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- REVIEW: Pillars of Eternity
publisher: Bethesda Softworks
developer: Splash Damage
|ESRB rating: T
release date: May 10, 11
|» All About Brink on ActionTrip|
Did you play Enemy Territory or Quake Wars: Enemy Territory? Okay, now get rid of the Field Ops class, remove the vehicles from Quake Wars and add in a shitty parkour mechanic. There you go; that's all you need to know about Brink. What are you still doing here? The review is finished. Go home. Fine, I'll keep writing.
Brink starts out with some promise. The game takes place on a floating city called the Ark, which is more or less 'The Raft' from "Snow Crash," only with better architecture, no Enterprise and no political intrigue or futuristic weapons (Alas, no speaking in tongues and nothing like, "Let's see if they'll listen to Reason.") This still sounds like a fantastic environment to explore and the type of science-fiction setting where anvilicious statements about the human condition can be made.
Talk to the mini-gun!
Lotta back-stabbing or rather back-shooting going on.
This entire set-up is wasted, the Ark is just a backdrop to what could be called a "story" about a government agency trying to keep law and order, and a rebel group that just wants to leave the Ark because everything is so fucked up they will die if they don't. Naturally, the government agency and the rebels don't bother with negotiations or any diplomacy of the sort; instead they just start shooting each other. Because if you want to leave the Ark, the quickest way to do that will be to get into a war with the local powers that be, and if you want to restore order on the Ark, the most surefire way to do that is to start shooting people in the streets and making martyrs. The motivations for each of the two groups don't make any sense, and no attempt is made to explain them. It is enough for Brink to just assert that these two groups have motivations and the players are supposed to think that is justification enough for murder.
Basically, at this point you should realize that Splash Damage just wanted to make another Enemy Territory. Now, I happen to have enjoyed Enemy Territory, but if I wanted to play that, I would just pop Quake Wars in my Xbox 360. See, Brink sold itself on being something new and innovative, and it isn't. It's the same damn game that Splash Damage has always made and while that same damn game isn't necessarily bad, it certainly isn't new or different. I don't know if they came up with the Ark first, and then just decided to make another Enemy Territory because that would be easy or if they wanted to make another Enemy Territory, and decided to come up with the Ark as a method of making this seem like a new idea. Either way, the Ark is wasted, and all you get is another Enemy Territory.
The only innovation is the parkour system, and while it has some promise as an idea, it has a poor execution, especially since a first person shooter is a less than ideal place to implement this sort of thing in the first place. It looked like a really good idea in those tech demos where a single-player was running around an environment designed just to show off the parkour element, but when it comes down to actually using this in the game, running around and trying to do gymnastics in the middle of a war zone isn't always a great idea (nor does it work as seamlessly as was advertised). Also, since you can't see your feet, and you'll have to sprint half the time to get the parkour to work, you won't exactly be stopping on a dime, which is an extraordinary liability when trying to climb on things and not fall off, especially when people are shooting at you and you're trying to shoot back.
So we have a game you've already played (minus my favorite player class of course), with a movement system that it didn't need to begin with. Sensing perhaps that this alone would invoke critic and consumer wrath, a role-playing mechanic was tacked on. This role-playing mechanic has all of the depth of rice paper. You earn experience to advance in level, there are twenty levels, you get a point to invest in some perk out of a list of perks each level, and that's about it. Stat points? What the fuck are stat points?
Basically just another Enemy Territory with some features removed;
Basically just another Enemy Territory with some badly unneeded features tacked-on.