RPS vs Brink: Wot You Thought

Assorted pustules of RPS spent the weekend at the Eurogamer Expo in London this weekend. While we were there, we arranged some characteristically ad-hoc and vaguely inept events for some of the readers who happened to be in attendance, which nonetheless – I think I hope I pray – turned out pretty well. As in, no-one died or suffered catastrophic organ failure, which is forever my personal benchmark for success.

And so it was that, earlyish on Sunday morning, I led a cartel of gun-curious readers past a phalanx of annoyed security guards, and managed to seat them down for a play session of Splash Damage’s Brink before the show kicked off for the day. It’s worth noting that Brink drew by far the biggest queues of the show, with some attendees reporting 2 and a half hour waits. But did the team shooter deserve such patience and passion? I shoved a microphone into the mouth-holes of some of the RPS readers (and contributors) who played the game that fateful morning, and listened to what they had to say about trousers and violence.

Rei Onryou

Who did you do?
The guy I made had a big green Mohawk and welder’s goggles. Tattoo, scars and stuff. He was a medic that couldn’t really stitch himself up well.

I found the experience to be really smooth, worked really well. It reminded me a lot of the original Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, sort of the way it played. It’s infantry-focused rather than vehicles and everything, so it’s really overall smooth, fun to play.

Is you be stoopid?
Stupidest thing I probably did was just walk around in circles not really knowing where I was going.


Who did you do?
The chap I made was a hardnut with a helmet and handlebars. Probably could have been some old school cop.

Very good shooter. Probably would have been better played on a PC, but that’s because I’m not much of a gamepad gamer so my accuracy wasn’t brilliant. And I did get confused a couple of times by the buttons.

Is you be stoopid?
The stupiest thing I did was get confused between the sprint button and the grenade button and not realising until it blew up in my face.

Tom O’Bedlam

Who did you do?
Mine was like if the lovechild of Ray Winstone and Bruce Willis was a Space Wolf.

My main thought first of all was ‘christ, I’m really bad at it.’ It wasn’t until about half way through that I realised, ‘oh, there’s the objectives, there’s lots of buttons I have to understand what they are. And yeah, I did the exact same thing with the sprinting and the grenade thing.

Is you be stoopid?
I saw one red guy standing there and I thought ‘yeah cool’ and I jumped down there and finished him off, thought ‘brilliant’ and turned around to six more people standing in front of me. A bit of a Butch Cassidy moment.

Brendy C

Who did you do?
The guy I was made was a highway cop in every way. So he had the really tight pants with a stripe down the middle, cop shirt, a little bit of bare chest showing, aviator glasses, full helmet…

It went really well, yeah, I was really enjoying it. I thought that the Parkour stuff would get in the way of the firefights but it just turned out to make it a lot more fluid. There were a few times where I running into walls expecting to leap up them and it didn’t, so I probably looked stupid to a lot of people. Anyone who’s saying ‘the NPCs are really thick’, it might have just been me…

Is you be stoopid?
At one point I think I tried to revive someone with a grenade.

Vitamin Powered

Who did you do?
My guy was very Village People, sort of aviator glasses, tight pants, handlebar mustache…

You guys are going to look pretty funny when this piece just says ‘tight pants, tight pants, tight pants…’

It’s how we roll.

It went good. Like a lot of people I sort of sucked at the start, kept dying and then all of a sudden it started to take off. We had this really great run where we just took that little robot and ploughed through. The [SMART] movement is actually really seamless, and you don’t notice it after a while. It’s really good.

Is you be stoopid?
Probably something involving a grenade.

Kieron Gillen

Who did you do?
He looked like the bassist from Zodiac Mindwarp, circa 1991.

It was good, but I think I might have lost the game for my team, by a mistimed frag grenade bouncing back into the place we were trying to defend.

A metaphor for RPS, I think.
Yes. It was good. I enjoyed the running and the shooting. I couldn’t talk to people which was a bit annoying.

