It’s rare for a first-person shooter to be rated T for Teen. So Brink burst onto the scene with some big anticipation.
But it wasn’t just the rating. Brink uses a technology called Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain (SMART), that allows characters to leap up and over obstacles. It’s parkour with guns!
The plot is fairly thin—but it could have been much more interesting. Apparently the seas have risen, and mankind built a floating city called The Ark. After many years, The Ark is failing—people are starving because supplies aren’t being brought in any more. There are two factions: The Security forces that want to maintain peace and the status quo, and the Rebels, who think the only chance of survival is to escape The Ark and find the supplies they need elsewhere.
You choose one of the factions to side with, and then play through 8 levels in the campaign game. This is where Brink makes its first mistake: Each faction plays the same 8 levels, with opposing objectives. So if the rebels are trying to free a defector in their mission 2, the security side is trying to keep the defector in their mission 2. Sixty buck is a LOT of money for only 8 levels. The levels are fairly interesting, with lots of chokepoints and shortcuts where you can use your parkour skills.
The game allows you to play as four different classes: Engineer, Soldier, Medic, and Operative. Each features unique abilities that are necessary at some point in the various levels—whether it’s blowing a bridge, or keeping someone alive, or impersonating someone. You’ll find yourself changing classes often. For those who like variety, this is great, but it’s too bad if you want to become adept at any one class.
You can play the game online—you’ll be matched up with similar-level players to work through levels. One of the features of the game—unlike most multiplayer online games—is that you can’t hear anyone talking unless they are in a Party with you. On the plus side, you won’t hear 10-year-olds dropping f-bombs, but the downside is that it’s practically impossible to coordinate your efforts with teammates.
The other option is to play alone, with bots taking the place of your teammates. Unfortunately, the bots are DUMB. You’ll constantly find yourself having to overcome their moronic deficiencies. On the flip side, the bots on the opposing team are crazy insane ninjas who could shoot a gnat off a flower petal from 3 miles away. Okay…that’s an exaggeration, but they’re seriously Navy SEAL snipers, or something.
There are some good things. For one, the custom characterization is awesome. You can customize your race, hair, tattoos, shirts, pants, weapons, and more. I really liked creating my character and unlocking new traits as I played—even though it’s almost inconsequential during actual gameplay. (It does seem strange that you can’t create a female character. Why alienate a swath of your potential players?)
I know I’ve got plenty of complaints about this game, but I DO think it’s a good one for teenagers to play. There’s no blood. There’s no cursing. It forces them to work as a team to accomplish missions—Lone Wolf it and you’ll die quickly. This would be a great game to play with some of your teenagers—just make sure you’re in a Party together so you can talk to each other.