Brink: Agents Of Change Has Lonely Screens

By John Walker on August 1st, 2011 at 4:48 pm.

But where are the people?

As Alec brought to our attention on Friday, Brink’s first DLC, Agents Of Change, is due out on the 3rd August. That’s in two days time, calendar fans. Let’s celebrate this proximity with eleven screenshots of the runny, jumpy, shooty content. Except, er, without the runny, shooty or content. These are pics of the environments. Until the very last they somewhat forgot the players. But still, they’re very pretty. And pretty things distract me from the turmoil within.

If you click on the pictures
Within your own strictures
Then before your eyes
They’ll become full size.

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44 Comments »

  1. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    That looks pretty, pity it’s just a multiplayer shooter

    • Ultra Superior says:

      My thoughts. I’d love Brink just for the art – if only it wasn’t skirmish against bots…

    • ZIGS says:

      This game would’ve been awesome if it was single-player

    • Urthman says:

      Yeah. I wish these were screenshots for something more like Mass Effect.

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      they do look a lot like the citadel.

    • Oak says:

      Why is that a pity?

      I certainly wouldn’t turn down a proper single-player game set on the Ark, but I thought Brink did an admirable job of giving you interesting places to experience and an interesting fiction to explain them.

    • fenriz says:

      and a non-interesting gameplay to wrap em all, is what i think they mean

      Seriously, 2011 and we’re still randomly shooting at each other with no meaning, just to be 1st one in the players list? c’mon.

    • Oak says:

      We certainly are. However, I don’t see what that has to do with Brink, a teamwork-centered game in which rounds are won by completing objectives which have been introduced in a meaningful context.

  2. Orija says:

    Is the game worth buying, at the present? Are a significant number of people still playing it?

    • ran93r says:

      The haters will tell you otherwise but I haven’t had trouble finding games in recent weeks.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Maybe I’m just bad at using the server browser, but I’ve found that there are pretty slim pickings. Looking forward to the dlc for that reason.

    • Scatterbrainpaul says:

      Currently 442 players playing it on steam, but i guess that only account for a small amount of the players

    • Gnoupi says:

      I love the game, but depending on the hour of the day, it may be difficult to find a server. Typically, on early morning UK time (the “before going to work” time), I usually find 2-3 servers with people on it.

      So in general, it has regular people playing it, but just not in amount to compare with the other big MP shooters. For example, you can find plenty of games of CSS, TF2 or L4D2 at almost any time of the day. It’s not exactly the case for Brink, but it still has a regular community, hopefully.

    • CMaster says:

      @Scatterbrainpaul

      It’s a Steamworks game, so ignoring those playing singleplayer in offline mode, that’s everybody in the world playing Brink on PC.

    • Scatterbrainpaul says:

      @CMaster

      I thought Brink fell out with Steam and took it off steamworks? I assumed then people would be able to play it else where

      To be fair though, I haven’t really been paying any attention to Brink

      If they’re only getting 450 users in the entire world a couple of months after release, that can’t be good

    • CMaster says:

      @scatterbrainpaul

      No, it’s odder than that. For some reason, suspected to be Game making demands, Steamworks games are not available to buy from Steam in the UK, at least for a while around launch. AFAIK, Brink has always used Steamworks, just for a while it couldn’t be bought from Steam. (See the same being the case with Space Marine, Saints Row 3, etc)

    • killmachine says:

      there arent many people playing the game, but i dont have any problems finding servers. there are just not that many.

      btw. if you own an ati card, you better take a look at the game first, before consider buying it. sadly, it runs terribly on ati cards.

    • Jockie says:

      Pretty sure there are people like me, who haven’t played a great deal since release who’re going to have a second look after the dlc hits.

      Regarding Steamworks, I bought my copy via D2D, they then gave me a key, which I shoved into Steam to download and play, despite the game not being available to buy on Steam. Bizzare.

    • Xercies says:

      Yep can’t wait for the multiplayer boost this DLC will create, i really think its a really good game, up there with other Spash Damage works. Unfortunately a lot of people and reviewers just couldn’t see this which is a shame.

  3. Rii says:

    I do find these environments rather more appealing than anything I’ve seen of the game in the past.

  4. ScottTFrazer says:

    Wait, aren’t you the guy who hates games where the single player experience is nothing but the multiplayer game with bots thrown in?

    Cause I agree with that guy, and I sold my copy of Brink after 2 hours of playing it.

  5. Sigh says:

    Those lonely screens are are purposeful: that is what the servers look like anyway.

    Actually the last one is a bit too busy and a little deceptive…no servers have that many players!

  6. Vagrant says:

    I picked the game up yesterday, in fact. Haven’t dared to check the server browser, but so far it’s quite fun offline. I’m hoping they’ll have a big Steam sale and the servers will light up.

    I wish DICE would make a game like this! They have all the pieces!