Is you be stoopid?
The grenade was a pretty fucking stupid thing. The smartest thing I did was go behind one the turrets. They only face one way is my favourite thing, so you can actually literally stand behind the enemy turrets and just look at them confusedly. I was trying to work out ‘is this mine or theirs? Oh, it’s theirs! I can just shoot it a lot.’

And I also liked the bit where I wore very tight pants, like everyone else.


Who did you do?
I was playing a medic, which was probably for the best considering that I’m rubbish with the little thumb controllers thing. I looked like a daft cop.

It’s gonna take a lot to grok the game fully, which means that you’ve got a fairly high learning curve, but that means there’s a lot to learn in the game so you’re probably going to get your money’s worth from it.

Is you be stoopid?
The most stupid thing I did was at first, playing the medic, I was throwing grenades at the enemy thinking they would damage them, but the medic throws healing grendades… So I don’t know if I was healing them or killing them.

Quintin Smith

Who did you do?
I chose an outfit known as The Eel, which is a cross team between a SWAT team member and a bondage aficionado.

I’m enjoying myself a lot. It’s tight, actually. It’s the tightest game I’ve played at the show so far.

What was the iron quotient like?
Well, everything seems to be made of iron, so I’m actually doing OK for iron. I’ve got an iron gun, lots of crates

And iron sights on your gun…
Yeah! Actually, I tell ya what, this is the most exciting level made entirely of crates I’ve ever played.

Is you be stoopid?
Stupidest thing I did was dropping a flashbang at my feet pretty much immediately, as soon the match began, which I feel is a classic when you’re learning to play an FPS.

Phill Cameron

Who did you do?
He has a very big beard and a cowboy hat and I gave him a boiler suit, but then I was Security not Resistance so I didn’t get the boiler suit. I was quite disappointed.

I get to shoot guys a lot, which is quite good fun. I can lob stuff at them, and then I die. [In the interests of fairness, I should note was hassling Phill as he played here].

Is you be stoopid?
The most foolhardy bit was creating some scaffolding stairs behind the enemy base and then getting killed again. I just snuck around, stole the security escort thing and took it away from the fight.


Who did you do?
He looks like a bit of a deviant, to be honest. Kind of man you might find hanging around in an ASDA car park after hours.

Yeah, it’s very nice. Lovely and pretty, very colourful. Feel it probably owes a couple of tips of the hat to Team Fortress 2, but that’s no bad thing at all. It’s got areally nice team ethic, you really have to co-operate and make the most of your class otherwise nothing really works. It’s got a very nice objective system, everything’s really clean and clear. The HUD’s really nice, nice sort of satisfying weapons. Really enjoying it, although I’m absolutely rubbish at it.

Is you be stoopid?
When I started off I hit the grenade button instead of the sprint button and blew up three of my teammates within three seconds of starting the game.

Lewie Procter

Who did you do?
He’s got glasses and a beard like I do. He’s not quite as muscley as I am, but I did the best I could.

It’s quite good, I’m having fun as a medic, throwing syringes at people. Cos you don’t have to be quite an expert at it, you lock on when you’re holding X and it throws the syringe at them and they use it to fix themselves.

Is you be stoopid?
I managed to slide off the edge of ledge using the SMART into a place where I was surrounded by four of the enemy. Just landed on the floor, died instantly.

Lewis Denby

Who did you do?
I originally made one that looked worryingly like Kieron. Not intentionally.

I like it so far. It took me a little while to get the hang of it, but it’s good. I like the tactical element of it and… [dies] apparently I can’t play and talk at the same time.

Is you be stoopid?
I walked into a grenade that was lying on the floor at one point, despite having been told that it was a grenade.


Who did you do?
I went with the mask, the bug mask, with the armour and spandex.

Yeah, good. It kinda takes some getting used to, because of the SMART system people from the other side can approach from all kinds of angles that you might not necessarily expect. They can go over walls, get around you… And obviously you can do the same, so there’s a whole newer element of thinking to it, think what’s around you, you can’t just camp on one exit or something, there’s always some other way they can come.

Is you be stoopid?
I did die try trying to pick up a turrets a lot.


