PAX 2010: Hands-On with Brink
In case you don’t know, Brink is, basically, a narrative multiplayer title. Sessions are long — my one session lasted about 25 minutes — and the maps are big. It’s also class-based; the classes affect secondary abilities, like how the engineer can build turrets and buff his teammates’ weapons, or how medics can heal downed folks, or how Operatives can interrogate downed enemies for map intel. The type of weapons you can carry depend on how you create the character himself rather than class.
I played as an engineer, and our objective, at least early on, was simple: start up a treaded robot and escort it across the map. We played as “Security,” and the “Resistance” was trying to stop us. There’s a timer counting down, and the time limit is extended as you progress through the mission.
I, being a dumb, mindless gamer, just ran out and started shooting folks as if I were playing deathmatch. And I was surprisingly effective (My kill/death ration ended up being about 4 to 1, far better than anyone else in the game). Thankfully, Splash Damage creative director Richard “Rahdo” Ham was on had to remind us that we had objectives to complete, and so we got started after a couple minutes of just blasting fools.
So we got our bot moving. This consisted of turning it on, because the bot moves itself, and players must defend it from enemy fire. When it takes enough damage, it stops, and they we have to repair it. Simple. We finally reach a point, when there is only two or so minutes left in the game, where our time limit is extended. We trudge on, slowly making progress.
Now I start to notice that members of the other team aren’t just coming at us from in front. We seemingly had passed one of their spawn points, and so now folks were coming at us from all directions. We died, and the bot came to a stop.
Now, the game doesn’t always spawn you near the action after you die, and this is where exploration happens. An important aspect of the controls is the free-running mechanics, which will feel familiar to folks who played Mirror’s Edge. You can hold down LB on the 360 controller to run, but it’ll also let you climb up on things and leap over large gaps, and when you do this, you’ll occasionally find yourself perched up high over the battlefield, ready to rain down death on the unsuspecting pottymouthed online gamers below.
So we got back to our bot, and I fixed it up real nice-like, and we grinded on. We encountered a brief roadblack in the form of a thing that was blocking our road, but a quick jaunt up to a crane moved it, and we moved on. Eventually we arrived at our objective: a vial of antidote for something. One of my bros grabbed, and we had to quickly get to da choppah before the bad guys good take him down. He sprinted and I provided cover, and I bravely gave my life so that the mission could succeed.
Then the leaderboard popped up. I had 41 kills and 12 deaths, which as I said was the best on the game. And yet, by score, I was right in the middle of the pack. Why? Because, Rahdo Ham told me, leaderboard score is determined by a variety of factors, including team support. As an engineer, I could buff my teammates weapons, but I didn’t do it enough as I should have. Ham pointed out how a medic was above me on the board because he basically spent the entire game running around healing folks who had been taken down.
And that’s Brink. There’s a lot of game here, and considering that I was able to come out of the session with the most kills means it’s pretty accessible, although in this example nobody had any experience with the map. Still, I’m not very good at online shooters, and I was good at this one. That’s what I’m saying.
I liked this game.