Cipher 8's Video Game Central
BRINK is not your normal run of the mill FPS. It's not about getting kills, as silly as that may sound initially considering it is a shooter after all. You cannot approach it thinking I'm going to go off on my own, aka Rambo style, and get as many kills as I can and be the top player on my team. If you hold that mindset don't even bother getting the game. BRINK is a team orientated/class-based shooter with it's gamemodes based around objectives. No there isn't Team Deathmatch and no they don't keep track of your stats in terms of Kill/Death Ratio but that was done purposely so players wouldn't worry about that unimportant stuff but instead should focus on helping the team accomplish the objectives and win the match rather then worry about their K/D Ratio. The game certainly isn't for everyone. It definitely has a steep learning curve, which may turn others off, but it in fact drives me to get better at the game and master it.

Before you get BRINK you need to ask yourself one thing. Did you ever play and enjoy Team Fortress 2 or Shadowrun? Those are the closest shooters I can compare Brink to but really Brink is original, unique, and a breath of fresh air when it comes to it's likeness to other games in the genre today.

I say it reminds me of Shadowrun in the sense that it's not a ultra realistic military style shooter that we see a multitude of today. While it's not as creative as Shadowrun in terms of the fantasy sense it shares a lot of the same feel and look. The game in general is also a lot like how Shadowrun had no real single player. Like Shadowrun, Splash Damage opted to focus on the multiplayer with Brink. The game's campaign is set up in chapters which basically are the different multiplayer maps filled with enemy AI Bots. Though Brink has some cutscenes before, during, and after the match which sorta tell a story it's nothing like a full featured campaign like some may have expected. Those cutscenes though remind me a lot of what another popular shooter did in it's game. I'm talking about Killzone 3 where after the match your character's player model would show up and be involved in the action of the cutscene. The fans of Killzone 3 made a big deal about that feature being in their game but I think it's largely gone unnoticed or unappreciated in Brink.
I say it reminds me of Team Fortress 2 in the sense that it's a class-based shooter based around teamwork to attack and defend objectives. Like TF2 it has four classes and each player must choose a default class but can change during a match at anytime they want by accessing a friendly command post. This happens often when you consider the objectives are always changing and you need to switch classes to support the team or complete the main objective with a different class in order to advance and ultimately win the match. Every class has it's role and they all serve a purpose so finding the right balance throughout the progression of each match can determine the outcome of which team wins or losses.

The Engineer

The Engineer is very versatile and probably the best all around class from what I've found. They can buff teammate's weapon damage and armor which are very important buffs to have. If you can do more damage and take less you obviously should win more firefights. Those are the best two buffs in the game in my opinion since the health pip buff doesn't regen and the regeneration buff only decreases your downtime after a battle. The soldier's "buff" is more of a ammo refill than it is a buff but I'll get to how important the other buffs are later. Engineers play a key role when on the attacking side as they are the only class that can complete construction and repair objectives which a lot of the primary objectives consist of in the different maps so they are very important to advancing and winning most matches. They also play a major role in defending objectives as well, being the only class that can remove an enemy explosive charge or hack device by first removing the progress and then finally taking them off. More than one engineer can work on an objective to speed up the process too. While they are not quite the killing machines that Soldiers are, an Engie's turret can be very helpful in the damage output they can do and help a lot in trying to defend key specific areas as do their mines. Mines don't show up to enemies unless they are spotted by an operative, they also don't explode until the person who steps on them steps off them. So if you hear the noise you can stand still and wait for a friendly engineer to come and disarm it. Honestly though nobody does this and most run around so they are very effective in defense. At later levels an Engie can even lay down two mines on the map at the same time. Most of all though they got probably the strongest ability in the game to upgrade command posts. If your team has captured and is in control of the health or supply command post an Engie with the Command Post Upgrade ability unlocked can access the command post for a short period of time and in the center of the wheel you'll see a progress circle start up. When complete instead of one health pip or one supply pip EVERYBODY on the team now gets TWO pips which greatly helps them stay alive and win firefights. It's a big advantage because again that's for all teammates and it's there from every time at respawn as long as your team continues to control that command post.