  1. Antsy says:

    Excellent. I’m looking forward to Brink. With shooters taking a lean towards “gritty” and “real” in recent years I’m really hoping stuff more in the spirit of Action Quake will have a resurgence. Brink seems like a good step in the right direction.

  2. Stijn says:

    It reminded me a lot of the original Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory


    • rhizo says:

      That comment made me quite giddy as well. Not pre-order levels of giddy yet though. Those are pretty big shoes to fill.

  3. Lewis says:

    So me, Brendan and Gillen all had grenade-based issues. Is this a problem with the game, or our lives?

    • Antsy says:

      The game clearly needs a “fall on grenade” key. You can then mask your snafu’s with heroic sacrifice!

    • Lewis says:

      And Danbojones, for that matter. Splash Damage? Your game’s broken.

    • tKe says:

      I think we all had issues with grenades at one point or another…

    • Demon Beaver says:

      Considering their name, “Splash Damage”, it is probably a feature…

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Splash Damage? Your game’s broken.

      Seems like it was fitting, rather.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Oh, no. Totally me fucking up.


    • suibhne says:

      I’m going to go out on a limb and blame the game controller rather than the game controls (or you). As a gamer who plays maybe 80/20 on PC mouse/keyboard vs. console gamepad, I screw up gamepad button presses all the time.

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      suibhne: I was thinking on the same lines. If you canvas PC gamers about their experiences with a console version of a FPS, you’re bound to get control issues mentioned. That said, it still shouldn’t be so easy to accidentally lob a grenade.

      Are they using the standard button for grenade throws, anyone? Is there one?

    • FunkyBadger says:

      As bad as Rainbow Six: Vegas (Nil) where the same button that opens the doors throws grenades?

    • Brendan Caldwell says:

      Yeah, definitely a problem with my grenade-to-face co-ordination, rather than a problem with the game.

    • Davee says:

      If this is the future of infantry combat… Then there will be no need for it…

  4. tKe says:

    It was good fun – well worth grabbing day 1. The depth of the environment, down to the smallest detail, is subtle but just adds to the immersion :)

  5. AzraelXJM says:

    Ha, Was a bit early for me to be answering questions. Great fun and really well presented, the wait for release is killing me.

  6. Kast says:

    One thing I learned from Eurogamer Expo was, in order to play the latest PC games before release I need to learn to use a console controller. As interesting as Brink looked, I wasn’t going to hang around for hours on end only to fumble with the basics of looking and moving.

    That said, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood had surprisingly intuitive controls and I haven’t touched a Playstation controller in many many years.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Brotherhood was my favourite game of the expo, to be honest. As soon as the expo opened I became a Brink-seeking missile, avoiding the queues entirely and getting in immediately on the first run through, but I found it a little disappointing to be honest. It does take me a while to adapt to various FPS, though, and I almost never use a 360 controller these days, so it might not be entirely Brink’s fault.

      The map just felt a little staid. There wasn’t much room to experiment with the slidey-jumpy system because it was essentially a corridor with one jumpy bit. I’ll still give it a go when it comes out, of course.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Brotherhood was my favourite game on show. As soon as the expo opened I became a Brink-seeking missile, avoiding the queues entirely and getting in immediately on the first run through, but I found it a little disappointing to be honest. It does take me a while to adapt to various FPS, though, and I almost never use a 360 controller these days, so it might not be entirely Brink’s fault.

      The map just felt a little staid. There wasn’t much room to experiment with the slidey-jumpy system because it was essentially a corridor with one jumpy bit. I’ll still give it a go when it comes out, of course.

      Brotherhood, on the other hand, was unique and utterly brilliant. Easy to grasp from the first playthrough, easy to play, but immensely clever and deep in terms of the tactics available. And it’s genuinely about the assassinations! It’s everything I’d always hoped AC would be.

    • Lilliput King says:

      What just happened here.

      Also, by commenting again I am only making this worse. I recognise this.

  7. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I’m surprised at how many of you reported accidentally killing yourselves with a grenade; and moreover, how often it happened when you pressed the grenade button instead of the sprint button.