  7. Premium User Badge

    CelticPixel says:

    The mixed reviews have left a lot of people on the fence, and it really feels like Splash Damage could do with putting out a demo, so those people could decide for themselves. Despite it’s flaws I found it a lot of fun, but it all depends on what shooters you’ve played, and what your expectations are.

  8. rocketman71 says:

    Still waiting for the offline LAN support that Splash promised.

    • killmachine says:

      this must have been announced before they announced it would be a steamworks game you have to log in to steam to play it?!

      or do you have a source for that?

  9. Premium User Badge

    Lacero says:

    …and now I’m reminded how much I want a mirror’s edge sequel.

  10. Droniac says:

    That looks great and hopefully it’ll be accompanied by a fancy patch to fix some of the game’s issues.

    It’s a shame that SD didn’t really get in enough development time / testing to really deliver on the game’s potential. I couldn’t care less about the singleplayer, there are plenty of good shooters if you want a decent singleplayer experience, but the multiplayer could’ve been epic. Now it’s just the most promising multiplayer shooter in years held back by bad design decisions, a few resilient bugs, and poor shooty elements.

    Brink is still a fun game and probably the best recent multiplayer shooter, but it could’ve been so much better with some very simple changes:
    - Players need to be able to spawn at command posts. The lack of forward spawning kills Brink’s momentum.
    - Players need to be able to switch characters in-game. The perk system ensures that a class is only viable when used with a specific character built for that class. So no one ever switches class in-game, because their characters are set up with only a single class in mind.
    - ALL the guns in the game need to do at least twice as much damage. The fact that you need about half a clip to kill someone makes the actual shooty elements feel very weak. It also overvalues soldiers, because they can hand out ammo.
    - Mounted guns need to be both more accurate and more powerful. They’re nothing but points-factories for engineers now as they do effectively nothing to deter the other team.
    - Fix the audio! Sounds aren’t being generated in the correct places and everything feels a little off as a result.

    So I played the game for a week or so and now only sporadically go online to play. There are always plenty of good servers to choose from, but it could’ve been really big with just a month or two of additional work. As it stands Brink offers a great concept that’s been only partially executed, where games like Crysis 2 and Bad Company 2 may not offer the same excellent mechanics, but at least offer well-rounded and high quality experiences across the board. A few patches would really do Brink wonders, but I think it might be too late for that…

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      I agree that there are elements of the game that definitely need work, but I must disagree with most of your major suggestions (mounted gun and audio fix ideas being the ones I would agree with.)

      Spawning at the command posts would make them much easier to hold, meaning you won’t be fighting over them. If an attacking team could capture a forward post and start spawning there, it would become impossible for the defending team to push back. As it is, command posts give pretty significant advantages to the team that holds them, even more so if an engineer upgrades it. Making it a spawn point as well would be too powerful.

      Being able to select your character I only disagree with because I feel the entire class structure of the game needs reworking. The classes are pretty much hopeless until you level them up a fair amount. This didn’t seem quite so bad when started with the game, as I played from release, but it must be impossible for new players to keep up. I still have classes where I have zero upgrades, making it pointless me ever selecting them. For a game that seems to encourage switching classes, this design choice is ridiculous. Quite honestly, they should just ditch the ranking system or make it purely for show. Give every one a limited number of points for each class to spend and go from there.

      As for increasing the damage done by weapons, I couldn’t disagree more. I like that you can take a fair few hits before dying. It makes a change from the usual modern FPS, where who ever shoots first wins. Allowing you to actually get away works great here, particular with the SMART movement.

    • Droniac says:

      I suppose spawning at command posts wouldn’t really work very well with the dual-capture system in Brink. But quite a few of the maps desperately need more forward / alternative spawn-points for the attacking team. Maps like the one where you need to rescue and escort a hostage, or the one where you need to grab some fuel and hack a computer system seriously lack in pacing for the attacking team. On pretty much all the maps the defending team is pretty well situated, but the attacking team often spends more time walking than actually doing anything, which was not an issue in any previous SD games.

      I merely mentioned changing characters in-game, because it’s the least invasive solution I could come up with. Completely reworking the entire way classes and perks work would, I imagine, take much more time than simply allowing character switching in-game. And while you’d still need to level up each character, at least it’d be possible for dedicated players to switch classes in-game without playing a mockery of what the class really was intended to be. A completely rework of the system so that all class-specific perks are unlocked by default when selecting a class would be ideal of course.

      The damage output of the weapons in Brink is far too low. A light body type can take 6-8 hits from most guns in the game, and can then still be revived. Compare this to a competitively balanced game where you can easily survive an encounter without the benefit of a SMART system like Return to Castle Wolfenstein where you could survive only 3-5 hits, or Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory where you could survive 4-7 hits. In those games it was rarely a case of whoever shoots first wins (only with panzers and good snipers), and as such it most definitely is not true for most modern shooters which follow the Black Ops model of 5-7 hits for a kill.

