7 Oct 2011

Late to the Party: Brink

Today I managed to pick up Splash Damage's most recent online creation, Brink, for a snip of its RRP. I'd had a vague interest in it from release, but I'm always hesitant to check out new multiplayer IPs unless the price is right. Today my curiosity got the better of me. FACT. That and it was only a fiver. I'm interested to find out, though, will I discover a hotbed of multiplayer shootering, or has everybody already fled the Ark? The fact that CeX are buying in sealed copies to sell on for cheap suggests to me the latter, but I took the gamble.

What follows is an account of my first hour's experience with Brink.

Golly. Golly and heck. Double bloody golly and heck. This wasn't worth it at all. Not the money, not the hour I spent trying to find a game and not the headache I've received from the persistent mouse lag that refuses to agree with what FRAPS is logging my framerate as. It wasn't even worth creating my grizzled, Pete Postlethwaite tribute character to play with and that's something I never imagined myself saying.

The story mode, which you are supposed to be able to play online, is essentially broken. Or at least I think it's broken, because I got kicked pretty quickly from every server I connected to. I managed to play at one point for about a minute before I realised that there was likely only one other human occupying the same virtual space as me. And the game said: I don't want you to have friends and booted me.

The wasted time hasn't made me angry though, I just feel a little depressed. I feel sorry for the game when it relies so heavily on human intelligence to make it fun. It will never rise again, it will never regain its moment in the spotlight.

I did play a couple of AI supported campaign games, but there's no pride in shooting wave after wave of enemy thug when they all stand bunched up and ready for the killing. The most enjoyment I did extract from my experience was seeing if I could ever catch one of them with a hand grenade. Let me tell you, it's nigh on impossible. Those guys are like cheddar cheese to a stick of chalk. The moment you throw a grenade they tidily disperse to the exact distance at which they won't get hurt. Pinning one of them down to take the blast was my greatest achievement within Brink's world.

But it's hard to shake this feeling of pity. I feel sorry for Splash Damage and I'm disappointed that the game has been abandoned by the people. I can see the potential. Like a rusting wreck, I can see that once, long ago, it's corridors were filled with players, obviously not having the best of times, but at least maintaining some level of enjoyment from fragging their fellow man. Now it's deserted, at least campaign-wise, and I have no desire to play it again.

I did take a look at the server browser in the hope of snagging one sorrow-free piece of the action, but there were only two games of sixteen players and both of them were full. I guess that's where the hardcore reside, polishing their grenades and sharpening their knives whilst cursing the rest of gaming-kind for deserting this once promising arena of death.

Were it a kitten I would take it in, feed it, love it and protect it for rest of its long life. But its not, it's a game, so I'll just pop it on the shelf alongside Gods and Generals, US Most Wanted and Armed and Dangerous and forget about it. Blimey, that was a lot of conjunctives.

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