Greatness is rarely achieved without ambition. Jumping into the battlefields of Brink, you get the immediate sense that you are playing an ambitious first-person shooter. Four interdependent soldier classes and three distinct body types combine to create a diverse array of ways to kill your enemies, support your allies, and move around the battlefield. Brink’s team-based skirmishes are rich with opportunities, but they are also plagued with technical problems and design shortcomings. Visual issues and online lag frequently interrupt the fast-paced flow, and problems with the movement system and the artificial intelligence can be downright frustrating. There is definitely some fun to be had in these frenetic firefights, but for all its ambition, Brink falls well short of greatness.
Your Brink experience starts with a choice. As a citizen of the Ark, will you fight to impose order on the floating city that may be humanity’s last refuge in the wake of global disaster? Or do you view the Ark as a prison, where authoritarian forces oppress your people and keep you isolated from the human societies that must still exist on dry land? It’s a dramatic choice, but ultimately it’s a meaningless one. You can play both sides of the campaign no matter which faction you choose, and your loadout, abilities, and stats are persistent regardless of which side you are fighting for. Brink’s online integration means that with the exception of the four Challenge maps, every match you play takes place on one of the eight maps from the campaign. When you start up a match, you can determine what map you play, who can join your game (if anyone), which player ranks are allowed, and whether or not human players are allowed on the enemy team. Setting up a game in freeplay mode enables more customization options and increases the likelihood of joining a game with a lot of human players.