Brink (video game)
|Engine||id Tech 4|
Brink is a first-person shooter video game directed by Mike Schondek and developed by Splash Damage for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was released in North America on 10 May 2011, in Australia on 12 May 2011, in Europe on 13 May 2011 and in Japan on 16 August 2011.
Brink has Steamworks integration, including Valve Anti-Cheat. It runs on id Tech 4 and has an updated rendering framework with improved support for multiple CPU cores. Brink is a first-person shooter with a focus on parkour-style movement. Online multiplayer servers hold up to 16 players; players can play cooperatively or competitively, or against artificially-intelligent bots.
Splash Damage developed the SMART (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) System. By noting a player's position and predicting what he is trying to do, the system automatically navigates complex environments without interaction. By holding down the SMART button, a player will automatically clear obstacles without the need of complex button input from the player, like in Mirror's Edge. SMART automatically mimics adaptive parkour, similar to Prototype.
There are four character classes: Soldier, Medic, Engineer, and Operative. The same class system could also be found in the previous titles Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars.
- Soldiers: Soldiers are primarily concerned with destroying important objects with explosives. They are also in charge of resupplying their teammates with ammo. Soldiers can also throw damaging speciality grenades, such as molotov cocktails, flashbang, and plant satchel charges similar to C4. With the proper ability equipped and utilised (Scavenger), they are the only class that have access to a potentially unlimited supply of ammunition.
- Engineers: The Engineer is concerned primarily with building, repairing, and upgrading things on the battlefield. Engineers must also disarm enemy explosives planted by soldiers as well as enemy landmines. He can also upgrade his and his teammate's weapons to do more damage, upgrade teammates' body armour, and plant hidden landmines.
- Medics: Medics revive downed teammates and buff their teammates' health. They also have special health buffs they can dispense to their teammates, such as improving their teammates' metabolism (how fast they heal on the battlefield) or temporarily boosting their sprint speed. They are the only class that can buff their own health or self-resurrect themselves when downed.
- Operatives: Operatives are the spies of Brink. They can hack computers to complete certain Mission Objectives and can also disguise themselves as the enemy. They are the only class that can spot hidden landmines.
Players can customise their loadouts and buy special abilities with experience points, which are earned by completing objectives. The abilities that the player can buy for their character are either "universal" (abilities that the player will be able to use regardless of their class during a mission) and class-specific (abilities that the player can use only when they are in that class). All characters in the beginning will have the "basic kits" of each class so that they can perform the essential objectives only. The class-specific abilities that they buy, however, can enhance their ability and their role in a certain class, potentially making objectives easier to complete and allowing for a greater gain in experience points. The same experience points can be earned in both single-player and multiplayer, adding a special "online bonus" to the player's experience points after completing a mission online. Bethesda claims that players can create a total of 102 quadrillion unique character combinations, if minor variations are factored in.
There are several appearance combinations that a character can have. One of the most significant appearance categories is body type. There are three distinct body types in Brink: heavy, medium, and light, and each have their own positive and negative qualities.
- Heavy body types are very bulky and have significant muscle mass. They can handle all weapons in the game. Their primary weapon can be as powerful as a heavy machine or gatling gun, and their backup weapon can be as powerful as an automatic rifle. Heavy body types also have the highest health. However, they have slowest sprint speed, and their parkour abilities are limited to vaulting over small obstacles that are at waist height or below.
- Medium body types have less muscle mass and are thinner than heavies. They can handle most weapons. Their primary weapon can be as powerful as an automatic rifle, and their backup weapon can be as powerful as a sub-machine gun. A medium's health is lower than heavy body types, but their sprint speeds are much faster and their parkour abilities allow them to clear most obstacles at head height or below.
- Light body types have even less muscle mass and are thinner than mediums. They are also very limited in the weapons they can handle. Their primary weapon can be as powerful as a sub-machine gun, and their backup weapon is strictly limited to a pistol (however, handling a pistol, regardless of body type or class, will allow the player to use a knife as a far more damaging melee attack). They also have the lowest health. However, they have the fastest sprint speed, and their parkour abilities allow them to wall-hop so that they can clear obstacles at greater speed and reach areas that other body types cannot.
The Squad Commander system gives players context-sensitive objectives. A variety of factors—where the player is, how skilled he is, his overall mission progress, etc.—determine what objectives will be available. During both on- and offline play, the player can defend one of his faction's command posts or capture an enemy's command post.
There are two types of command posts: health and supply. Each team will have a central command post where reinforcements will start. That command post cannot be captured by the other team and any enemy that tries will be killed by indestructible turrets. However, there will be a few health and supply command posts that can be captured. If a player captures a command post, it will buff all of their teammates' health or supplies. If a player buys certain abilities for their character, then upon capture they can upgrade the command post (an engineer's special ability) or firewall it (an operative's special ability).
An Objective Wheel shows the main objective in yellow and will show a checkpoint which the player will need to go to to achieve that primary objective. The primary objectives are essential to completing the mission. Depending on what side the player is on and what mission the player is doing, there are only a certain amount of primary objectives that you can allow the opposing team to complete before you fail the mission. There are also secondary objectives. Secondary objectives are non-essential to the mission but can make the mission easier to complete. These include capturing an enemy's command post, constructing/destroying a barricade, hacking a door to flank the enemy, or repairing a lift to provide an alternative route. Each player has an objective wheel in his inventory and will, on certain missions, be timed to achieve the goal that must be completed. Each Objective gives Experience points (xp) upon completion. During Game play you earn the experience and unlock new abilities/Custom gear to put on your custom character.
