This past weekend Steam offered Brink, Splash-Damage’s less than well received free-running FPS, as a free download for a limited time. I was turned off by the game’s reception at launch and the various issues I had heard about since then, but at the low, low price of nothing, I was intrigued enough to download it and give it a go.
Instead of being just a simple demo, the full game was up for grabs for the limited time offer and I got to try out a whole host of Brink’s gameplay. I was definitely intrigued by what I played; the game’s free-running aspects were great fun to use once I got used to it and the shooting felt tight and responsive. I played through most of the Security side of the campaign with a friend and we had a great time. This is the co-op shooter that I’ve been missing this year and I never would have played it if Steam hadn’t done this free trial.
While Brink has more than its share of problems (I was dropped from servers constantly until I restarted my PC, which magically fixed that issue), I realized that basing my assumptions off Metacritic ratings isn’t necessarily doing me any favors. For most of the games I’m curious but doubtful about I’ll go off a friend’s recommendation, but I don’t know anyone who even so much as gave Brink a sideways glance.
If it weren’t for some extenuating circumstances, Splash Damage definitely would have made a sale with this free weekend. Brink was a lot more fun then I realized and it kind of made feel stupid for disregarding it in the first place.
Did anyone else try out the free weekend and what are your thoughts on Brink? Did it convince you to pick up a copy? Should more games try this method to boost sales a couple months down the line?
One thing that can be a bit unnerving about the way the gaming media conducts itself is when it inadvertently (or purposefully, in some cases) acts as the extended reach of the PR team for a given publisher. In the attempt at being completely objective and unbiased, sometimes it’s easy for the marketing speak to climb into posts or previews of upcoming games, precisely because it’s the only information that’s being made available to the gaming media at the time that it’s covered. You don’t want to make any assumptions, so you go with the answers you’ve been given – which have been carefully constructed by some marketing copywriters.
Like I said, I haven’t been in this position myself, but that’s always seemed to be the struggle from an outside point of view. However, games writer Dennis Scimeca has been in that position, and writes about it over on his blog in a post titled Don’t Look at the Game Behind the Curtain. It’s actually a really interesting look at the trial-and-error process of a games journalist and how he handles different previews from E3. He mainly singles out both Brink and Homefront, two games that turned out to be, by many accounts, mediocre, but received a substantial amount of hype through cleverly designed preview events and trailers.
Personally, I would love to see the kind of “stripped” version of games reporting that he talks about here. Speaking from the experience of walking around on the PAX floor, it’s easy to let the smoke and mirrors cloud the real game that’s being shown. E3, as awesome as it is from a news perspective, has kind of become this huge circus that all the publishers and journalists are playing to. That being said, I still want to go to there.
What do you guys think of this kind of hype? Would you rather see more of it stripped out of games coverage? Or do you like getting whipped up into a fervor and judging for yourself what pulls its own weight? Does E3 excite you or irritate you for this exact reason?
Here’s a new podcast that’s not exactly new, seeing as how we recorded it a couple of weeks ago. That being said, it’s still a hoot. Is that what the kids are saying these days?
We talk about a variety of topics once the cast kicks off, from PSN to Brink and even a bit of the Gears of War 3 Beta, and just how much I want to have its babies. True story. After that, we kick things up a non-Minecraft notch with a game of Either/Or. For real, it’s good times. I only wish you all could join us during these games, because Nick does a great job of picking topics.
Oh, that’s right. You can. In the comments. Join in, dudes.
Brink is a title I’ve had my eye on for quite a while, but there’s been surprisingly few trailers for the upcoming First Person Shooter/free-running game. It’s got all the things I love about current generation shooters: persistent stats, customizable characters, and co-op. The game features something called SMART, which stands for Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain. Check out an example of that in the trailer:
It looks like pre-rendered stuff, but it’s a good example of the game’s art direction. Does this pique your interest? If you do pick it up, which platform will it be for?
The future of PC gaming is something that comes up a lot among the enthusiasts, the media, and even developers. Is it dying, is it going to experience a resurgence, what’s going to happen to the PC? While there are some companies that seem to earn a living just fine by making high-quality PC titles (Valve and Blizzard come to mind), there are other companies that have moved over into console development to supplement their income.
Splash Damage head honcho Paul Wedgewood has a few words to say about PC exclusive development and how it’s no longer financially viable. He maintains that the budget is not there for triple-A quality PC titles which makes it hard to get high-end bonuses like a full orchestra and a rich voice cast. Considering that his studio originally started as a mod house which made “hardcore” multi-player maps for Quake and Wolfenstein, perhaps Mr. Wedgewood is in a better position to judge the future of PC-only development than most people. Continue reading Brink Developers Splash Damage Go Trolling