minutes we were able to create a character that both looked fantastic, and unique, immediately delivering that sense of individualism that is so essential to the enjoyment of today's online shooter. The difference here simply being the amount of depth the character creator demonstrated, and therefore the all the more surprising streamlined accessibility the feature managed to retain, one that Splash Damage rightfully so seems to be quite proud of. Once you've created your character (and customized your weapon - similarly in depth to the character creator, the weapon customization here easily rivals what the Call of Duty series has established so well in recent years), everything from looks to stats, and even earned experience points, seamlessly carries over across all modes of play. What this means, is that may you choose to begin playing the campaign alone against bots, only to then decide to take the experience online cooperatively with up to seven friends against either the AI or eight human opponents, your character stays with you at all times throughout the experience. Speaking of offline single-player, Wedgewood was keen to point out the AI's strengths, yet also said that players who take the game online are rewarded with higher experience points than those preferring to keep their campaign strictly offline.

There is little else that needs to be said at this point besides that the game still looks and plays great (on PS3s!), and we really can't wait much longer to get our hands on a final build to find out just how well Splash Damage has managed to package this obviously excellent gameplay foundation into the final product. If you feel like wanting to learn more about what Brink and its so called “SMART” system is all about, I highly recommend reading either J.D.'s or Sam's excellent previews. Oh, and be sure to check out those freshly baked new screenshots that went up today right here.