Brink: Agents of Change DLC Impressions

New maps and new abilities don't add much to the busy battlefields of Brink, but at least the price is right (for now).

Earlier this week, the Agents of Change downloadable content pack was released for Bethesda's class-based shooter, Brink. The pack includes two new maps, two new outfits, two new weapon attachments, and five new abilities, and I spent some time with each new element to see if Agents of Change is worth your time. Note that I didn't say "worth your money." Agents of Change is currently free to download for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC owners alike, though Bethesda has announced that it plans to charge 10 dollars for it once two weeks have passed. The only cost now is about five hundred megabytes of storage space. If you're still playing Brink actively, then the download is a no-brainer, but is it worth going back to the Ark if you've already moved on? Read on for descriptions of each shiny new element and how it fares on the battlefield.

First up, let's talk maps. Labs and Founders' Tower both take place in the well-manicured, Security-occupied areas of the Ark. In Labs, the Resistance is on a mission to steal a sample of Arkoral, the ivory-white substance that forms the floating structure of the Ark, and Security must stop them. In Founders' Tower, Security goes on the offensive as they try to break into the Resistance-occupied spire to prevent an explosive act of sabotage. Labs is the weaker of the two, and the two hotspots, both located in large indoor rooms with balconies offering elevated vantage points, feel overly similar. There's a lot of doorway combat in both of these areas, and not a lot of ways in or out, which makes the map feel limited.

Founders' Tower covers more ground, providing a more diverse combat experience. Security first infiltrates through a labyrinthine courtyard with a lot of different levels to traverse and then enters the tower proper for one of Brink's most vertical environments. Each floor isn't very spacious, so there's a lot of climbing and descending aided by an abundance of ramps, scaffolding, and construction material. Light characters can find a bunch of sneaky routes, which keeps the defenders on their toes and discourages pitched firefights. If you happen to spot a character in skinny jeans and runny clown makeup, don't worry. You haven't run into an Insane Clown Posse concert; you're just spotting one of the new outfits. Likewise you might see a crisply dressed bobby (read: British police officer) who looks like he's about to issue a citation.

Weapon Attachments

The next two videos feature the new weapon attachments and abilities, respectively. After each video, I've included Brink's description of the item in question followed by a brief evaluation of whether it's fit for battle or best left on the customization shelf.

Bayonet

This replaces your normal weapon melee strike with a much more powerful stab. You'll no longer knock enemies down, but will do significantly more damage.

This bottom attachment can be used with assault rifles and submachine guns only. It certainly does pack a more powerful stab, and melee kills with this pointy prod yield a juicy squelching noise. It won't kill on the first hit unless your opponent is weakened, but it will, contrary to the description, knock your enemy down. A second hit is always fatal, and players who like to sprint in for the kill and slide-tackle opponents should find this useful. Those who prefer to avoid getting close because of the occasionally finicky melee mechanic should give this a pass, as it negatively affects your gun's stability and equip speed.

Weapon Shield

The weapon shield can protect you from direct enemy fire but does not provide complete protection.

This bottom attachment can be used only with assault rifles, so light characters can't make use of its mild protective powers. I found it came in handy during mid- to long-range firefights when I was crouched and shooting it out with another player. It definitely helps even the odds when trying to take out someone at a machine gun emplacement, but it is a huge drain on your equip speed.

Abilities

Agents of Change brings one new ability for each category (universal and individual classes), but you have to be Rank 5 to use them. If you haven't maxed out at level 20 yet, you're going to need to get there before you can unlock these new additions. Agents of Change also raises the level cap to 24, giving maxed-out players a bit more room to accrue abilities.

Tactical Scanner - Universal

Tactical scanner lets you see class indicators for up to four buffs on enemy players when aiming at them, rather than just their health, letting you prioritize your targets more efficiently. Please note, if the enemy has more than four buffs, the scanner will not reveal the additional ones.

This is a small aid at best. In addition to seeing enemy health bars and class icons, you now see smaller class icons lined up underneath the health bar indicating what buffs the player has. It's tough to decipher the small icons in the heat of combat, and only slightly easier if you're sniping from longer range. But even if you aren't dissecting who has what buff, seeing a bunch of icons lined up over an enemy's head can make you a bit more cautious. If you're the kind of player who doesn't need reminding, however, there are better ways to spend your credits.

Napalm Grenades - Soldier

Napalm grenades blanket an area with fire that will damage all enemies who try to pass through it. The napalm will last for a short time and then burn out. There is a cooldown period between successive uses.

As any good soldier knows, throwing firebombs at your enemies is a fun and effective battlefield pastime. Unlike the Molotov cocktail, napalm grenades don't knock your enemies down. Instead, they do damage on explosion and leave nasty little fires burning on the ground. These fires are helpful for temporarily blocking doorways or scattering an enemy advance, but they burn for a disappointingly short amount of time (possibly making you yearn for the sticking power of the operative's caltrop grenades).

Field Regen Unit - Medic

Field regen units, when deployed, will automatically increase the health regeneration rate of any teammates nearby.

