Going into E3 2010 I had seen a few early videos on the “SMART” movement in Brink and the cinematic trailer that Bethesda released for Brink. Through these I was mildly interested in Brink but it was not a game I was really looking forward to with anticipation. Having played it co-op with one of Bethesda’s developers I’m hooked. Brink combines elements from some of my favorite past games. It has class based mulitplayer that is focused on objectives which reminded me a little of Team Fortress 2. The fact I can get 8 people on my team and play co-op against the computer AI reminds me of playing Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 with a group of friends. The SMART movement reminded me a little of Mirrors Edge or Assassins Creed II but with less button pressing required. Brink is not due out until spring 2011 but all these great prices put together it is shaping up to be one of the best games released next year.
The SMART movement system in Brink takes the normal “sprint” button and expands its ability significantly. In addition to just sprinting, when you have SMART activated, you will automatically jump over small gaps, hurdle barriers, slide across boxes or climb up obstacles. It is hard to put into words how smooth and seamless using the SMART move system really is. I was afraid when it was being described to me that it would be really gimmicky, but after trying it out for about 30 seconds I was in love. The ability tree run anywhere in the game without having to worry about mistiming a jump or slide is invigorating. It also brings a lot of interesting tactics into play. At one point I was suppose to deactivate an objective in room. Instead of going in the front door guns blazing I was able to quickly flank around the side of the room, climb up to the second story and drop in behind the enemies.
Brink’s class based combat has four different options to choose from. The Soldier, Medic, Engineer and Operative. The Soldier is just what you would expect. He’s your heavy weapons guy who should be in charge of killing enemies and protecting those working on the objectives. For gamers who like deathmatch style modes this is the character for you. The Medic has not just the ability to heal teammates, but also can unlock things like the resurrection grenades that will revive fallen team members without having to get in close to the action. The Engineer is tasked with doing things like setting up turrets and handling defense. The role felt very similar to the Engineer in Team Fortress 2. The Operative is also pretty similar to Team Fortress 2’s Spy class. The can hack objective points and disguise themselves as enemies they kill. Most class based shooters will let you swap classes when you die, but in Brink you can also change your class or weapon load-out at any command point. This allows for teams to quickly adapt their strategies to the objective at hand and the enemies’ tactics.
As gamers play Brink they earn experience that can be used to upgrade their character’s abilities. There is not set upgrade order each character can be customized to that person’s style of play early on. In addition to the upgrades each character has a wide range of customizations to make their character look how they want and to adjust the specifics of their weapons. The game features drop in- drop out cooperative play that automatically switches from co-op to multiplayer when the room gets more than needed to fill one team. Even in the early build I was able to play Brink feels really polished and the guns felt good. You had a reasonable amount of health too. Enough to stay alive a while but not so much that it was hard to take down enemies. I can’t wait to see where Bethesda takes Brink in the coming months before it releases.