    Maybe TF2’s decision to remove grenades wasn’t such a bad idea after all :)

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      We were playing on 360 controllers with sprint and grenade bound to the left and right bumpers so it was pretty easy to mess up.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Yeah, I screw up left and right all the time.


  8. LewieP says:

    Have to say, this one certainly impressed me.

    After a fairly brief initial learning curve, it’s a joy to be in control of. Probably it’s biggest success is giving you a tonne of different stuff to do inbetween the shooting, whilst still having fantastic shooting.

    The parkour stuff is probably second only to Mirror’s Edge, and the shooting is leagues better than Mirror’s Edge, and probably most other games.

    I suspect this is going to be quite a big hit. The crowds it drew at E2 were in the same league as the crowds from CODs in previous years.

  9. Alexander Norris says:

    This is my current “most anticipated game wot I expect to put at least 300 hours into” and I hate every single one of you.

    The balance had damn well better be perfect, Splash Damage.

  10. Phinor says:

    Well that was different. It’s the first time I have anything but negative thoughts about Brink so you did something right ;)

  11. mondomau says:

    I was casually interested in this until Eurogamer Expo – We queued for 45 mins to see what all the fuss was about and I was utterly smitten.
    Very deep customisation (apart from the fact that every one looks like the Sniper from TF2, facially), well balanced and intuitive gameplay and beautiful audio (the gun sounds are fantastic).

    Please don’t cock this up with a last minute PC release date shafting, Bethesda.

    • LewieP says:

      Splash Damage have been very clear that whilst they are confident that both console versions are going to be good, they are still PC guys. We were playing the PC version (albeit with controllers), and it certainly looked the part.

  12. Nallen says:

    So brink has:
    -Tight Pants
    -The worlds least intuitive grenade/sprint button setup

    Obviously one of these is a boon and the other should be fixed by using a proper input method…unless they map throw grenade to shift…

    • Devenger says:

      I don’t see how tight trousers can be fixed by using a proper input method, and indeed why they need fixing at all.

    • Man Raised By Puffins says:


  13. JB says:

    “RPS readers like tight pants” etc etc.

    I really hope you mean trousers. Really.

  14. drillerman says:

    I took my son to the show on Saturday! I was dissapointed with it. It wasn’t as good as the one I went to in 1992 at Earl’s Court. On that day I bought a boxed copy of Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss.

    The whole thing reminded of a giant HMV shop! I also left my son for a few minutes while I went into the “over 18” bit expecting to see some “Leisure suit Larry” games and other bit of gratuitous porn!
    What did I see: Fallout 8 or whatever it was!
    Also, why are so many fat people at these shows?

  15. AndrewC says:

    I spoke to the lovely Ed Stern at the Friday Meet O Chat, where I could only say that I didn’t play his games because they were too complicated for me, because I am rubbish at multiplayer games, what with all the people trying to kill me when all i want to do is look at the flowers. He nodded in a way that I felt was sage.

    He then spoke briefly about the challenges of creating narrative in a genre where you have no control over pace, which was interesting.

    Then suddenly it was later and I was arguing with someone about something. I don’t know what happened.

  16. Tom OBedlam says:

    Possibly, but, judging from the amount of instructions we were receiving from the minders, we were playing like we had elbows where our hands should be.

    Really good fun blasty shooty stuff. Especially the shotgun. Did anyone else use it? Ever so, ever so killy and meaty.

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      Gahh reply fail, that was @ Lewis.

      Also, sliding. SLIDING!

  17. Sinomatic says:

    I’ve been excited (and ranting to friends) about Brink since I first heard about it way back when….its nice to see a bit of hype building up at last.

    I’m currently saving for a new pc, purely because I want to be able to play Brink and Deus Ex 3 in all their shiny, bloody (or non-bloody/sneaky/hacky in dx’s case) glory. I reckon Brink may well be my TF2 killer.

    Also, I hate all of you lucky, tight-panted bastards.

  18. Tei says:

    Tryiing to play Dead Rising 2 coop is rather hard and sad. So I hope the multiplayer feature in Brink hare nothing like in Dead Rising 2.

