Edge of existence
Review “Save the Ark, or escape it?” The choice initially offered to players upon loading up Brink, Splash Damage’s latest first-person shooter. What’s the Ark you ask? A last bastion of humanity, following worldwide flooding caused by the rising of the oceans – darned global warming!
Hit and miss
After a period of peace the Ark has split into factions, a result of the rich living in their ivory towers, high above the slums of the poor. Before you can mutter the word ‘uprising’ the Resistance has formed, vowing to escape the Ark in the belief that not all of humanity has perished in the flood after all. The Founders, those in charge of the Ark, don’t fancy losing the cheap labour which so cushions their hedonistic lifestyle, and so battle lines are drawn.
Not the most original plot then, but Brink is a game of action and strategy rather than allegory; most aptly demonstrated by the fact that this is a multiplayer game only, without even a hint of a single-player campaign. Sure, it’s possible to practice against bots offline, but it’s online where the game is meant to be played – if you’ve never bothered to network your console, this isn’t the game for you.
Once you’ve picked which side you want to be on – don’t worry you’re free to swap sides at your leisure – you’re faced with the character creation screen. Given Brink’s cartoon style it’s actually quite fun to mix and match styles, with progress unlocking ever more crazy clothes, hair styles, etc., too. Right now, my avatar looks like something out of Swamp Thing, decked out with green dreads and matching mask; striking I think you’ll find.