      Brink’s ridiculously low damage output across all guns in the game might seem nice to a beginning or less competent FPS player, but it does make the shooting less enjoyable and ruins the class balance. Without the distinctive personalities and weapon feedback of Team Fortress 2 (which utilizes a similarly overly-forgiving damage model) you’re left with a game where you spray entire clips into enemies at point-blank range and it barely seems to affect them at all. Not a good thing when you need to take down objective carriers from halfway across the map and barely have any ammo to spare. Not to mention when only a single class can hand out ammo, and another can increase capacity… it has effectively ensured that medics and especially operatives are severely underplayed in all games.

      A game like Quake Live or Unreal Tournament 3 allows players to soak up a lot of damage while maintaining weapons that feel powerful and satisfying to use. Brink merely allows players to soak up a lot of damage, about twice as much as most modern FPS games which already have low damage models to begin with.

  11. sonicblastoise says:

    Bought this as Amazon was having a sale on it for $20. Can’t say I’m disappointed.

    I think if I had purchased it at full price I would have been a bit taken aback by the lack of a proper SP mode, but all in all it’s a competent shooter. Shame that the online has died out a bit (at least around 10pm on a saturday night…primetime for many games I think)

    I would post thoughts, but this is RPS, not some friggin’ personal blog!

  12. Tei says:

    The game needs better chaeracters animations, and more variety in weapons (almost all are spray and pray).

    • Jockie says:

      The weapons all felt a bit plinky-plonky to me (yes that is a valid technical term), the submachine guns easily outstripped anything else. The only (debatable) positive to be gleaned from this is that sprinting around, sliding around corners and fireing manically while cackling is a valid playstyle.

  13. Bungle says:

    Oh, how nice of the developer! Too bad NOBODY PLAYS THE GAME!!! Every article about Brink should mention at least three times that it is a multiplayer game with no players. It rarely even shows up in Steam’s top 100 games, which goes all the way down to 250 players on at a time. It’s a dead game and nothing can change that at this point. DO NOT BUY BRINK! Not even a free weekend and 50% off sale would change that.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      Alternatively, you should buy it because it is a great game. Support great games or else they will disappear.

      As for finding games to play, after reading about the new DLC, I played a bit at the weekend. I had no difficulty getting a game going. Compared to trying to play Section 8: Prejudice (which is also great,) it was a breeze.

  14. Iskariot says:

    Wow, what incredible looking architecture. This should be Mass Effect. I would like to walk around there, speak to characters, solve quests etc.

    I did put brink on my ‘to buy’ list after I saw the first images and movies of the beautiful surroundings and the excellent design in general…. but when I understood that it was multiplayer only I realized this game would probably die soon.
    If only Brink would have had a serious single player… Such a waste of beautiful creative design. It might have ruled as a cool RPG shooter.

    • Oak says:

      It might have. I can tell you that it does rule as a non-RPG shooter, though.

      Before deciding it was a waste, you might want to try playing it.

    • Iskariot says:

      @ Oak

      Well, I am not interested in online multiplayer at all anymore. I avoid online communities. I do not enjoy the social aspect of it. To much hassle. Even in real life I avoid fellow humans as much as possible. I own several excellent games with a strong online multiplayer component (even StarCraft 1 and 2, The unreal and Quake games etc.), but I do not even consider playing online. The last time must have been at least 10 years ago with one of the Unreals.

      I was drawn to this game because I am a sucker for design and architecture and concerning that the force is very strong with this one. But I have no use for a game like this. But these screens make me drool.

  15. Rei Onryou says:

    If you click on the pictures
    Within your own strictures
    Then before your eyes
    They’ll become full size.

    John’s on fire today! Somebody get an extinguisher ;)

  16. Vagrant says:

    I read an interesting article on I think Gamasutra last week talking about how we are going towards a market that can only support indie games and a handful of AAA releases. Brink is, to me, the posterchild of this sad state.

    But, honestly, it’s a legitimate issue. Why would you spend $60 consolebucks for a Brink when you can get the latest big-budget release from Activision or EA? There’s always a lower pricepoint, but that devalues games in people’s minds (which was the problem to begin with), and probably couldn’t have supported the development budget anyways.

  17. matrices says:

    Is this supposed to be an ironic commentary by the devs on how few people ended up buying their game?

  18. Daz says:

    Insert joke about nobody playing brink any more, hence the empty environments :D

    Shots look sexy as hell though, one thing Brink got absolutely right was the artistic design of its maps, they felt so round, smooth and natural to look at. Anyone who has ever used an editor for a id tech game knows that that can be quite a feat to pull off, maps for those games typically feel very square and “on the grid” even when using curve patches.

  19. BloodPukeSalvation says:

    brink the 75% off sale on steam please

  20. Brutal Deluxe says:

    I’ve only dipped a toe into Brink thus far. ATM I don’t see any point playing multiplayer until I get to grips with the mechanics and level up some. The difference between playing the game at level 1 and then at level 6 or 7 is incredible.

    But will anyone actually buy this DLC?