Brink Updated Hands-On - Character Creation, Weapon Loadouts, and Head-to-Head Battle

We log some more time with this unusual team-based shooter from the creator of the Enemy Territory games.

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The 2010 QuakeCon event is in full swing in muggy Dallas, Texas, and aside from offering numerous exciting tournaments to convention-goers, the event is also a place where members of the press can play a demonstration level of Brink, the next team-based shooter from Enemy Territory developer Splash Damage. While we covered the game at the Electronic Entertainment Expo and saw and played through a comparable experience, this time around, we've observed a fistful of new details that we'll cover here.

Brink's character models have a stylized appearance to them that gives the game a distinctive look.

As we've mentioned in our previous coverage, the game offers a huge amount of character customization. Brink's characters are highly stylized and have cartoonlike builds reminiscent of the characters of Team Fortress 2. However, the game isn't flat-shaded and instead uses realistic-looking textures to adorn its exaggerated-looking characters. Each part of your character's body has numerous options, from face types that show varying ages and levels of scarring, to face decals that include fearsome tribal tattoos and masks, to a huge variety of body gear, including traditional police riot helmets, gas masks, body armor, biker-style leather jackets, and much, much more.

Because each of Brink's characters has several customizable points (face, face decals, hair, upper-body clothing, lower-body clothing, body tattoos, and so on), and because each individual customizable point has numerous options, it seems like it'll be pretty easy to create a distinctive-looking character to play as, particularly since there are also two entirely different apparel sets for the game's two factions of Security and Resistance. (While you must choose a side to play as in a match in Brink, your character isn't permanently committed to either side and may play a different side in another match.)

In addition to customizing your character's appearance, Brink lets you customize your character's primary weapon. The game has a wide array of different types of armament with varying statistics (including accuracy, damage, rate of fire, and ammo capacity), and while you can customize your character simply by choosing a specific primary weapon (for instance, submachine guns, as you might expect, have poor damage ratings but high accuracy), you can also further customize each weapon in your arsenal.

Weapons, like characters, have numerous customization points and can be outfitted with enhanced ammo cartridges, scopes, grenade launchers, stocks, and silencers, among other things, to further specialize your character's combat role the way you want it. In any case, most of Brink's weapons seem to be automatic or semiautomatic, and, like with such weapons in the real world, they seem most accurate when fired in short, targeted bursts (and seem far less useful when sprayed blindly). While we could just as easily have gone for a big, loud assault rifle with a higher damage rating, we instead opted for more of a finesse-based weapon, choosing the submachine gun with the highest accuracy and outfitting it with an extra ammo cartridge, scope, and silencer.

In addition to customizing your weapon, Brink will let you customize your persistent character by choosing various powerful abilities that grant additional bonuses and abilities in combat. These include "battle hardened," a handy skill that increases your maximum health; "combat intuition," a very useful skill that gives you a bright yellow onscreen cue if an enemy has you in his sights; and pages and pages of other skills that provide generally useful advantages, such as the ability to resurrect yourself should you fall in battle and abilities specific to your "archetype."

Brink has four archetypes, or character classes you'll recognize if you've played Splash Damage's other games: the soldier, the engineer, the medic, and the operative (essentially, the spy). As you might expect, they have roles comparable to similar characters in the Enemy Territory games. Brink uses context-sensitive commands to do pretty much everything in-game, including team-based support roles (all archetypes except the operative have some sort of direct team support ability, or "buff"). Using these buffs is as simple as getting your squaddies in your sights, then pressing and holding the X button (or square button on your PS3) until the action is complete. The game requires you to commit to most context-sensitive actions by pressing and holding the appropriate button (rather than simply tapping it once), but the current version of the game handily "attaches" you to whichever teammates you happen to be buffing in case they move--in which case, your character will automatically move along with them until you've completed your buffing.

Soldiers, for instance, are good frontline fighters who can buff teammates by supplying them with extra ammo. Similarly, medics can boost a teammate's health (or their own health) by using a health syringe or can revive fallen comrades by tossing them a resurrection syringe. Engineers can actually buff the strength of a teammate's weapon. However, each archetype has other abilities that can also be extremely useful. Soldiers, for instance, can plant explosive charges that blow open locked barriers. Operatives can hack in-game terminals to accomplish map-specific goals and can also disguise themselves as members of the opposing team using an enemy's fresh corpse, just like the Enemy Territory spy. Engineers have a huge bag of tricks, including repairing damaged tech on the map, disabling a soldier's demo charges, and deploying stationary antipersonnel turrets. And once you get some matches and some experience points under your belt, Brink's real variety will come into play, since you can use your experience to purchase archetype-specific abilities, such as enhanced healing skills or toxic bioweapons for medics, several alternate grenade types for soldiers, and many more.

