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E3 2009: Brink eyes-on impressions

When we first saw the teaser trailer for Brink we didn't know at all what to make of it. What this some big epic sci-fi action game or a fantasy RPG or . . . well, what, exactly? It turns out that Brink is a interesting twist on the multiplayer shooter genre that sometimes can get a bit repeitive.

Publisher Bethesda Softworks gave E3 2009 press attendees a behind-closed-doors (but hands-off) live gameplay look at Brink which comes from UK-based Splash Damage. They previousy worked with id Software on the free Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and the commerical release Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Brink is obviously an all-original property created from the ground up by Splash Damage and is set on a near-future Earth where the planet's oceans are increasing in size and are flooding the remaining strips of land.
Brink is set on an artificial floating city called the Ark that has seen better days. Humans are battling each other on this now ruined future city with the ultimate quest of what side will become the future of the human race. Each side (the more formal Security and the rough and tumble Resistance) will have their own separate single player campaign in the game and creating a character is similar to that of an MMO with lots of customization features.

In many ways, Brink resembles the now on-hold Arkane Studios project The Crossing with its mix of single and multiplayer. You can play the game entirely off-line but there is also support for team multiplayer modes and co-op for up to eight players. There's even an RPG-lite feature as your character will gain skills and abilities as they play the game more. There are a number of roles you can choose to play including the operative, the soldier, the medic and the engineer.

One cool feature about Brink is a way to side step some movement. If you want you can simply "look" at an area in the level you want to go to and then hit a button. The game takes over and moves you to that point automatically. You can use this feature to also do combo moves. For example you can duck under alarm beams when you hit the button and depending on where your target is located your body automatically moves under it.

Most of the rest of the Brink demo was on combat and we got to see a lot of it as Resistance and Security forces battled it out on an ruined dockyard in the Ark. Missions are different than other FPS; they are created dynamically for you. And while you can play the game in a pure single player mode friends can jump in at any time and play online through the mission with you.

The game looks terrific, by the way. Splash Damage is using a more advanced version of their Enemy Territory: Quake Wars technology and the results are highly detailed character models and solid looking level and art design for the game. This title is infrantry-based, at least for the moment so no vehicle action was shown at the E3 2009 demo.

While Brink is still a little ways off yet it looks like the game is turning into one of the better FPS around with some interesting new ideas on how to mix up single and multiplayer levels. We hope to learn more about the game before its release in spring 2010.


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