The Soldier

Soldiers are ultimately the best killing machines so if that's your thing, although that's not what the game is about, then you might want to pick this class. They are so formidable because they can give themselves the Kevlar Vest armor bonus that engineers can only give out to others and they also get a damage boost ability, Armor Piercing Ammo, which is also for themselves only but it negates anyone who is using the Kevlar armor bonus as they do the full 100% damage to them. They also have exclusive access to Molotov Cocktails which are a special type of grenade which are more deadly and damaging then regular Frag Grenades which tend to only knock an enemy down. The soldier also gets exclusive access to Flashbang Grenades which as we all know by now temporarily blinds enemies who see them detonate. Later on, when they reach level cap, Soldiers gain the ability to use C4 charges with the choice to throw and detonate up to three of them at a time. Grenades and special explosive abilities are a big part of the Soldiers arsenal. The soldier also gets abilities to improve the blast radius, damage, and to speed up the grenade recharge timer as Brink features an unlimited supply of grenades but has a cooldown period between uses to keep it fair and balanced. They also cost a supply meter pip when you use one which soldiers have yet another ability to scavenge dead enemies bodies to refill that so they can use more and more grenades faster than other classes can. A couple of soldiers with all their abilities unlocked should be the main fighting force at the front lines of any team. As deadly as they are they are not totally kill orientated. They play a support role. Well mainly that is, They can do some main objectives by planting HE charges or explosives but they play a bigger role on the team as they can keep the enemy at bay by killing them and pushing them back while the other classes go for the objective. Their biggest team benefit, ammo, is very important. Soldiers are the only way you can refill your ammo without running back to a friendly command post which takes you out of the front lines and could cost your team. Soldiers can give out an ammo buff to teammates and replenish their own ammo at any time as long as they have a pip on their supply meter. They can also give up an Extra Magazine buff which increases the total ammo capacity. This is very important as guns run out of ammo quickly in this game with most guns only carrying enough for one reload. Ammo is at a premium and it was done this way purposely. It gives Soldiers a bigger role in the game and you simply need one at the front lines not only for their shooting and killing capabilities but if your team want's to be able to stay in the fight long enough you better have a soldier around to hand out ammo. 

The Medic

Medic's play a huge role on the team which is probably obvious to anyone that has played games like Team Fortress 2 or Battlefield Bad Company. In a heated firefight your going to want a Medic, or two even, if you want to come out on top. Their heals can be the difference between who wins that battle and who is sitting on the ground incapacitated or dead. In Brink when your shot to the point where you health bar is emptied your incapacitated and laying down on the ground, the enemy can then walk up to you and melee you or shoot you from afar to kill you but mostly you see them leave you alone especially if there's a raging firefight going on. If a player plays a medic right they can keep you in the fight without going down but if you do get incapacitated then they are also very important to the team with their Revive ability! Rather then wait for the wave respawn to come around and have to run back to the front lines of the battle they can simply toss you a syringe and you can use it to get back in the fight. At level cap Medic also have the impressive ability to use Lazarus Grenades which revives all incapacitated teammates in the healing cloud. They also have another buff called Metabolism which increases the rate at which your health regenerates. This is a good buff to give out because it lasts until they die and respawn so even if you give a teammate the buff and they get downed but then you revive them they'll still have the buff for health regeneration active on them. In general it's best to just back out of the line of fire if you see yourself low on health and let it regenerate really quick then get back in. Your not helping your team lying incapacitated on the ground after all. The game is a lot more about movement and evading fire then it is about being quicker or better are firing. Medics also have a buff that increases their teammates run speed for a short period of time. An ability to make them take unlimited amounts of damage for a short period of time but at the end of this time period they get all the ignored damage all at once. They also got the ability to increase their supply meter by one or two pips and then another ability to transfer supplies to a teammate. Medics play a key role in some missions that include escorting a human as the escort tends to go down often and only a medic can get them back up and moving. At those times it's probably best to have at least two to three medics on the team. A medic usually isn't firing his gun or he shouldn't be because they should be behind those that are fighting the battle and not in the line of fire. They are best kept alive to their team rather than risking death by helping out shooting enemies. Medics should always be around teammates tough waiting to heal or revive fallen teammates. A smart medic should also know the maps and watch the teams back. Most the time nobody is watching from behind and the medic is in perfect position to be the one to watch from behind and make sure their team doesn't get snuck up on or flanked. Their main battle though is with their supply meter. I usually just save my supplies for revives because while their heals are good when a teammate is about to go down their health buff with the extra health pip is only so-so and that tad bit of health bonus goes away too fast and doesn't regen. Lastly one of the key abilities for a medic is a self resurrection. You can revive yourself every so often, as this powerful ability has a very long cooldown period between uses, but it can often come in handy to revive yourself and then quickly revive some teammates and hold off the objective for that last crucial second before they capture it and win.

