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PC, XBox 360, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: PC
Splash Damage
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Rated: "T" for Teen

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

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User Rating:        6
Presentation: 6

With its near futuristic characters and settings, Brink's unique visual style comes off as almost an updated take on cult favorite film Mad Max. These visuals translate well throughout the game from the character creation tool right through to the final menus.

Gameplay: 5

Brink is founded on a number of solid ideas; unfortunately they all seem to get in the way of each other, and none work quite as well as they should. The parkour inspired SMART system is fun to play around with, but it gets old quickly.

Lasting Appeal:

There's a pretty robust character creation and two campaigns, but unfortunately even these come off as limited. All of this adds up to a pretty thin experience.

Overall: 6
Thanks to a number of questionable design choices, a thin package and a few irrelevant features, Brink fails to deliver on all of the hype it's received in recent months. Don't get me wrong, it's not a terrible game, just one that takes a lot of missteps.
CHEATfactor: 6

In Brink, the ambitious new first person shooter from Bethesda Softworks and Splash Damage Games you won't be stuck in corridor after corridor like most modern day first person shooters. Instead, you'll run up walls, and perform incredible jumps using a system similar to free running and parkour. Though it all seems great, Brink often comes off as a failed attempt at these jumps, as if your character tripped and fell on the way up. Its premise is built on great ideas, but all of those ideas seem to get in the way of each other and the result is an uneven and thin experience.

It's this free running style mechanic, dubbed SMART system, that sets Brink apart from the other first person shooters on the market. Holding down one button allows your character to perform some pretty cool feats, from running up walls and over obstacles. When it works, it's one hell of an adrenaline rush and can make for some pretty cool moments. Your character's size plays a role in just how you'll use the SMART system, but it's sometimes hard to remember just which class/size you're playing as, since most feel remarkably similar, which can lead to some frustrating moments.

"...making the whole mechanic feel pretty much irrelevant."


The game is set on The Ark; a floating, isolated city that's split into two sides, security forces and rebels. Very early on in Brink, you'll be asked to choose which side you're on, a decision which influences everything from your objectives to the options you have with your characters looks. It may sound like a pretty impactful choice, but you'll have the freedom to go back and change this choice at pretty much any point during your time with Brink, making the whole mechanic feel pretty much irrelevant. Brink's character creation tool is similarly thin as many of the changes are cosmetic (save for your size; bigger guys move slower but can handle bigger guns, with smaller guys being the exact opposite) and have little to no bearing on the actual gameplay itself.

Unfortunately, the majority of Brink's gameplay is less inspired than the SMART system. It's easiest to compare Brink's gameplay to that of Valve's Team Fortress 2. You'll have the option of choosing one of four classes, but oddly, don't expect to stay that class for an entire match as the varied objectives constantly result in downed players racing to switch classes to better suit what the game is asking of you. This is even more peculiar since there really isn't much difference between each of the classes.

"...makes planning a strategy seem cheap and a bit too easy."


All of the missions in Brink's campaign can be played by either side (you can even jump sides during the match) and in any order, so there's a lot of room for improvisation here. If you can't find enough human players to fill the spots, bots will automatically be added, so you're never in a spot where you can't find a match. Time plays an important factor in each of the missions making sure each match is hectic, but it also has a strange effect on the game's AI. The main complaint is that when time starts to wind down, the AI is incredibly predictable. Regardless of what they did during the match, they'll always bum rush the objective, and while it makes for an interesting finale more often than not, it makes planning a strategy seem cheap and a bit too easy.

While you can come up with some pretty impressive character designs in Brink, the game always comes off feeling like a modern version of post-apocalyptic cult movie Mad Max. This isn't terrible, as the game's visual style is quite impressive. Characters aren't photo realistic, but feature an elongated cartoony style that suits the quick action quite nicely. Not all is well though in the game's visual style though as the game has several weird glitches that cause textures not to load or look too dark. It can be incredibly frustrating when you're not able to perform kills you need because you can't see.

In the end, Brink often feels like it tries too hard to be your new favorite team shooter, rather than merely focusing on what it is - an interesting shooter with some cool ideas. All hope is not lost, as Brink often seems like it's on the verge of becoming a great game and perhaps a patch could fix it. For now though, Brink is an absolute disappointment. 



CHEATS USED: Unlock Weapon: The Knife, Unlock Weapon: Goblin Hand

Level and experience barriers are like a wall. Consider the trainer from to be the parkour equivalent to running over said wall.

Using the trainer, you'll gain be able to add time to a match or end it instantly, as well as being able to unlock all of the game's character creation items. I have to admit though, my absolute favorite part of the trainer has to be the save/load position feature. Come on, how can you not like being able to load yourself right into the enemy's base?



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