Saturday, August 6, 2011

Brink tricks me back with the Agents of Change DLC

When Brink first landed, I was initially excited. After enjoying the crap out of Monday Night Combat, Brink threatened to swallow up the player base with it's promise of rewarding teamwork with clever class-based combat.

Needless to say, there was lag, and a lot of it.

But yes, the Agents of Change DLC came out a little while ago, plus it was free. So all I needed to do was head back to my local redbox and put down another $2 per night to get back into it.

I can safely say that I held onto the game just 1 day longer then before. It was a new personal best!

Ok, so the new DLC raised the level cap from 20 to 24, gave each class a new ability to purchase along with a universal ability, 2 new maps, and 2 new attachments for your weapons. Lots of chances for redemption right?

Well, let me say that the lag problem was pretty much cleared up. It works smoothly for the most part, like any other game prone to latency, and I'm putting that in the best possible way. Black Ops isn't immune to lag but nobody complains about it because it's under control most of the time.

But what changed about the game? Pretty much nothing. Bayonets and weapons shields aren't a big deal. I actually like the bayonets and I think I'm in a minority. Melee combat is stupid to begin with in Brink, but the bayonet actually makes it worthwhile but melee in of itself is a rare opportunity unless you're like me and run everywhere with a light body type. Gun shields on the other hands are impossible to tell if they're doing any actual work or not. Not once did I feel like, "I'm glad I had this thing equipped! I wouldn't have survived without it!"

And the maps? Brink has a lot of problems with chokepoints and map design on their old maps (I frigg'in hate Resort and don't get me started on Security Tower). The second half of Labs isn't so bad due to a design which actually encourages free running but the first half is practically the Alamo if the Mexican army was composed of lemmings and the Texans had sentry guns.

As for Founder's Tower, if you thought the previous map design was flawed for not encouraging free running, you haven't seen Founder's Tower. The latter half is nothing but a maze of construction scaffolding. You better hope you don't go past the first stage, because every turn afterwards looks the same as the last: red scaffolding and blue tarp.

All my rage. All my hate.

I did however get a chance to try two of the new abilities. There aren't enough levels in Brink to master all the classes' abilities, so I decide to respec and focus on Operative and Medic (everyone picks Engineer).

The Operative's UAV is neat in a lot of ways and depressing in others. In one way, doing recon with a flying bomb is a great cathartic release when your team is composed of bots against a full party (which will happen often). On the other hand, it handles like a wild hog is piloting the Red Baron's airplane and you can't even control your altitude. Your UAV is capable of floating over obstacles and stairs but you need to wait for its incessant bobbing to go up so you can float over things.

"I am credit to team!"

As for the Medic's field regen unit, it's a neat tool to plunk down when you want to hold down a defensive position for the long term. I actually like it more than the UAV personally and I sometimes wish I would've bought that snazzy looking EMP grenade instead.

Overall, the whole package is great as a free gift to those faithful enough to stick with Brink and a fantastic way to sucker skeptics like me back. But if you pay for it, I'd be even more hesitant than I am now. The maps will probably frustrate you, the attachments aren't as meaningful as the current ones (front grip, every gun, all day), and you can't try every ability unless you're level 20 and even then you'll need to respec to try them all (which delevels you by 1 by the way).

I'd score the package as a 6 out of 10; the DLC has some satisfaction for you if you just want to keep playing Brink but the game's launch was spectacularly bad and that decided who would stick around and who would leave. The people who left who are curious of Agents of Change won't be back for long.

When I finally returned Brink to my local redbox, I simply breathed a sigh of relief and thought of all the other games I could finally play after returning a game that costs me $2 a night to keep.

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