And as it turns out, you can get experience points for just about anything and are not limited simply to killing off enemy troops. Brink has a context-sensitive command menu (which you can activate in the console versions of the game by pressing "up" on the D pad), which will give you a list of different short-term quest-like goals. You simply select the one you want to do, and a handy indicator arrow will appear at the top of the screen and direct you to the fallen comrade you need to revive, or the mechanized robot you need to repair.

Brink will arrive early next year.

Without further ado (to be fair, that was a lot of ado,), we jumped into a multiplayer session to try the game for ourselves. Brink will let you play team-based multiplayer games with other players and will also sub in as many computer-controlled teammates and enemies as needed to fill out the map. Our session took place on a level called Dirty Bomb, which tasks the Security forces to escort a track-wheeled repair robot across the map until it can cut through a secured structure to reveal a captured bioweapon, which the Security forces must then escort to a helicopter drop zone. The Resistance, of course, must defend the bioweapon by shutting down the robot and stopping the Security forces' progress.

As a member of the Resistance who just happened to spawn in as a medic, we figured we'd change archetype pretty soon to be an engineer so that we could lay down as many turrets as possible. Instead, we found ourselves sticking with the medic archetype because of how easy it seemed to be to do well with the profession, providing offline health boosts to our teammates out of combat and tossing reviving syringes to our fallen comrades under fire. This map had plenty of variety in terms of differing elevations and lots and lots of partial cover. With the combat intuition ability and a wary eye, we were able to zero in on exactly where fire was coming from pretty quickly, and the few times we did die were generally a result of foolishly taking on too many enemies at once or risking a revival of a fallen comrade while still under fire (which, if done successfully, nets you a huge "heroic" medic bonus).

Brink is the result of Splash Damage's years of experience making team-based shooters that strongly reward players for working together (rather than acting like a bunch of lone-wolfing jackasses), and it really shows. Brink not only offers intriguing variety and depth, but also highly evolved gameplay that seems to naturally nudge people toward being good team players. The game will be released early next year.

Discussion

76 comments
infoboth
infoboth

@AlexMK4 What do you mean "Finally"? Such game existed for several iterations now and is called Battlefield.

AlexMK4
AlexMK4

Finally a game that actively rewards team players not solo killstreak hunters. I guess its just me but COD Team Deathmatch means you work as a TEAM. And yet there is only a small handfull of gamers who will bother reviving/supporting team members. Instead they kill other team members over killstreaks. Nah Im not going back to COD after this comes out.

Drunk_Cowboy
Drunk_Cowboy

'Want' doesn't come into the equation here.

Darkstalker77
Darkstalker77

these days more or less every flipping game is an 18+ so i'm very glad brink isn't :)

supersackboy23
supersackboy23

I love games like this, and I'm REALLY happy its rated T.

HunterOfFable
HunterOfFable

really looking forward to this game and can't to get stuck into it

SMASHED_ASPHALT
SMASHED_ASPHALT

This seems to be one of the best team-oriented driven multiplayer games that will be coming out. I hope it does encourage more "Team Players" so as not to be left alone to hold the fort while "Lonewolfs" try to get their kill ratio's up. We shall see...

gary102500
gary102500

Brink is the best new game everrrrr.I preordered it allready at gamestop.

dangerdoom73
dangerdoom73

Sounds nice, but i would like to see some gamplay of it !!!

cpinheiro2
cpinheiro2

Does it allows co-op in the same PS3 system or online only? It used to be fun when we get our friends at home for playing games like that.

patriotsnake171
patriotsnake171

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

seed7alfa
seed7alfa

SPECIAL EDITION,here i COM.:D

survivor9712
survivor9712

why do they make such detailed objectives in a match? I'm pretty sure MANY players will just shoot down enemy players and will only focus on that .

XCyberForceX
XCyberForceX

@eliebaz I agree eliebaz. I played modern warfare1 and 2 and got tired of it. It got old very quick. Therefore, I'm looking for another FPS to jump into and this one looks very promising. I was also considering Crysis2 but was turned off by the beta problems. This game is definitely on my list.

eliebaz
eliebaz

I am honestly bored to death with COD being the no. one shooting game, in my opinion COD sucks and is overrated however not many games can compare to physics COD provide however the graphics on black ops could pass for ps2

helghast4
helghast4

Any game that doesn't just take CODs crappy formula and copy it definitely is on my buy list.

gato2087
gato2087

What? this game is a joke, socom 4 and battlefield 3 all the way.

GallowJig
GallowJig

Awesome, the things that killed MW2,(Lone wolf jackassing.) Akimbo, Commando, that sent people running into fire or some one who simply sits in a corner to spray clowns like this. So actually getting in a random game where people knew how to function outside of these parameters was impossible. I think it will be easier to find people who are willing to work as a team and to stick with them, this is a great opportunity for community. Javelin Jihad

justirize
justirize

this game looks interesting,may i take a look.

