At times this can be something of a curse, with the all-too tantalising urge to utter the knee-jerk reactionary word, Ďderivative.í And for anyone playing Brink, that competing product is one that has a lot of love in this industry - Valveís Team Fortress 2.
Dismiss this title at your own risk, however, because Brink is shaping up to be a hugely enjoyable multiplayer experience. There are obvious inspirations in Splash Damageís offering - from the different classes to the alternative missions, right down to the almost light-hearted character design style. But its approach is slicker, faster-paced and somewhat more refined in terms of presentation.
The action takes place on a futuristic city in ruins known as the Ark. The story goes that the artificial island was a result of great human accomplishment and a beacon of how far society had come technologically. Unfortunately for the rest of the worldís populace, the ocean rose and swallowed up the rest of the planet.
I was able to play a couple of games as both a member of the Security and Resistance and they each have their own visual style. The bulletproof vest-wearing Security forces are kitted out in lovely blue threads, packed to the nines with padded protection and ammo clip holsters. The Resistance are decked out in rather scutty guerilla gear, tattoos and grim headgear. But no two characters should look the same, which is why Brink comes with a rather extensive set of customisation features.
Everything from your loadout to your perks can be tweaked to your heartís desire, as well as your characterís avatar. You unlock new styles, clothes and ability upgrades as you progress through the game, spending experience points gained from engaging in plenty of teamwork. And fixing up your weapons makes for an interesting balancing act - as you apply equipment such as silencers and duct-taped ammo clips, the statistics of that gunís effectiveness in the heat of battle rise and fall accordingly.
When the time comes to jump into the action, you wonít be looking for online multiplayer lobbies. Splash Damage doesnít seem to believe in them, so instead Brink provides a simple list of friends on your list who are currently online - by selecting their name you automatically jump into the same game as them. From there, itís a race against time for the Security and Resistance forces to overpower one another.
The second you spawn, youíll be standing in front of a desktop computer known as the Command Post. Accessing it will allow you to change your character class from a range of different types - Soldier, Engineer, Medic and Operative - as well as define your current objective. Primary objectives are highlighted in yellow, but you can select a secondary blue objective to busy yourself with instead to indirectly offer team support.
For everything that you do, youíll earn experience points, be that assisting the main mission or by simply helping your teammates out - each character class has a proficiency in a particular skill that can aid another. So the Medic can chuck revival kits to fallen friendlies, the soldier is able to lob extra ammo to others, the engineer can buff weapons in a pinch and the operative can interrogate enemies for intelligence.
In the new map I played called Security Tower, this level of teamwork awareness was massively important as a member of the Resistance. To break into a high-security building and hack into a safe for sensitive intel to take back to base was no easy task when the enemy spawn points were frequent and always incredibly close by. Engineers could place sentry guns to break off the almost infinite wave of Security personnel while Operatives were able to disguise as the opposing team to better survive the safe-hacking process.
Sometimes, itís the little things like exploring maps for enemy intel and laying traps for the opposition that can bring the most satisfaction, and for as equal a reward. And that gratification is something that will make Brink a highly desirably title when it launches on the 20th May.
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