|System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Splash Damage|
|Pub: Bethesda Softworks|
|Release: May 10, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Carl Baker
Bethesda Softworks has published a plethora of big-name titles this generation, including two installments in the popular Fallout series and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Bethesda hasn't shown signs of slowing down, as they have six titles currently in development for next generation platforms with one of them being a unique Seasteading-inspired first person shooter called Brink.
Brink was first shown off at E3 2009 with a short teaser trailer depicting "The Ark," a previously utopian city that is surrounded on all ends by a seemingly infinite ocean. The camera then focused on the bleeding eye of a man with the sound of gunfire in the background, and the trailer concluded. E3 2010 brought about a plethora of new information for Brink, most notably the announcement of the game's delay into 2011, but curious gamers around the world got a peek at the gameplay and visual style of Bethesda's latest title.
Set in a Seasteading-inspired world, Brink has an art style that displays a flooded Earth similar to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, only islands in Brink are completely man-made and appear to be floating on the water itself. The story mode of Brink, which pits two warring sides against each other, can be played as a single-player campaign or with up to eight players as online co-op. Competitive online multiplayer modes will also be included in Brink for an extra level of replay value. During single player or cooperative missions players can select which objectives to prioritize via a "wheel menu" similar to the companion menu in Fallout: New Vegas. Different objectives yield differing amounts of experience upon completion, which can be used to purchase new weaponry.
Character customization plays an instrumental role in Brink, much like many of Bethesda's previous titles. There are four different character classes for players to choose from, ranging from a Soldier, Engineer, Medic, and an Operative. Each class has their own individual strengths and weaknesses in an attempt to promote team work between party members. Character customization doesn't end at class selection, however. Players will be able to change the body type, facial appearance, clothing, and even voice for their character as they please.
While these various features have been incorporated in pretty much every first-person shooter ever, what sets Brink apart from the pack is the game's "Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain" system, or S.M.A.R.T. for short. In other shooters, if a player approaches an obstacle such as a railing or table they'll be forced to stop or press an action button to climb over it. In Brink, developer Splash Damage lets players simply press a button to indicate to the game that they want to cross an area that wouldn't have been traversable otherwise. For example, if a player is on a floor higher up with a railing blocking his or her way from the bottom floor, the player can point their on-screen cursor to the other side of the room and activate S.M.A.R.T, thus giving control of the character to the game itself and watch the system take the player to the other side, all in a completely seamless first-person view. The S.M.A.R.T. system isn't made up of pre-set animations, either, as the game will recognize different obstacle types and the player will actually see their character's arms stretch out to climb over them.
S.M.A.R.T. isn't limited to just climbing over obstacles and across chasms. In a developer video, Paul Wedgewood, the title's Director, showed players some other nifty things they can do with S.M.A.R.T. In an airport-based level, a security sensor would go off every time he would walk through it, so to get by he pointed his cursor below the sensor and used S.M.A.R.T. His character darted at the security sensor at full speed and hit the ground at the last second, sliding underneath it. Using S.M.A.R.T in different combat situations will always make Brink a unique experience, whether the player is playing the game offline or online with friends.
After being delayed several times, Brink is set to release for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC on May 17, 2011 for North America, and on May 20, 2011 for European regions.
CCC Freelance Writer