Friday, 20 May 2011


Right, to start off with I have to say, with every interview, coverage and hype this game was getting I was also getting that little bit more excited, it was turning out to be the game I had always wanted... A mix of Mirrors Edge (the parkour/free running aspect), Borderlands (general look and feel of the game) and Team Fortress 2 (the multiplayer aspect.) So this game, before release, was looking to be one of the best games to come out so far on the 360.

The graphics on this game are, simply put, amazing. Every single map has obviously had many hours put into every little aspect, from the ‘graffiti’ in Container City, to the potted plants located around each map. Whether the map is located on the Rebel side or the Security side, you can instantly tell where it is, since each side has its contrasting colours and features. The Rebel maps tend to have a dirty feel to it, with rustic colours, such as deep reds and browns, while the Security maps have a more... pristine feel to them, with everything being slightly more refined, like the edges of walls are not cornered, they are rounded, and the colours of these maps tend to be white, or light-blue.

While, yes, the maps are amazing and the colours do reflect the nature of the inhabitants, this is let down by the slow-loading of textures. Most of the time when you are loading a campaign story map (which always start with a small video to tell you a bit of plot and to help introduce the level) you start off watching a bunch of blurry and hard-to-distinguish shapes on your screen, then over the course of a few seconds, the textures load and you can finally see what you’re meant to see. This doesn’t only happen during these videos, sometimes it happens during gameplay and tends to disrupt the flow of things, since you are not focusing on the task at hand, your thinking “Holy shi... what the hell is that?” and then it turns out to be an enemy loading your face with lead. Now, I’m no game developer so I don’t know whether this problem could of been avoided or not, but I hope some sort of patch comes out for this.

And finally, I have to put a word in about the arsenal and clothing in this game. Each gun you have access to, from the Kross SMG, to the Gotlung Minigun has been expertly modelled and textured and look extraordinary – if you’re on Security forces, the guns texture and colours represent their usual surroundings, clean and pristine. Whereas if you’re on the Rebel forces, they are painted red-brown colours with skulls on them, looking battered and bruised. While the clothing is also expertly designed and coloured, each side has its own unique clothing that reflect their lifestyles and professions well and do help you get a little bit more involved with your character.

When playing BRINK, I can say that yes, the sounds in this game are good (as they were one of the most-hyped aspects of the game pre-release) but I can’t see what the hype was all about – they are good but not the best thing about this game. While yes, the guns all have their individual sounds and the sounds bouncing off the walls while playing this game do make me feel more involved, I believe there are other aspects of this game that deserved a bit more hype than the sound. The music, which is different depending on which side you are playing on, is well thought out and does actually reflect the mood of the force you are sided with at that time, however while I can see that this must’ve taken a long time to think out and create, it isn’t the best thing about this game.

Here is where the game really shines... sometimes, and I’ll get to that in a second... But before that I have to say, when playing offline with AI... just wow. The AI is just... terrible 90% of the time. Let me give you an example... While playing the Rebel side of the campaign, there was some sort of station that needed to be hacked. So, an Operative (a class you can play – works with stealthy and hacking objectives) had to place a hack box on said station and wait with a handheld device until it reached 100%. Now... there were two paths you could take, around a rather large circular fountain, and I decided to go left, while the AI decided to go right... into numerous enemy Turrets, which subsequently filled their soon-to-be-dead bodies with bullets. But did they learn from this mistake and go to the left? No. Over and over again they went that way while the enemy was guarding this station that needed to be hacked. So I used my human brain to figure out the right side was essentially death row and I strut down the left side to find it enemy free. However, as I approached the objective I was greeted by the full force of the enemy’s arsenal and subsequently, died. The AI never realised what they were doing was mass suicide so unfortunately, the mission was left uncompleted and I failed.

It was after this failure I decided to give online a go... And it was a lot better. Not only did my teammates now own a fully functioning human brain, but they could also make rational decisions on how to further the mission correctly without risking other teammates and/or the mission. However, the online mode is plagued with lag spikes – and I know it isn’t a problem with my internet. I’m rolling out 18mb/s down and 8mb/s up here and I am getting lag spikes while playing 360... Something isn’t right here. Fortunately, if you play a little bit longer through the mission online the lag tends to fix itself... As it seems to be connected to the slow texture loading. But nonetheless, the online mode for this game tends to be a lot more helpful and easier when completing missions and levelling up.

And finally, the challenges. Now these are pretty fun, and consist of around 4-5 different tasks with 3 levels of difficulty. These range from a parkour-esque map where you have to go over a number of different pads and return to the start to succeed, to a tower-defence type map where you have to defend a command station from waves of enemies which appear through several different doors on the map armed with only a turret and an explosive mine. These challenges, if completed successfully, unlock different weapons for you and also a lot of different attachments for all of your guns, including under-barrelled grenade launchers aka. Noob tubes. Also speed-slings, allowing for quicker switching between your main weapon and side-arm, plus a few more. These do essentially make the game a bit easier to complete and with the addition of the weapons you can unlock, give you a few more toys to play with.

Well... this is supposed to be one of the games strong points however sometimes I believe it’s hard to understand what’s going on. The videos before a mission do help you understand what is happening but to be honest, I don’t think that is enough. I want some back-story! Some history about this Ark that they are situated on... Yes we all know it was built to house 5000 people and now holds a lot more, and people aren’t allowed to leave, but what about people? Famous figures? Why was it left to rot? Who decided to leave it to rot? These are all questions that could have helped the storyline to be that little bit more engaging; however these are left out, so ultimately we are left with an empty shell of a story. It has all the right features of a good story, two opposing sides fighting for what they think is right, a land that is essentially their battleground, this land is a revolution in technology but was left and abandoned by the rest of the human race. I guess the big question not really answered is just... why? If this was answered well enough by the story, it would not only make the story better, but more engaging, as you can relate to the characters and develop your own unique feelings towards the situation.

This game has all the qualities of a perfect multiplayer game that could last months of gameplay... Even if something is repetitive, it doesn’t matter if it’s fun. However just the overall feel of this game tells me I won’t be playing this for a long time. After the campaign all that is left to do is level up your character and complete the challenges, which would take a couple of weeks at most... There is no point in creating more characters as you can change which side you are on at any point, and also change your body type and weapons after every mission.


65 out of 100

While this game is fun, and has spent up quite a bit of my time I just feel as though it’s lacking in nearly every area... We’ll just have to wait and see at what the patches and DLC can bring us. The first DLC is going to be free of charge so I will be checking that out, and if it’s relatively large I may publish a review on the content. However, if it is just a small DLC such as giving new guns or clothes I may pass on that one...



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