Brink takes place in the near future during the mid-21st century (hinted in-game it is the year 2045) on a man-made floating island called the Ark. It is established as an environmentally and economically self-sustainable island, a contemporary model for green, sustainable living. However, global warming caused a dramatic rise in sea levels around the world. Decades later, the Ark became a place for refugees all around the world as they viewed the innovative island as the only suitable place to live. The Ark is now home to tens of thousands more people than it was originally meant to sustain, and its supposedly renewable resources are being pushed to the limit. Now, the Ark exists in total isolation and has lost contact with the outside world. Many refugees live in tight spaces made from rusty shipping containers and live in poverty. Those who work for the Ark Security get an extra water ration. Now, a war has begun between the Resistance and Ark Security.
The Resistance is led by Brother Chen, a name that the Resistance affectionately uses for him. Joseph Chen played a significant part in the Ark's construction and design. However, he became angry at the Founders' and Security's decision to ration water and isolate the Ark's refugees from the rest of the island while Security and the Founders live in luxury. Chen armed and founded The Resistance, a group of well-trained refugees, and demanded that the Founders share the Ark's resources, and water, equally. The Resistance's goal in Brink is to protect refugees from Security forces, distribute Ark's resources to those in need, and to establish contact with the outside world. The Resistance agrees with Chen that the Founders and Ark Security are corrupt and oppressive, and that only the outside world can help them.
Ark Security is led by Captain Mokoena. Security's point of view is very different from that of the Resistance, whom they view as terrorists with dangerous ideas and goals that could destroy the Ark. Ark Security's goals in the game is to stop Chen and his terrorist plots, protect the Ark's remaining resources (and maintain control over them), and to preserve the Founders' vision of a self-sustaining island. Captain Mokoena believes that the rest of the world is in worse shape than the Ark, and that it is too dangerous to establish contact with the outside world. At one point in the game, he tells "classified" information to Ark Security, telling them that there is an outside world, and that years ago they sent out Ark representatives to try to make contact with it, until Ark's representatives were tortured to death for information of the Ark's location, and the Founders were forced to move the Ark.
The player will choose one of these two factions. While each level is the same regardless of the factions for which the player fights, the goals of each side will be different, and the plot-point revolving around each level will be different. For example, in one level, if the player fights for Security, the goal will be to break into a bio-weapons lab and steal a viral bomb that could infect the Ark's inhabitants so that they can launch a counter measure. However, if playing for the Resistance, the goal will be to protect a vaccine from the greedy Founders and Security so that it can distributed fairly among all of the Ark's inhabitants.
Release and marketing
Bethesda and Splash Damage originally planned to release the game sometime in spring 2009, but pushed it back to fall 2010, before delaying it again. They later announced a release date of 17 May 2011. In April, a month before release, they pulled the release forward a week to 10 May, citing early completion of the game and a desire to get it in players’ hands as soon as possible.
At QuakeCon 2010, Splash Damage announced Brink's digital pre-order bonuses for several digital retailers in North America as well as Asia. These bonuses will help expand the players starting customization options, with the Doom (GameStop), Fallout (Best Buy), Psycho (Amazon.com and Direct2Drive) and Spec Ops (Walmart and Steam) packs. The "Doom" and "Spec Ops" packs are both available in Nordic retailers. All the pre-order bonuses were later made available to purchase. In the United Kingdom, GAME released a "special edition" which, while costing more than the normal edition, included the Spec Ops and DOOM packs.
Agents of Change
The first downloadable content (DLC) for Brink, released on 3 August 2011 for the Xbox via Xbox Live and 4 August 2011 for the PlayStation 3. The Agents of Change DLC was free on all platforms for the first two weeks of release to stimulate more players into the online servers. After that period, the DLC's price was adjusted to $9.99. The pack contains additional content for the game, including new maps, abilities, attachments for weapons, clothing, and a raised level cap.
Brink received mixed to average reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version 69.74% and 68/100, the PlayStation 3 version 69.63% and 72/100 and the PC version 68.94% and 70/100. Eurogamer gave it an 8/10, saying that Brink was "an exceptional team shooter, smart, supremely well balanced and with a unique, exciting art style." GameSpy gave Brink 4 out of 5 stars. Saying that "Brink has the potential to become your new favorite FPS." Videogamer.com gave Brink an 8/10 saying that "Splash Damage achieves the impossible: a game that feels fresh in the stalest of genres." The Guardian gave Brink 4 stars out of 5, they praised Brink by saying "Brink deserves to be ranked among the finest co-op games available." Official Xbox Magazine UK gave Brink 4 stars out of 5, saying that Brink is "A meticulously designed Live shooter." Gaming Nexus gave Brink a B+ saying that Brink is "the most solid and well-balanced core gameplay yet from Splash Damage." Other reviews were very positive, calling Brink the best multiplayer FPS since Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or saying that "Brink is no less than an excellent multiplayer game".
The game was also, however, criticised as being incomplete or unpolished, with GamePro saying that "Brink is about two or three updates from being one of my favorite shooters of all time, but I'm not reviewing the game I want it to be. I'm reviewing the game that it is, and what it is something just short of being the awesome experience that I want".
Some reviews were very critical. Joystiq gave the game a score of 2 out of 5 stars, stating that "Brink's artistically compelling soldiers can sail effortlessly over obstacles, landing acrobatic maneuvers never before seen in the genre with effortless poise—unfortunately, just about everything else lands flat on its face." 1UP.com gave Brink a D, commenting that "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." Giant Bomb also gave Brink 2 out of 5 stars, with site founder Jeff Gerstmann noting that "Flat combat and a lack of variety are just two of the things that make Brink such a disappointment."
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