Brink - First Hands-On (Part Two)
Brink - First Hands-On (Part Two)
Welcome to the second glorious installment of GameArena'a exclusive hands-on with Brink, the game changing first-person shooter by Splash Damage that will suck your bandwidth dry come the end of May. Those of you not up to speed with what the hell I'm on about can jump on back to part one of this double tap of awesome and get acquainted with the nuts and bolts behind this terrific team based title.
For the rest of you, let me start by saying thanks for the kudos. I'm glad to see there's a lot of support for what's shaping up to be an outstanding release, and if you keep reading on you'll find out exactly why I'm so psyched about it and heavily behind what Splash Damage is bringing to the table.
After wiping the floor with the competition and showing the US how Aussie gamers represent, I moved on to the second part of the hands-on session. This was a mission deep in the heart of The Ark based around the Security Tower, inventively called Sec-Tow. What are the odds? I'm going to break this part down a little differently as I played through once with a mid-level character, then stopped to interview creative director Richard Ham, and was lucky enough to have another stab at it later on with a few of the Brink developers, complete with a maxed out character. It afforded me the luxury of putting some of the golden advice I mined from the interview to good use. Sure, I had to promise them editor Joaby's first born, but as you'll read, it was well worth it.
This was a three pronged mission where, playing as Resistance, we had to infiltrate the Security Tower, navigate its bowels, locate a pass code to spring a prisoner and then escort this prized asset clear of danger and escape. There was no stealth involved, enemy forces knew we were coming and it became a cluster-you-know-what of epic proportions. Each play-through was completely different. The first time through I adopted the more up close and personal approach. In Brink, you have three different body types to choose from, with each balancing out agility versus damage. The quickest characters can scramble all over the show, but aren't too good in a confrontation. I opted for a bruiser to take a ton of incoming fire, picked Soldier class and lumbered towards the entrance to blow the doors wide open.
My behemoth managed to plant an explosive charge before dying and the remainder of the team kept Security at bay until it went boom. As troops started to fill the room open areas whittled down to choke points, I switched to Engineer. After a round of buffing everyone's weapons to increase damage I strategically placed turrets atop staircases to keep the enemy at arm's length and thin the herd. It worked like a charm and before i knew it the crew was operating like a well oiled machine, had popped the pass code from its housing and freed our comrade in arms. Way to go! After laying down some cover fire and shuffling this digital coil, I picked a mid-size body and played Medic as it all went to hell in a hand basket.
Considering there were only eight members on the other side, they seemed to swarm like cockroaches. I ducked for a quick revive, vaulted over a barricade to safety, hit SMART and took another bastard out as I started sliding (which felt unbelievably cool) - all the while buffing the freed prisoner with a health boost as he slowly edged closer and closer to safety. It was a points fiesta and I could barely keep up with triage duties as heavy handed Security kept cutting the team to ribbons. With a cry of "forget this ****" (not quite the language I used), I hit the offensive and fought fire with fire. Biggest body type, Soldier class and large caliber weapons - I mowed those fools down again and again with little regard for my own life bar. The team always comes first. Long story short, our guy made it away intact and we won the day. Here's where it gets interesting.
After my interview with Richard Ham, I decided to play a mostly overlooked class, that of the Operative. Operative missions tend to go all lone wolf, resembling a spy or ninja more than anything else. The guys maxed my character out at LvL 20 (which is the cap), giving me the most goodies to play with, but also the highest level adversaries to go up against. Challenge accepted! Hitting the command post, I brought up the Operative, chose a lanky body type with the most SMART-tastic options, gave myself a sturdy machine gun and a pistol as my secondary (which will make sense shortly), picked the perks I hadn't tried yet and set off with another of the Brink developers as a two man Operative wrecking crew.
While the rest of the team breached the facility and headed toward the pass code, I stuck to the shadows and opened up an alternative pathway. Sneaking behind a lone sentry I capped his sorry ass and then used the Operative exclusive ability to steal his identity. You are only revealed to the enemy if you fire or the respawned character who's identity you stole comes near you. This is where the pistol came into play. Not to shoot - when you're armed with a pistol you carry a pretty nasty knife as well. Casually sauntering up to Security I'd wave hello and then say goodbye as I plunged my knife into their heart for a melee kill. While the rest of the team kept Security busy, I was working my way behind enemy lines to the pass code. Before they could spit I'd stolen it - before they finally caught on and I died.
Feeling more Operative love, I spawned again and used a few more tricks of the trade. Operatives can spot mines dropped by Engineers and highlight them on the mini-map - plus if you hack a downed enemy's device you can also bring up the entire team's position on your crew's map. After sweeping the area, clearing it of explosives and marking troop positions it was time to disorientate and destroy. A few quick kills and some constant dress up kept them on their toes - I watched with delight as Security forces were firing on each other to confirm each player was who they appeared to be. I also had some nasty little spiked jacks that I distributed that both obscure vision with a cloud of smoke and cause damage if anyone runs through them. If they decide to walk slowly I'd pick them off one by one and move onto the next.
While I was flitting about far from the action, I could hear constant updates from the six AI controller companions that my efforts were not a selfish indulgence. They were close to getting away. Knowing victory was assured I saved the best perk for last. Finishing off an enemy, I quickly disguised myself and nonchalantly made my way behind three bad ass mofos. I popped one, knifed another, but may have bitten off more than I could chew. He took me down and stood over my lifeless corpse mocking my demise. Big mistake. While I was waiting to spawn (or for a Medic) I ripped him a new one thanks to the beauty of a perk known as the Cortex Bomb. As the tiny shaped charge in what was left of my brainpan detonated I watched with grim satisfaction as both our bodies exploded. Payback's a *****, *****!
That final bombastic confrontation brought the hands-on session to a close as I said a teary eyed farewell to Brink. I'd had more than a fair share of time with it and damn it, I wanted more. I'd played out two scenarios without an entire compliment of team mates, and the sheer possibilities makes Brink such an intriguing prospect. For those of you after another Brink fix, stay tuned Monday and keep an eye out for the one on one I had with creative director, and all around nice guy, Richard Ham.
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