First Looks// E3 09: Brink

Posted 4 Jun 2009 16:24 by
One of the first stops on my grand tour of E3 this year was the Bethesda booth. They had a few things on show. The next fallout DLC; Lookout Point, was there and playable. Iím personally looking forward to shooting some redneck mutants when it releases.

Another big draw was the grindhouse-style action, beat-'em-up, game Wet. Check back soon for hands-on impression of that. But the thing they seemed to be most keen to show me was the upcoming Brink. Except in teaser trailer form (see the end of this piece of that), this was only shown behind closed doors

Right off the bat you get the feeling this is a big project for Bethesda. A lot was made of the incredibly deep character customization system they have developed (female only sadly). While they made a big deal, and spent about five minutes on the subject, I wasnít exactly amazed at the customization options. The character models look good and there are a lot of accessories and face types to be had, but this is hardly Mass Effect.

That said, it is way better than many other shooters. One thing to note is that the look of your character, his or her stature at least, does have an effect on game-play. The bigger you are the less fancy jumping youíll be able to do with the S.M.A.R.T button (more on that in a second) and the smaller you are the more susceptible to damage youíll be.

Another big feature is the aforementioned ďS.M.A.R.T.Ē button (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain). This takes a fairly standard controlling FPS and turns it into a first-person Assassinís Creed. For instance, simply holding down a button and looking up will cause your character to climb an object if, indeed, it's climbable. Looking down causes the anticipated sliding to occur, a la Mirrors Edge. However, because this is an FPS you arenít burdened with a crouch or climb button. Holding in the button while you run seems to give very predictable and useful results.

The story of the game is one of a very (altogether now) dystopian not too distant future. At some point, before everything went to pot, some people, or country or somesuch, got together and built a super awesome floating city. Fast forward a few years and the Earth's water levels have risen to the point where no land exists any longer (Science sidenote: I donít think thatís possible). The obvious outcome is that the have-nots are now quite annoyed at the haves, and are giving them a hard time. You get to choose a side Ė happily, there are multiple chances throughout for you to switch.

The game-play seems to be fairly standard shooter fare except with the added versatility of the S.M.A.R.T. Button.

The real difference comes in how the game is structured. You are given an overall objective, and based on the class you chose, you are given multiple short-term objectives throughout each scenario. The interesting thing is that you can switch class at any time by finding a command centre. So, if a certain part of the mission would be easier for a heavy weapons guy, and youíve been playing as sneaky sort, you can mix it up. Not sure how realistic this is but it will certainly avoid a lot of frustration.

Another interesting twist to the structuring is that you can also choose from as many as eight I believe, different short term objectives at any time. More difficult ones will reward more experience points. They all get you to the same goal, just in different amounts of time and in different ways. Itís a very dynamic system that not only adapts to you but allows you to adapt to what ever is thrown at you.

While I certainly canít say how much the story will impact the game's success when it comes out. From the bit I did see I can say that Bethesda have innovated enough, in enough different areas to make something that really stands out, in my mind at least, from a whole herd of ďMe tooĒ shooters out there.

Companies:
Games: Brink

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