|System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Splash Damage|
|Pub: Bethesda Softworks|
|Release: May 10, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
Perhaps the biggest problem, however, is that some of the missions are remarkably long, and if you fail, your only choice is to start over from the beginning or skip ahead. It's too bad you can't start from your latest objective, even if that means you have to play without online co-op help for a little bit. It is unbelievably infuriating when you run up against strong resistance late in a mission and end up losing half an hour's worth of work (which is another reason not to play solo).
Story-wise, Brink takes some major cues from Bioshock. Bioshock takes place in an underwater world created by devotees of Ayn Rand's hardcore libertarian philosophy. Brink, meanwhile, takes place on a man-made island, or a "seastead," (which some of today's libertarians have advocated as a way to escape the far-reaching hands of government.) In both games, what was intended as a watery utopia has gone wrong. In Brink, however, the downfall of this utopia was due to rising sea levels and the refugees from nearby lands who have stormed the island, which isn't big enough to hold everyone. The island's security team tries to keep these refugees under control, but things get violent.
The fact that the island is man-made gives the developers a lot of leeway in terms of architecture and scenery. This is an amazingly colorful game, with well-designed structures and some of the best overall graphical work I've ever seen; the worst issues are some screen-tearing and texture pop-in during cutscenes. (Brink is built on the id Tech 4/Doom 3 engine, modified to include a technology called "Virtual Texturing.") Unfortunately, the character models don't fare quite as well: They're almost photorealistic, except that each person's facial structure is distorted in a way that brings Team Fortress to mind—the eyes are a bit too close to the top of the head, and all the models have exceptionally strong jawlines and bulging skulls. It's certainly an interesting look, but it made everything just seem "off" to me.
In the end, however, Brink is a worthy buy for anyone who doesn't absolutely hate multiplayer FPS action. It blurs the line between single-player and multiplayer styles, introduces an effective new movement system, and finds ways of discouraging all the obnoxious behavior common in most multiplayer shooters. The campaign is long, and the different classes allow you to play each mission over and over without getting bored. All of this adds up to one huge accomplishment for Splash Damage.
CCC Contributing Writer