A New Look At Brink: Seeing How The Other Half Lives

What's taking Brink so long? Why won't this ambitious, complex first-person shooter come out already? We've already seen and enjoyed its "SMART" approach to speeding through levels and over obstacles. We've been impressed by the detail of the futuristic Ark and Brink's teamwork-focused gameplay.

Recently, we got a deeper look at what else Splash Damage's shooter Brink has to offer, this time from a more posh perspective, where we were rich with guns and fighting in finer conditions.

Now, I've played through its previously featured mission before, one set in an area called Container City. That level, a makeshift environment built from corrugated metal, shipping containers and refuse, sees players escort an engineering robot through a winding path. Guard that 'bot, eliminate opposing Security forces and recover a bioweapon, all while enjoying a constant stream of experience points doled out while shooting bad guys and performing key and secondary objectives.

Kotaku's own Stephen Totilo has seen that level twice, played by Brink's developers, then by himself.

A New Look At Brink: Seeing How The Other Half Lives

We dug in a little differently this time. We had full access to the game's suite guns and character options. Poring over the in-game arsenal, I flicked through a dizzying array of rifles, shotguns, pistols, stocks, sights and clips, as well as some cosmetic tweaks to each. Everything was unlocked and it was too much to take in at once—but I suppose that's hopeful news for the game's longevity, if unlockable content interests you.

We played through Container City again, just to warm up. I played as an Engineer, dropping auto-firing turrets to help my comrades, repairing the broken escort robot once or twice. I played it as a Medic and Soldier, as well, swapping my classes at one of the game's terminals. I deployed health upgrades and raised fallen comrades as a Medic, passed out ammunition to my struggling teammates as a Soldier. We won. I walked out of there with the bioweapon in hand, speeding toward the exit with my lighter, faster Agile-sized medic.

There's always something to occupy one's time with in Brink, whether it's completing a mission or supporting your team with health and weapon boosts. Bring up the mission wheel with the controller's d-pad and find someone to help, something to do.

After playing as the game's Resistance side once more, we switched to an all-new level, a gleaming, sleek office complex that looked distinct from the chaos of Container City.

A New Look At Brink: Seeing How The Other Half Lives

This time, instead of winding through the hidden alleyways of Brink's war torn ghettos, we were moving through carefully planned architecture, up stairs and occasionally through blown out holes in the floor. We moved from brightly lit offices to open, airy hallways, map design that lent the level a very different feel from what we'd played previously.

Our mission was to extract and protect a prisoner—another escort mission, only this time the bounty was flesh and blood. Our team of eight fought against waves of Security forces as we guided our prisoner, armed feebly with a pistol, to an elevator. He went down numerous times, with our team's medics coming to his aid as he limped along—so slowly—to his escape route.

As we fought wave after wave, respawning again and again, some of Brink's more unique characteristics started to show themselves. Where other team-based first-person shooters sometimes feel singularly focused in their objectives, Brink is always throwing new optional ones at you. Those objectives can be easily managed with a pop-up wheel menu, which adds to the visual complexity of its interface. Where other video games go for HUD-less display, Brink's sometimes feels like looking at an airplane's instrumental panel. There's a great deal to take in, making Brink feel like a game for first-person experts.

It's also flooding you with a constant stream of XP, sometimes feeling like points are rewarded at a per bullet level. You may find yourself (or your teammates) easily distracted from your main objective.

Finally, I'd played a version of Brink at Gamescom in Germany last year on the PC, an experience I recall being visually rich, noticeably smooth. This version (played on a PlayStation 3) was far less impressive, with a less sturdy frame rate and lower visual detail.

Brink is coming to the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on May 17 in North America. Hopefully, all three versions will impress visually when they arrive.