@smtgfx Thinking about getting this game. The only thing I'm worried about are the reports of bad lag at times.
On the lively and intriguing battlefields of Brink, technical deficiencies and design issues can be as deadly as enemy soldiers.
Brink's class system is more successful, offering a variety of ways to contribute to the fight. The differences between the classes are fueled by unique abilities that you gain access to as you level up. Soldier abilities focus on doing more damage with grenades and keeping teammates supplied with ammunition. Medics have a bunch of different buffs that make teammates faster and tougher to kill, and they can revive incapacitated allies in the field. Engineers can place mines and automatic turrets in addition to improving their teammates' weapon damage, and operatives can disguise themselves as enemies and scout the battlefield. With 10 or 11 abilities unique to each class, as well as another 10 universal abilities, there is a lot of room for customizing your battlefield presence. Exploring different strategies and expanding your capabilities is addictive and empowering, and it's a thrill to unlock a new ability that gives you a new way to wreak havoc or support the team (like the operative's caltrops grenade or the medic's self-resurrection).
Unfortunately, even these abilities aren't flawless in their execution. Buffs play a crucial battlefield role in Brink, from the soldier's ammo restock to the medic's revival syringe, and administering them requires you to be looking at a nearby teammate. This causes the buff prompt to appear, but you may need to be even closer to perform the buff. Brink's solution is to have you magnetically follow your teammate until you are close enough, but if your target is actively moving, your catch-up motion can become stuttery and disorienting. Sometimes you may not actually start the buff despite having pressed the button when prompted, and when you're trying to revive a teammate, this can make the difference between two active soldiers and two respawning corpses.
When you and your teammates are coordinating your efforts and playing to your class' strengths, skirmishes are dynamic and intense. A handy objective wheel helps you keep track of what needs to be done and what your current class can accomplish, even going so far as to suggest you change classes if needed to fulfill a primary objective. You can do this on the fly at a command post, and though you always have access to a post within your spawn area, capturing command posts out in the wild can grant your team helpful bonuses. Primary and secondary objectives appear on the different maps with varying frequency and with varying success. The best maps have objectives with multiple approaches that offer a number of ways to enter the conflict. Others are encumbered by rigid choke points that can turn a fast and lively match into a brutal slog. Such choke points aren't terribly frequent, but you regularly encounter them because there are only eight maps for competitive play. You quickly become familiar with each locale and the sequence of objectives that each match rigidly follows, which does not bode well for long-term replayability.
Brink thrives when matches are populated by a bunch of human players competing over a smooth connection. Yet even if you have a fast Internet connection, matches can be hamstrung by lag that turns them into jerky slide shows. The game usually attempts to migrate the host in this case, and this is a generally successful fix that keeps you from having to quit and find another match. However, you may want to seek a new match if you find yourself playing with only a few human players, because artificial intelligence is one of Brink's weakest points. Computer-controlled characters behave erratically; sometimes they are ruthless killers, and sometimes they are hapless buffoons. Friendly medics might make a beeline to you, ignoring enemy fire, or they might stand 10 feet away and not bother to revive you. Enemy soldiers might shoot you only a little bit as you successfully complete an objective under their noses, or they might blow your brains out from across the room the minute you step into sight. Online matches often have enough human players to keep the AI's faults at bay, but having such problematic artificial intelligence makes Brink's battlefields much less immersive.
The only other gameplay mode in Brink offers four challenges for you to complete in return for new weapons and attachments to add to your already substantial arsenal. Expanding and tweaking your loadout can be a lot of fun, but unfortunately, the same can not always be said for Brink. For every element that creates intriguing dynamics or grants fun powers, there is something flawed in its execution that hampers your enjoyment. And even when everything is going smoothly, ever-present visual shortcomings result in many blurry surfaces and textures, further reinforcing the sense that this is a game in which ambition outpaces execution. Brink doesn't make it easy to have a satisfying experience, and though the action can be engaging, you have to weather significant problems to get your money's worth.
If you're already playing Brink, be sure to check out our game guide, which includes details on classes and abilities, as well as tips for completing challenges.