    Part of the problem is tryiing to use matchmaking for a PC game. What you see is a screen that tell you nothing about how much servers are available. You press a button, and wait, and wait, and wait… and most of the time nothing happends. I am maybe too oldschool, but I like the old system where you see 3 servers, double click on one, and you enter than one.
    Maybe on the consoles is different, since there are more “servers” available, and the whole experience works better.

    Brink seems tryiing to make a innovative multiplayer, where is smooth to mix coop and singleplayer. But if not special effort is made on make that really smooth, it will not work. Dead Rising 2 also has a “smooth coop”, where you just wait, and maybe some people join your game,, only… no one joins, and If you try to join other people games, is all pain and misery.

  19. figvam says:

    What’s behind the idea of using a console controller to play a PC game? I’m wondering why it wasn’t mentioned in the article.

    • Dominic White says:

      If RPS has taught me anything, it’s that PC gamers can be incredibly picky about their control setups, and will even refuse to play a game if it won’t let them rebind to every key on the keyboard.

      A gamepad bypasses that whole situation by providing a pick-up-and-play control setup that everyone is already used to. Simply put, it makes demoing stuff easier.

    • Fraser Allison says:

      It also makes it easier to grab the control and play the game fairly intuitively. Sure, you get lots of people throwing grenades at their feet, but there’s always an orientation period and these are predominantly PC gamers. Imagine how much worse it would be if a bunch of predominantly console gamers were dropped straight into a live deathmatch using a mouse and 60-button keyboard. Instead of “I chucked a grenade by accident one time” it would be “oooh err I think I formatted the hard drive.”

    • Tei says:

      I have buy a console pad, but I can’t use it. I use to play with a joystick in the C64, but was only one button, this thing as a lot of buttons. Also is weird to me that I have to move my fingers from digital to analogic, again to digital. The console pad feel too me like 2 trackballs dustaped togueter with 24 buttons. The whole thing looks like made in usability hell. *cryiing*

    • Delusibeta says:

      Plus (according to the PC Gamer preview from Gamescom) Splash Damage feels that the PC controls are unoptimised at the moment. The fact that there’s more magazines for consoles than there are for the PC is probably also a factor.

    • Radiant says:

      You can just pick it up and put it down without any questions.
      Not having a bunch of pc heads faff about with the .cfg to get it exact to their requirements I would imagine is a boon.

    • Thants says:

      The idea that a player would be picky enough that they couldn’t play without rebinding all the keys but have no problem using a game-pad for an FPS is kind of baffling. Talk about the cure being worse than the disease!

  20. Pepelusky says:

    Brink: A game about tight pants.

  21. Fraser Allison says:

    I’m enjoyinging the way the questions were asked so that each person’s explanation of their grotesque 70s porn star / Mad Max character is followed by “Wot?” as though Alec is just baffled by this description.

    Quintin Smith

    Who did you do?
    I chose an outfit known as The Eel, which is a cross team between a SWAT team member and a bondage aficionado.


  22. Cyrenic says:

    “At one point I think I tried to revive someone with a grenade.”

    I think we’ve all been there, before.

    • Clovis says:

      Based on the comments after that, I think that would work.

    • Brendan Caldwell says:

      Which makes me feel good about the team mate I hit. And bad about all the bad boys I was lobbing into the enemy. Grenades? Just say NO.

    • Lewis says:

      Walker wasn’t present, unfortunately. But there’s a “terrible healer” joke here, isn’t there?

  23. laikapants says:

    My God, it’s full of stars! Shiny customizable stars. While I do theoretically have plenty to keep me busy until this finally leaps off the development wall, I wish it wasn’t so far off (though I always welcome extra polish). Maybe an open beta soon.

  24. SwiftRanger says:

    “If RPS has taught me anything, it’s that PC gamers can be incredibly picky about their control setups, and will even refuse to play a game if it won’t let them rebind to every key on the keyboard.

    A gamepad bypasses that whole situation by providing a pick-up-and-play control setup that everyone is already used to. Simply put, it makes demoing stuff easier.”

