There are a few things to do while at QuakeCon. One can, if they brought their own PC, play a multitude of game with other fellow gamers, including betas given out at the convention. One can also take pictures with cars to be given away in tournaments. One can learn to play Quake Live like a Pro, while one can have PC fans thrown at them so they can take them home. Me? I walked around the BYOC area, saw some sweet case mods. Then I walked around the show floor, and watched QuakeLive TV give a shout out to Destructoid. Then I waited in what seemed like a short line (only about 7 people long) for a hour to play Brink.
And Brink is, so far, good.
The story of Brink somewhat kisses the ass of Al Gore; there’s the Arc, an island of paradise only for the richest of the rich, out in the middle of the ocean. Worst comes to past, the icebergs melt, seas reclaim the entire earth, and there’s a bunch of displaced refugees who need a place to live, and naturally, they happen upon the Arc. A paradise fit for 5000 now houses 50,000, and people are getting a little touchy, what with the lack of resources and all. Enter the Resistance, the fighters for the refugees, trying to distribute vital supplies to the rest of the inhabitants of the Arc, by any means necessary. Then there’s the Security, those who try to keep the peace on the Arc, usually by trying to stop the Resistance from causing complete chaos. It’s a polarizing battlefield, but you probably already know most of this from all the dev diaries and stuff.
Let’s start with the actually demo then. First, we were allowed to customize our own character, and I was surprised at how deep the customization feature is. You’re given a basic body type template that you can work off of, like “The Chin” which is a brutal looking black guy…with a huge chin. From there, we could change the skin tone of our character, then work on clothing options and various other accessories. From bandages to clown based face paint to balaclavas to bouncer shirts, there’s a lot you can do when you’re first creating your character. There’s also some gun customization, though it was severely limited to make sure everyone was on a level playing field, but it showed promise of being incredibly expansive. Demo helper guys informed me that this was just the basic of the customization, and there would be tons more you can buy and unlock as you get credits for completing objectives in game. They also told me that whether you are doing single player, co-op, or multiplayer, your specialized character is persistent across all of those modes.
After tweaking my Rastafarian around for a bit, I was dropped into what seemed like the shipyard/crate city level shown off in the dev diaries. This is where I found out that working together is the only way you’ll beat this game. The demo for Brink is special, in that the more objectives you complete, the more time you get. So before hand, I had stood and watched a guy play out a 40-50 minuet demo. Teamwork was prevalent in that game, the guy stood buy with his friends and helped him complete some objectives before reaching a choke point and watching their time dwindle to zero. Come my turn? We couldn’t even get out of the shipyard. Luckily, my combined time watching the guy before me, and my time spent actually fucking around with Brink, gave me sufficient information on the game itself.
When dropped into the game, you’re given a certain number of objectives that you can do based on what’s happening overall in the level, with the most important objective (or the one that’s most suited to you) being highlighted right out of the gate. At any time, whether you feel you’re current ojective isn’t going the way you want, or that you’re bored of what you’re doing, you can press and hold up on the dpad to access a radial menu that show’s off all the different objectives you can switch to, as well as your current objective.
The objectives are also tailored to which ever class you have. There are 4 classes; Soldier, Engineer, Medic, and Operative. The Soldier is the shoot ‘em up guy, who can also place explosives when certain objectives call for them, and dispense ammo to himself and his fellow teammates. The Engineer fixes things, gives damage buffs to fellow teammates, and of course, places sentries. The Medic buffs health and revives downed players, and the Operative is the Spy, or in other words, “a two timing scumbag”. He can take the identity of dead teammates and cause chaos behind enemy lines. At any time you are near a command post, you can switch classes, without having to respawn or anything. It’s also good to note that just in case you forget what class you are, the color of your gloves gives off what class you are playing as.
So, rounds go according to this archetype; one faction (In this case, the Resistance) will be taking a defensive strategy, while the other faction (in this case, the Security) will be taking an offensive one. The main mission of the Security was to guide a mini-tank like robot through the Crate City towards a specific area. Security forces could be doing a multitude of things, from “pushing the cart” to clearing up alternate route for your teammates to use, to clearing out choke points, while the Resistance was there to make sure they got nothing done and failed miserably. At least, that’s what happened to me.
In my ten minutes though, I decided to mess around with the highlight of Brink; the S.M.A.R.T. button. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Smooth Movement Around Random Terrain, and when you press the left bumper, that’s pretty much what you get. Instead of having to press buttons to jump or grapple or slide or other parkor things, just press and hold the right bumper, and point to where you eventually want to end up. Your character will sprint, jump, wall run, grapple, and slide to your destination. There were a few moments when it didn’t work quite as well or quite as smooth as I wanted it too, but those instances where few and far between, and S.M.A.R.T. felt really fluid and helped me get back into the thick of things quickly and most importantly, easily. Of course, there are buttons for sliding and jumping on their own, for tactical maneuvers/looking like a badass mostly, but traveling in Brink does seem to be made much smarter by S.M.A.R.T.
All the random terrain you’ll be traversing looks really good too. The stylized look of the NPCs and you’re character match the environments. Everything is slightly exaggerated, and in various colors, sometimes bright, and other times muddy. The Crate City is well built, with multiple pathways that can be used so that both factions can get to the action relatively quickly, as well as get around to behind enemy lines. With all the options though, some routes can feel very cramped, and if you’re caught using the same route as an enemy, you better be first to pull the trigger.
Overall, Brink has a lot going for it. The customization, in game options, and the added flow brought about by the S.M.A.R.T. button make this a really good looking FPS. My partner was an 8 year old child who was able to pick up on the mechanics of the game fairly quickly, so this should be an FPS that newcomers or those who find themselves crappy at FPSs should feel fairly comfortable with. It is controller enabled on the PC, which is the version I got to play, but of course it’ll have good ol’ mouse and keyboard support. I was really excited to get my hands on Brink when I saw it during E3, and now that I’ve had a chance, I can honestly say I’m really looking forward to rolling around the Arc as a badass Rastafarian Security Operative.
Just the fact the game lets me do that, already solidifies a purchase.