Friday, May 27, 2011

30 Minute Playtest: Brink

Regular readers may know that Brink has been on my radar for some time. The idea of a new style of FPS based on parkour and teamplay sounded fantastic. Throw in some great-looking graphics, loads of weaponry and a myriad of maps and this was definitely going to be on my purchase list.

Despite the delays, Brink is finally here but was it worth the wait? The first 30 minutes of gameplay suggest that it was... but that it may not quite live up to my lofty expectations given a more thorough playthrough.

The action takes place in a vast utopian city known as The Ark, a floating haven built to show we could all live sustainably. Unfortunately, a burgeoning population sent it spiralling on to the verge of civil war.

First impressions were positive. The graphics are big and brash, bold and beautiful - and although they hardly break new ground, I like the way cel-shading and the almost cartoonlike aesthetic is employed. Most notable after leaving the menu screen are the much heralded customisation options; creating a character could have eaten into the bulk of my half hour of initial playtime as there appear to be literally millions of different combinations of clothing, skin colours, face shapes, scars and shirts to choose from. For the sake of this article, a few quick button presses determined the size, shape and appearance of my character but a more extensive playthrough will require far more deliberation.

Once suited and booted, there are options to play online or the campaign mode - although these largely appear to be identical. The only real difference are the insertion of fairly dim AI bots who will work alongside/against you in the storymode. Their stupidity highlights why Brink is almost certainly more suited to online play with real people. Get a few friends together and much fun will surely be had! Working as a team should be a real laugh and some decent tactical nouse can actually be used - unlike the NCPs who never stand where they should or follow your orders - this will be tried more thoroughly in our full review!

A mention should also be given to the implentation of the SMART system - a single button press allowing smooth movement across the various terrain - like free running or parkour.

In this brief playtest, it remains to be seen whether the limited maps and repetitive missions will keep me coming back for more in the long term but Bethesda and Splash Damage have certainly done enough to keep me playing for now...

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