- Scribbled on June 23rd, 2010 by Jonah Falcon
- Filed in E3, Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, Previews, Shooter, Sony PlayStation 3
Last year, GameStooge awarded our E3 ’09 Best Game of Show to Brink, Splash Damage’s scintillating dynamic class-based shooter. We were also enthralled with it during last year’s PAX in Seattle as well. The only downside to both exhibitions was that that was basically what we were treated to: exhibitions. Live demos, but hands off.
This year, we finally got to play Brink.
In Bethesda’s booth, I was shown both a demo level and a mission level of Brink on a PlayStation 3, guided by Splash Damage’s own CEO Paul Wedgwood.
The game played ultrasmooth, as my character walked through an expansive level, as chaos was bursting all around me. I began to find that Brink features the most organized chaos you will ever navigate in a shooter. Although bullets and explosions are everywhere, and a viewer might find the entire scene confusing, the game always guides you to what you should be doing.
The first thing I learned about was the customization. You can customize your character however you like, from tattoos to clothing to hair. The accessories and accoutrement you select actually have an affect on what your character does, and some of his stats. Guns can be extensively modified, from magazines to sights to barrels, and everything you do can be seen in during gameplay. Earning XP unlocks more advanced clothing and guns as well.
As I ran around the level, I was told to head to a command terminal to change my class from soldier to operative, so that I could select a mission to hack a computer. Selecting missions are simple: hit up on the D pad and you are presented with a selection wheel. The first mission that is highlighted is the mission the computer suggests for you, but you’re not locked into that mission. Selecting the mission, I followed the waypoint til I found my objective, and hacked the computer, during which I was vulnerable. An AI party member watched my back, however, as I did the deed.
Once done, I was told to return to the terminal to change my class again, this time to an engineer, where I selected a mission in which I would build a turret to guard another teammate who was trying to blow up a door. I was told that low level engineers would not be able to build turrets; players had to earn new abilities for each class. The character I was given was high enough to build one, and as I did, it cut down attackers while I jumped down to protect my teammate with a shotgun.
The next level I was shown was to demonstrate the S.M.A.R.T. (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) running ability. As mentioned in earlier previews, you activate S.M.A.R.T. by holding down the left shoulder button, which causes your character to sprint. Your character will automatically vault, leap, duck and climb any obstacles in the way to allow you to make a straight line towards your objective. I learned that you have to be at around a perpendicular angle to obstacles to effectively use the feature, which is sort of a failsafe against accidentally making moves you don’t really want to make. Using S.M.A.R.T., I leapt up a series of crates to drop into a secure area to hack a device. I also learned that different class types use S.M.A.R.T. differently; people who build their characters into huge bruisers won’t be able to do some of the more lightfooted moves that thin runners will be able to.
Aside from the well-balanced, slick gameplay, the game looks beautiful. The areas are detailed, and feel like a real, breathing world, while characters are constructed to suit gamer’s desires, from faces to voices to age details. You can make a wizened old Asian with a creaky voice, or a barechested hulking football player – it’s your choice. The depth of customization is unlimited, and Wedgwood told me that when a character performs an action like an interrogation or hacking a computer, they made sure the camera would pull out to third person so that the player could enjoy seeing his creation for that period of time.
The best compliment I can possible make about Brink is that it’s turning out to be everything we hoped for when we were first shown the developer demo a year ago. We can’t wait to see the final, finished product, which will be released this Spring 2011 for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.