sore thumbs

May 26, 2011 |
By Matthew Scott Hunter




First-person shooter with unprecedented freedom of movement

(T) **1/2

Bethesda Softworks

Xbox 360


"Brink" is a first-person shooter that boasts an unprecedented freedom of movement, much like parkour. You can slide-tackle your opponents, hop over rails and other obstacles, and of course, just shoot people the old-fashioned way. The game's story puts you on an island metropolis, which has seen better days. You can choose to fight on the side of the security forces, who see their city as the last remnant of lawful civilization, or you can fight with the rebels who've come to consider their home a prison. Whichever choice you make will determine whether the guys you shoot at wear slick-looking body armor or look like they're ready to attend the Burning Man festival. The game's unique art style is a highlight, but the aesthetic trumps the gameplay, which never quite works the way you wish it did.

Though offering dimwitted A.I. bots to blast away, this game was really designed for online play with live adversaries, and there are quite a few bugs that still need to be worked out. Your parkour-inspired abilities function inconsistently. You might execute an astonishing leap one second, just to find yourself unable to clear an obstacle — half the height — a second later. Your fast-paced moves are terrific when they work, but they're hampered by a chugging framerate an irritating amount of the time. It's admirable that Bethesda Softworks tried to offer an online FPS experience different from the myriad "Call of Duty" clones, but if you're looking for free running action, your best bet is still one of the "Assassin's Creed" games. CV