    Rebinding keys only takes a minute or so, it’s silly to state people would refuse to play as most folks only change the same few things every time (like a duck or sprint button). As plenty of the comments here prove, not everyone is used to the control pad to play an FPS, it simply isn’t as intuitive as keyboard+mouse. It’s daft to only offer one control method at these events, period.

    PC Gamer had some serious doubts about the game in their preview because Splash Damage hadn’t optimised the PC controls yet which is why they’re apparently only letting people play with control pads on these events. Let’s hope that the standard control method on PC will be ready at release for Brink…

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      It’s probably worth mentioning that some people had a two hour queue as it’s a good long demo. Sticking in another five minutes while people bind keys would be a bit much to ask.

      Personally I’m considering training my self to use the controller I have because I’m not sure I have enough arms to play Brink otherwise…

  25. ChampionHyena says:

    but Henry Freeman throwed granaid for John Freeman to shot them in faces.

  26. Ziv says:

    Damn. I wan’t excited for brink but I think you just sold me on it…

  27. zornbringer says:

    i was a big wolf et fan and im kinda concerned with the new brink. i really like the art style and everything, but in the videos i saw so far the game seems pretty slow at some points. the hud also needs lots of tweaking imho. i saw lots of flashing when aiming at friendly players and the caption around player should be removed completely, imho.

    everything else is really nice.

    but well, all that melting sp and mp is mostly marketing gibberish. it will be just like every other team/class based shooter. 2 teams fighting each other completing objectives and at the beginning and end theres a small cutscene. thats it. i think fans dont care at all. fans just run the game and join a dedicated server, period. its interesting for newcomers non the less, but in the end its start game, join server, play.

  28. Jakkar says:

    Hrrrm. Envy. But sadly, just another shooter. Once, this would have excited me. These days.. All I can do is sit waiting for the next Planetside, dipping into TF2, Red Orchestra, perhaps this for a few days before the boredom kicks in.

  29. Arathain says:

    “…the medic throws healing grendades…”

    This is so gamingly odd that I’m suddenly more interested.

    • Matt says:

      Global Agenda has healing grenades for the medic as well. (among other ways to heal your teammates)

  30. Zyrxil says:

    So what’s the speed like? Last I heard everyone walked around at Halo rates.

  31. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Sounds good, sounds good. Looks like this might be fun to give a go when it comes around.

  32. Larington says:

    I can’t say for certain if it’s going to be brilliant at release yet due to playing on a gamepad (I’m just not very good with thumbpads, it’s something I’m working on), but I’ll be very surprised if it’s less than good.

    My words got jumbled, but ultimately I was saying that there’s a LOT of buttons, like they’ve used practically every button on the 360 controller as far as I could tell. That has pushed the difficulty curve up quite far, lots to grok, but it’ll also give the game a lot of longevity, it’ll be one of those games with a metric ton of strategy and gameplay guides. It’s not difficult to become competent mind, more of a easy to learn difficult to master kind of thing, that may partly be why lots of folks were going straight back into the queue for a second go. The game is now on my watch list alongside Deus Ex 3, which is pretty good company in gamingdom.

    Also one R. ONE R. ;-)

    • Larington says:

      Also, I forgot to mention a very nice subtle touch, when one of the other player characters communicates a voice message to you, you can hear any gunfire thats going on near to his position (The sound of the gunfire is modified to take into account that its over a radio, so you don’t get confused about the gunfire).

  33. Rob says:

    I’m pretty sure hitting the wrong button for grenades is definitely the players fault. I’m not sure why you would think otherwise.

    • Dominic White says:

      Because consoles. Consoles are always to blame for everything. Ever.

    • sock-eat-sock says:

      Once when I was playing quake live on my pc, a rogue 360 jumped through the window and pressed the grenade button. Damn nearly got me killed. Those damn consoles…

  34. pupsikaso says:

    I’d have asked for a mouse and keyboard if they handed me a controller.

  35. 3Suns says:

    Thanks for the impressions! Lots to look forward to with this game.