We’re really looking forward to Brink in these parts, and E3 has provided a plethora of new information and some sexy videos. What better time to give you a rundown of what the title has to offer?
What is it?
Brink, as if you didn’t already know, is a class based, free running, fast paced, first person shooter, developed by Splash Damage and published by Bethesda Softworks, with enough customisable aspects involved to keep you away from the Sims forever. Well, maybe.
Set for release in early 2011, Brink offers team-based multiplayer missions with some wonderfully contrasting authored narratives, depending on which side you choose, Resistance or Security. Both sides are fighting for control over a futuristic utopian city named The Ark, a prototype floating environment purposely designed to house 5,000 occupants, and floating because the earth is now a flooded wasteland.
The Ark was designed with completely renewable resources and no pollution, a chance to preserve the future of the human race, but the utopian dream is now bordering on a nightmare, since the population has spiralled out of control to 50,000. What’s more, contact with the rest of the earth has also been lost and what remains is a totally isolated civilisation on the “Brink” of collapse.
Brink has four main classes to choose from: Soldier, Medic, Engineer and Operative, each with their own unique set of abilities, but also with a set of common, or universal abilities that function practically the same no matter what class you select. Splash Damage have clearly thought long and hard about each class, and no matter what your strengths are, there’s something for you. Got a fantastic aim? You’ll be looking at a soldier on the frontline and tailor your character accordingly. Rather support your team mates? Engineer or medic will be your forte.
And how you tailor each character using the game’s two-prongued reward system however, is also entirely up to you. Rewards in Brink can essentially be earned through completing challenges throughout the game – which in turn unlocks new weapons, outfits and specialisations – or via credits (XP) earned as you progress through the game. These rewards can further transform your character into something far from the base model, not only in terms of looks, but also gameplay.
Whether you’re a hardcore gamer, or casual, from early impressions it seems Brink will have you coming back for more, time after time. Whether it’s to add that extra gadget or outfit to your character that’ll set you apart from the crowd, or maybe to give your class the edge in a certain scenario or to add a specialisation for the good of your team mates, it looks as though there is great replay value attached. Oh, and did we mention that you’re able to drop in and join up to 7 of your friends co-operatively with relative ease. 8 player co-op! Somebody, grab the tissues.
Splash Damage have really worked hard on Brink’s character customisation (shown in the video below) and it shows, but it also opens up an all new aspect of team based gaming, since in theory you could have teams/clans/guilds of aesthetically matching players. Furthermore, you’re able to further develop your character whether you’re playing alone, with your friends, or against others online.
Practically everything on your character can be tailored to your own personal tastes. Your base face, skin colour, hair type, hair colour, head gear, head gear textures, face gear, face gear textures, facial hair, facial hair colour, face tattoos, face paint, shirt, jacket, jacket texture, jacket colours, trousers, trouser texture, trouser colours, body type, and body tattoos are all available to customise. This is more high end MMO than FPS, and this aspect of Brink has really started to impress journalists of late.
The SMART System
One of the most talked about aspects of Brink is Splash Damage’s SMART (“Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain”) free-running system. This allows players to negotiate obstacles in the game’s environment in the simplest way possible. The system calculates what you’re trying to do based on a few simple factors, i.e. where you’re looking, and react accordingly.
For example, looking down when approaching some railings indicates you want to go under it, looking above and you’ll jump over it, all performed with the same button press. It really is revolutionary and you have to wonder why this hasn’t been done before.
In the video below, Paul Wedgwood takes us through Ark Airport to give us a glimpse of what SMART has to offer, and how it works.
Enough with the reading. The following gameplay videos will give you a better idea of what the game is all about, and we’ll be following Brink closely in the coming months.
There’s still a lot of development time for Brink and while the title could have been rushed out, it’s refreshing to see a developer putting the brakes on for the good of the game. This really could be the game that breathes new life into the frailing FPS community – on PC at least, and in all honesty, I’m itching to jump, vault and heck, SMART my way through levels come 2011. The only problem is, 2011 just can’t come soon enough.