When Brink released in 2011, it had a 'mixed or average' reception according to Metacritic. Indeed, while there were many decently high scores praising the game, there were as many low scores. They tended to state that the game was buggy and/or incomplete, and that it wasn't the "FPS revolution" many believed it would be. As every looter shooter or multiplayer FPS game that has released since the OG Destiny has been wantonly described as a "Destiny-killer," many FPS games at the time were expected to rise above and beyond the others in the genre.
The thing is, Brink's launch sounds a lot like current launches. Plenty of games have been described as buggy or incomplete, and while there's certainly a limit as to how content is treated and/or how buggy a game is at launch, it still did what many wanted: it innovated. While Brink didn't really find its home in 2011, nor did it find its place when it went free-to-play on Steam in 2017, it seems like a safe bet a Brink releasing today could arguably find itself among many contemporary shooters.
On paper, Brink sounded like a completely different game than many of its contemporaries. Yes, it was a FPS. Yes, it had basic classes like Soldier, Medic, Engine, and Operative, but this all worked into its charm when combined with other systems like a choice between light, medium, and heavy body types. Anyone who remembers it may remember the smooth parkour of this 2011 game, which existed thanks to its SMART, or Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain, System. This delivered a satisfying gameplay system of parkour that was not too complex that it took away from the experience. While it was not perfect, it was a step in the right direction.
And, perhaps most important of all, the game had a strong backstory with a ton of lore and potential for more. If there's one thing that fans of Overwatch, Destiny, Apex Legends, and more have in common, it's a love for lore. Set mid-21st century, there was the idea of the world falling apart, the promise of the Ark, its following isolation, the poverty and degradation that consumed it, and the resulting civil war between The Resistance and Ark Security.
This is not to say that the criticisms and reviews of Brink weren't accurate in 2011—they were; the game had cracks and they showed. But if Brink released in 2021, the type of ongoing support games get today could see the game come into more of its own and deliver on the fronts that it faltered on.
On Steam, Brink is still getting user reviews to this day. For the past 60 days, it has received 61 reviews and 67% of them were positive. While that's not exactly passing with flying colors, many of the reviews come from a place of nostalgia. Many seem to recall what they enjoyed at launch and some discussed the game as one overhyped, which it was. But the core formula was indeed something special for 2011.
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