This is a great support tool and easily the most powerful ability Agents of Change has to offer. The field regen unit creates a cloud of increased metabolism vibes, helping any friendlies nearby heal faster and stay alive longer. Parking this bad boy near a contested entryway or in the middle of an allied sniper nest gives your team a significant edge in combat, and opposing players would do well to grenade any FRUs they see. This ability definitely earns a spot on your directional pad for its support capabilities, and the harvest of experience you reap for a well-placed FRU is a nice bonus.

Pyro Mine - Engineer

Pyro mines can be deployed like land mines but deal increased fire damage to enemies.

With a turret, land mines, and the new pyro mine in his directional pad, the engineer has the capability to make the battlefield a lot more dangerous. Once these mines explode, the result is similar to the soldier's napalm grenade. A damaging fire blazes strongly for a few long seconds but then is over too soon to confer a real tactical advantage.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle - Operative

The UAV lets you place or remotely control a small spy drone. Any enemies the UAV sees, your teammates see. You can also remotely detonate it.

Tiny helicopters have found effective roles in many recent shooters, but the one in Brink is only so-so. Once you activate it, the little guy just sits there until you take remote control. Once it's airborne, any enemies you see will appear on your team's radar. It doesn't handle very well in flight, and you can't manually change the altitude, so you are left hovering at about head height without the ability to surmount obstacles or fly up to a second story. Whoever heard of a helicopter needing to take the stairs? The one redeeming feature is the remote detonation ability, which can easily kill an enemy or two if you are close enough. Also, there's no cooldown period on the UAV, so you can find a safe place and keep spawning little flying bombs until you run out of supplies.

The more gun there is between you and your target, the better.

Despite the uneven quality of the abilities, Agents of Change does provide some nice new toys to play with in Brink. If you're at all interested in revisiting the Ark, you should download this pack soon, because it's going to be free for only the next two weeks. It's definitely not worth the 10 dollars they are planning to charge for it, but if you've got some free hard drive space and a hankering for parkour gunfights, Agents of Change is a good bet.

BONUS: Achievement/Trophy List

Science Maven - Win Labs as both factions in Campaign mode

Towering Achievement - Win Founders' Tower as both factions in Campaign mode

A Burning Thing - Kill an enemy with a napalm grenade

Pyromancer - Kill an enemy with a pyro mine

Remote Control - Kill an enemy with a UAV

Mutual Support - Have a field regen unit buff more than three players simultaneously

Ark King - Reach level 24

Written By

Chris enjoys aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent.

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Discussion

36 comments
dylan35
dylan35

Um How does one finish a multi player game that is not all about the campaign ??? really !!! i say if you got all achievements you are far from finishing Brink!!!!! problems aside Brinks alot of fun, and new things brought a new feel to the other maps ...... yes problems are there but achievement whores just dont get it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

matob27
matob27

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

axelx666
axelx666

(read my brink review if you want to hear my sad tale) after beating brink 3 months before the dlc finally came out i thought all right more reason for me to do "parkour gunfights" i download ( 2 hrs 574 MB) i play it I BEAT IT IN AN HOUR. i was highly disappointed..nothing really changed 2 new costumes..2 new maps..some new abilites which take forever to unlock and weapon attachments which don't do much to save your butt ( BTW new maps..DON'T AFFECT THE STORY AT ALL EVEN IF YOU'VE BEATEN IT.) trust me it's just wasted space..you are better off leaving the ark in the dust.

BUNTARG
BUNTARG

I find it hard to hide my own disappointment here. Brink for me was a game of great ideas, poor execution. I wont be returning to the Ark, despite how close i was to a Platinum trophy.

cbb1018
cbb1018

im gonna get this dlc cause its free and i hate this game so much

raptures330
raptures330

The biggest reason this game gets no love online: It has no KDR. Yep, all you people that have no idea what a team game is and is all about your KDR hate this. Hate it to the ground. Good. Keeps all you bush wookie/kill streak addicts from coming in and ruining for the rest. There are few people playing it but almost everyone, cept the newbies, focuses on the objectives. People switch roles per moment in the level. To fulfill what is needed. Newbie = someone running around as soldier giving themselves ammo. Enlightened newbie = any class running around buffing everyone. Brink newbie = addicted to achieving objectives while buffing everyone they come across. It wasn't what I hoped it was but I am glad it's still clawing its way forward.

oldmanyounger
oldmanyounger

I appreciate that they're trying to make up for things with temporarily-free DLC, but to put things in perspective: this is the ONLY game I've ever quit playing and traded away in less than a week.

Frosty192
Frosty192

This is going to be the last Splash Damage game i buy. Horrible.

koospetoors
koospetoors

What was Brink again? Oh! that mediocre game that was free on steam for the weekend, right? Quite sad, really. Downloading and playing the game still remained to be an appalling thought even though it was free for a few days.