HunterOfFable
HunterOfFable

this game looks so good, well excited for it

Heshertonfist
Heshertonfist

Looks similar to Borderlands, take that any way you choose. I may get it.

Peps300
Peps300

I think i'll create a light character. I want him to be agile and fast, but also good at shooting. QUESTION:: Do we buy clothes and equipment?v

KO4U
KO4U

While I'm excited for Brink, how many times have we heard of games (specifically Class-Based) that demand teamwork? What's stopping the soldier, or operative class here from going lone wolf? Zip that's what. Sure a medic or engineer would double their effectiveness, but nope. In the free-for-all of online gaming with some many folks going AWOL there's next to nothing to stop them.

superskank
superskank

I really look forward for this game! Have been reading lots of preview and it is making me very curious. This might be a cult game (kinda like unreal tournement). I love the artwork! Hope it fullfils my expectations!

H0RSE
H0RSE

@TheGreyArea and I would like a million dollars to appear in my mailbox, but you don't see me being bitter, and writing to Congress everyday....it's a game. If you and your wife wanna play it together, you'll do it regardless. Besides, it's a shooter. Those people who are genuinely THAT upset about no females, probably don't play many shooters, since gameplay and controls should be their prime concerns. These players who are so adamant about having female avatars, probably just wanna buy Brink to play dress up.

TheGreyArea
TheGreyArea

@H0RSE, I am aware of the vast scope of customization the developer have been able to include by opting to remove female avatars. The publishers have been very vocal about their reasons.. this being in response to a lot of other "complaints" like mine from other disappointed fans (yes fans, as I am still likely to buy and play this). My own particular disappointment in the lack of this feature being available is very far from your expertly assumed psychological assessment... and quite simply owed to the fact that I like to co-op good shooters with my wife. Not all gamers fit the stereotype of being romantic failures, some of us have wives and girlfriends. Some of those wives and girlfriends like to play as a character of their own sex. ... Personality disorder... what a funny guy.

H0RSE
H0RSE

@TheGreyArea The irony in your complaint, is that the reason Brink has such an impressive amount of customization, is BECAUSE they chose to leave out females. Now, they have tons of options for players, instead of adding females, and literally cutting all the options available, in half or less. Also, if someone decided not to buy Brink because they can't play as a female, they have bigger issues to deal with, like perhaps, Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

edge39
edge39

so.much.customisation... :D

TheGreyArea
TheGreyArea

Y'see, I DO really like the look of this game! I expect I would have racked up a lot of game time... possibly even a first day purchase. however, Splash damage just lost-out on the revenue of the TWO copies that would've been brought for my household on this particular co-op orientated shooter on account of alienating female gamers through their lack of women avatars. For a game that has delved this deep into character customization, it's ironically amusing to learn of their neglecting 50% of an interested audience's preferences. Shame

Krinnium
Krinnium

"lone wolfing jackasses"? look, i like team based games but there is definitely something to be said for a self sufficient player. seems kinda biased commin from a game critic :/

McNeelyJ39
McNeelyJ39

My only gripes from what i have read is 1) no female characters (not that big of a deal really) and 2) i was hoping they would have destructable enviroments similar to battlefield bad company, honestly it makes a big difference when you can blow up a building that a sniper is hiding in.

caityful
caityful

I agree with the users who have commented before, Brink may just save the FPS genre, after the likes of MW2. It certainly looks promising!

Gyroman665
Gyroman665

This... is unbelievable. I am hoping that this game turns out great, which it probably will. Hopefully, it doesn't get delayed or anything.- sadly it already was delayed, it was supposed to come out in september and they delayed it two months before release, so im not sure it makes me nervus. Although it sounds like they might just be adding more in the extra 6 or so months that they have.

BombayNugz
BombayNugz

dude im all down for team work but i play best by myself and relying on other people always gets me killed... there better be a deathmatch mode where its just 1v1v1v1v1v1 you know... if not ill live i guess ill just ignore my teammates in team deathmatch lol

meh4g4ever94
meh4g4ever94

it will be a very great game i will buy this game for sure

TrinityChica14
TrinityChica14

excellent visuals, looks like it has a ton of potential! normally not a huge FPS fan but this may bring me over to the dark side!

Xenogear272
Xenogear272

I was thinking to stop with the FPS, after BB2 and MW2 but this is different!

evil_angel74
evil_angel74

See this is what the FPS genre needs. Something like Brink, instead of military shooter after military shooter. Not to mention it looks great, has heaps of customization, and favours teamwork as opposed to CoD style one man army bullcrap. Oh and it isn't being produced by a money grubbing whore like Activision. I'm definitely looking forward to this game.