The Operative

The last class, Operatives, are probably the least sought after class to play but even they have a big role in the team if they are played right. Many consider them the solo player's class but they do have a lot of team helpful abilities. You can give your whole team a tactical advantage with radar for a short while by interrogating a incapacitated enemy with their Comms Hack ability for example. That being said they do not have any buffs to give to teammates and most of their abilities revolve around themselves. At level cap they get to use EMP Grenades which can temporarily disable enemy turrets, mines, and radars as well as slow down the progress of enemy Hacks and HE charges. They got some nice abilities like Sticky Grenade and Caltrop Grenades which are useful in battle. The sticky grenade even if missed on the initial throw attempt can still be stuck onto enemies who walk over it while it lies on the ground. Making it useful, almost more so then the Engineers mine as you can purposely throw it around an objective and an enemy will get stuck and explode just a like mine would but it's funny to watch people run around in circles when stuck because they don't know what to do or are looking for a teammate to take it off. Operatives also have the ability to spot enemy mines and point them out to teammates where a friendly Engineer can disarm them and dispose of them or just shoot it and explode it. They also get two abilities, one to hack enemy turrets and another to control friendly ones. They can take an enemies turret and then remotely control them from a safe distance behind cover or just have a teammate set one up and control that one. Making an Engineer and Operative tandem very formidable. They can also firewall a command post which makes it a tad bit harder for the enemy to take it back but it is generally a waste of time. Same for pointing out mines it's a waste of time but it can save your teammates life if you take the time out to do it. They also have the Cortex Bomb ability which gives them the option to explode while incapacitated which comes in handy and is hilarious as the enemy usually tries to finish the job with melee instead of wasting bullets and then finds themselves dead. As for their role in objectives they are the only ones who can complete hacking objectives which there are a fair amount of in some maps. In fact some of the first main objectives are hacking and from what I've found take the longest to complete. Some times it's not too uncommon to see a majority of the team switch to operative to get the main objective done because the more operatives that are hacking the objective the faster the progress meter goes and to be quite honest it takes too long to rely on just one operative. At their core though Operatives are best played as a flanker and usually you'll only see one player playing as them at a time. Their main ability lets them disguise themselves as a player of the other team by interacting with their dead body for a short period of time and that is a pretty powerful ability to get behind enemy lines where if the player is good and fast enough he can take down the main medic and a couple of others and if corresponding with teammates through chat can really help out with advancing past a tough area. Operatives are a dangerous opponent because your not always thinking about their deadly abilities like disguise and self exploding. While they mainly only come into play when the main objective requires them, if played with some skill they can be a regular and deadly class to play as.

As I mentioned earlier they all serve key roles throughout a match and you must often switch between them. While I usually stick to  Medic and Engineer as my favorite two I do get a lot of help by my friends who play Soldier and without that help and teamwork there would be no victories. Brink actually focuses on teamwork and tactics to be effective and win. If you don't use teamwork and stick with the team you will not win many matches. A team of average skilled gamers that work together vs a team of elite skilled gamers who don't will win most of the time in Brink. It was designed that way and it should be played that way. For some odd reason that teamwork emphasis alone is a reason I feel that the majority of the gaming community doesn't like the game. It's not how they prefer to play, it's not what they are use to, and it's not what is popular among FPS's today.
Another major gameplay changing decision you face is which of the three different body types (Light, Medium, and Heavy) best suits your playstyle. With body types playing a bigger role than just the appearance of your character the choice of what body type you play comes into effect. Body types factor into the players health pool, the players movement speed and movement abilities, as well as what kind of guns the player is allowed to choose from.

Playing as a light allows you to run the fastest and be the most agile when moving. Playing as a light you will feel the difference in how fast the game plays compared to playing the other two types. Brink has a Mirror's Edge-like movement system called S.M.A.R.T or Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain and with this a light can climb and get to places on the map that neither of the other two types can. They also apparently can do special free running (parkour) moves like wall running and wall jumps. They also appear skinnier then the other two option making them harder to shoot being less of a target but in exchange for all this mobility and agility they don't have as much health. They also are restricted to the types of weapons they can use with only having the option between Sub Machine Guns and Light Rifles (Sniper) as their primary weapon and Pistols as their secondary weapon.

Playing as a heavy you cannot do much climbing and must resort to stairs and ramps usually to get anywhere but where a heavy lacks the ability to truly free run they gain the ability to use all the guns offered in Brink's arsenal especially the deadly Minigun and powerful Grenade Launcher. They can choose any combination of weapons they like. While the most powerful guns are still restricted in the primary weapon list a lot of the guns also show up in their secondary weapon's list. Making them capable of choosing dual assault rifles or dual SMG's. A option the other two body types don't have. Heavy's as their name suggests also have the most health of all body types making them a little bit bigger in appearance and a bit of a bigger target but harder to bring down.

Playing as a medium body type is a blend between the two extremes. They are not as agile or quick as the lights but not as cumbersome as the Heavy. They are also not as limited in the routes they take as heavy's are. Medium's still have plenty of ability to climb a lot of the maps structures and get to advantageous positions and just travel the map quicker but it just takes him longer to do these actions then it does a light. As a medium the player can choose from a larger assortment of weapons as well as have a decent health pool. A tad bit more health than a light and a tad bit less then a heavy. The medium is the only body type you get starting out but many choose to stick with this balanced option throughout the game.

While I didn't get a chance to mention all the features offered in Brink I felt like I covered the main stuff that you need to know before you decide whether or not the game is for you. There is a lot of depth to the game and what role you take and the tactics you use go a long way into defining the experience you have with the game. I don't like to give games a end all be all grade as everybody grades them differently based on what they like. Some prefer graphics and a good story more than they value gameplay and customization for example. That being said the review wouldn't be complete without giving the game a rating. Just remember this is my rating and yours may differ slightly.

Overall I think it's a good game. Not great but not horrible either. I would say Brink is a solid 8 out of 10. If only for dedicated servers and no lag (Things they are trying to fix as I write this) the game could be as high as a 9.