Nexttime45
Nexttime45

this game looks cheap, sounds cheap and plays cheap. 100% garbage

Magnaxilorius
Magnaxilorius

Yeah this game was a pretty massive disappointment, I was glad to have paid zero for my copy. Want to know how many copies I still have in stock at my store? The answer is a lot. Even more so pre-owned. Any customer that asks about it, well let's just say I go on ahead and save them fifty bucks.

FunRat
FunRat

This game just seems like TF2 to me... except not fun

jamalandjboogie
jamalandjboogie

Too little too Late. Sad to say but most people have moved on to another game.

jmace1
jmace1

The lag butchered any community this game would have developed. Whether it's fixed now or not is futile since the majority of players abandoned the game long ago. Releasing an online team based shooter with glaring lag issues like this one is just unacceptable.

NV916
NV916

I was pretty hyped about this game for a year, it was nothing like I thought it would be. O well.

BFKZ
BFKZ

This game was hilarious for 2 seconds, then i shut off the xbox.

N7Gamer93
N7Gamer93

I wouldn't get this DLC, Brink is a poor game, promised to be so good but failed.

R_Cue
R_Cue

Im not gonna discuss if brink is a good game or not, because i like it and im busy playing with the new content. If you play it on Xbox 360 add me: RCue0105.

blueliquidplus
blueliquidplus

I bought it when it came out for the 360 and was overly disappointed in it. I kept it for awhile and eventually traded it in. Over this weekend was FTP Brink until tomorrow and found it way better on my PC so I bought it at 50% off... about what I got for when I traded it in lol... only thing I miss is the pre-order bonus of the Doom skins.

Fayt1986
Fayt1986

@EctoSpartan ah cheers for the info ^^ deleted my comment but i still think its a bad game....

EctoSpartan
EctoSpartan

@Fayt1986 Id wasn't the developer of this game. It was Splash Damage.

bpmcd9
bpmcd9

I'm sorry, but the developers screwed up when the finished this game. I think it went something like this memo, "Hey, just wanted to let you know, Brink is NOT done yet. We are going to announce the delay soon to the public. I repeat, Brink is NOT done. We still need to implement 'fun' into the game. Thanks." Thats the memo they didn't get. They released a game that has horrible game play. Then they ran with it. Just saying. Begin the flaming.

XboxGuy1537
XboxGuy1537

How can people play this game? It's awful.

kozzy1234
kozzy1234

I really enjoy Brink and this DLC is a very nice add on. The two new Maps I am really liking! Its a very fun team/objective based game, I cant get enough of it on PC to be honest, 2nd best online FPS this gen imo (after BC2). IMO this is one of this gens most underrated games and a breaht of fresh air. I am enjoying it better then the last two COD games, much more fun teamwork and not all this rambo "I want a kills!" mindset that alot of onlien FPS games have this gen. Give Brink a try! If you liked Wolfenstien: Enemy Territories or Quake Wars gives this a go! When you get two really good teams going at it with good teamwork its just awesome!

palmakoy
palmakoy

man this game is a waste of space

kazumashadow
kazumashadow

It disappointed me so bad that i don't think i'll go back just for some free stuff....

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

Brink is still s****y. Some maps ain't gonna change that

captainremo
captainremo

I have been playing this game since it came out and there is no longer any major lag issues. Also, EVERY match I get into is either full or fills up withing minutes. The only reason I can think of why you guys aren't getting into matches with players is because your rank is to low and you have "My Rank" selected so it groups you with only low rank people. Considering it takes about an hour of play to get out of the low ranks I'm guessing you played for about 1-2 matches and quit. Hint: Select "My Rank or Higher" Its a great game, its just not COD, but thats what I think is the best part. To each his own.

smoman5000
smoman5000

The matchmaking is still horrible, i played 4 games yesterday and only 2 of them had at least one other human player. They're nuts if they want $10 for this "add-on". I liked playing the campaign with a buddy but everything else is a complete disappointment, trading it in isnt worth jack either.

Fayt1986
Fayt1986

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Rebornpheonix
Rebornpheonix

I wouldn't even pay for this DLC at any cost, it's not that impressive really. To those asking about the lag, it still lags for me on xbox360, not as badly I guess but bad enough that it can ruin the match depending on how many real players there are. I'm guessing this is free for now because they know it shouldn't sell very well at all considering how badly Brink flopped in reviews. *On the plus side, 250 free achievement points and something to do due to a serious lack of anything worth playing atm.

OB-47
OB-47

Can anyone tell me if it's easier to find matches now?

Mawfawka
Mawfawka

I'm thinking Rage. Lol @ Brink.

Ares360
Ares360

Has the lag been fixed yet?

captainremo
captainremo

I downloaded this the day it came out and I must say it is a really great addition to Brink. At first glance the maps seem linear and boring, but after playing them for a few days straight I noticed that there are many ways in and out of areas. The only problem is finding all the ins and outs. The new abilities rock! I love the Pyro mine and the Medic field regen is a great little trinket to put up. And the new outfits are pretty cool, sad punk is kinda boring to me but w/e. Overall I am really pleased with the DLC, on the 360 i have been getting into match after match filled with players. Honestly, get this DLC while its free, $10 is way to expensive.