I started off this article with a top five in mind, but the list quickly grew, so I decided to cap it off at eight in an effort to remain concise. The long and short of it is that I think Brink could be the next Borderlands-style surprise hit, and I want to bring others in on the excitement.
For those of you unfamiliar with this "little-known" gem, here is an outline of the top eight reasons you should think about picking up today's big release.
1) 8-player co-op
You can play Brink's entire campaign with seven of your closest friends. This isn't some tacked-on feature; it's a core idea that developer Splash Damage built the experience around. It's much more than a bullet point on the box: Co-op is why you play the game.
2) Class-based gameplay that actually requires teamwork
Sure, you could argue that Brink isn't the first game to have class-based team play, and you'd be right. But it may be the best. While games like Battlefield have similar classes like medics, engineers, and soldiers, only Brink forces players to use these abilities collectively to accomplish their missions. Teamwork in Battlefield is an option that makes you more successful, but in Brink it's a requirement.
For instance, you can play as a sniper, but instead of sitting back and picking guys off in one hit, you only deal around 80 percent damage. This means you'll need your friends to help out to finish off a foe. Other situations may call for an engineer to free a teammate who has stepped on a mine or require a medic to buff a fellow soldier's health to ensure he has time to plant an explosive.
3) Artificial intelligence that is actually intelligent
So you jump online, and you notice that none of your buddies are around to play some co-op. With Brink, it seems as though you have nothing to worry about. In numerous trials and demos, many testers were unaware that the guys fighting beside them weren't actually humans beings. Instead, they were seeing Brink's A.I. system at work.
4) It's your game
Brink features some of the most distinctive customization you've seen in a first-person shooter. You can outfit each weapon with unique scopes, add-ons, and skins. The same goes for your character. By fully taking advantage of its attractive art style, Brink allows you to customize your shirt, shoes, pants, hair, face makeup, and body style as you see fit. This makes each character on the battlefield one of a kind. It's like dressing up a Barbie, only with more guns and more awesomeness.
5) The Dynamic Mission Wheel
After seeing and playing Brink for the first time, one innovation made me wonder why no other developer had thought of it before: reactive mission objectives. Some titles ante up with weapon wheels, but Brink raises the stakes with a mission wheel.
This unique feature takes into account kinds of support players need on the field of battle, dynamically creates objectives, and awards XP accordingly. One minute, it may task you to help your fallen comrades, and the next minute, you may choose to switch classes and need to repair a gun emplacement. The game always has a handful of options available to you at any given time.
6) Running like a ninja
One aspect of Brink that Splash Damage has made particular note of is its parkour abilities. While the movement options aren't as robust as Mirror's Edge, Brink integrates gunplay and mobility in a much better fashion.
You can run in, cannons blazing, while hurdling a wall and sliding into an enemy emplacement, only to finish the bad guy off with a well-timed shotgun blast. On top of that, the aforementioned customization affects mobility. If you choose a small, nimble body type, you can access more areas than a larger, bullet-sponge body type. Other games may have great shooting or great acrobatics, but only Brink merges the two into a creative, cohesive, standout experience.
7) You put story in my multiplayer?
Brink's cut-scenes do more than open each co-op campaign: They flesh out an ongoing narrative. And if that's not interesting enough, you can also play the co-op campaign levels competitively. This means that you can fight through one level solo, and if playing by your lonesome bores you, you can decide to finish the story playing against online opponents.
8) Challenges = Training
One feature that Splash Damage seems especially proud of is Brink's challenge mode. This portion of the game is more than merely a task list that unlocks character-customization items; it also serves as a fun way to hone your skills. Splash Damage admits that in playtests a lot of people weren't using the game's parkour abilities effectively at first, but after a few runs through some of the parkour challenges, they had it mastered and were using it in the main game.
If you visit The Weekly Blend regularly, you've probably aware that were not shy about our enthusiasm for Brink. The game that has been on our radar since we first did an video interview with the game's developers, Splash Damage, at PAX Prime in 2009. You can check it out on YouTube here.