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Brink • Page 2

A closer look at the sprinting man's shooter.

But the Agile body type was what I was interested in. Selecting this body type gives your character all the muscle and poise build of a man raised on milk and biscuits. You take a penalty to health and can't even carry the Medium build's array of assault rifles and shotguns, instead being restricted to sniper rifles, pistols and SMGs. The trade-off for all of this is that not only do you run and climb faster than anybody else, you slide farther and can perform wall-jumps.

It's not even a choice. I pick Agile like a drowning man grabbing at a rope, the match begins, and I'm off! Off, into a world of much bigger men with much bigger guns.

The first task for the Resistance team is to gain entrance to this faceless facility, meaning we have to first hack the cover off a door control panel at the far end of a courtyard, plant explosives on it, then protect those explosives while their inexplicably long timer ticks down, with Security forces assaulting our position and raining fire down the entire time.

In short, it's no place for an Agile to be. Spotting a convenient array of pipes and machinery on one side of the yard, I send my fragile avatar catapulting up them with a hop, skip, a prayer and a jump, leaving him high above the combat zone and out of the fire zone. I have no idea where I am, but that's not too much of a problem. With a touch of the d-pad I bring up Brink's objective wheel and the game immediately prompts me with a handful of objectives. Selecting a command post that needs hacking (which would give my entire team a boost to their health) I go sprinting off, stopping occasionally to fire a rifle round into the furious Security below.

3

Blank train timetables are the new lens flares. You heard it here first.

Playing as an Agile is a great way to amplify what makes Brink different. It boosts the game's simple Assassin's Creed / Mirror's Edge parkour mechanics, yes, but since you'll keel over in a firefight like a stalk of corn in a breeze it also encourages you to go off and do your own thing, something Brink excels at. The levels might be cramped in places, but they also sprawl deceptively, with lots of small sub-objectives hidden down shortcuts and up on walkways.

Attacking engineers may find the objective wheel hinting that they repair a staircase, while defending engineers can assemble fixed gun emplacements. Operatives can sabotage enemy equipment. Everybody can capture command posts, or creep their way around to behind enemy lines and open fire at men on the wrong side of cover. It's a lovely sense of freedom, and eases the cruelty of what is otherwise quite a hardcore FPS. If the fighting in one part of the level kills you off twice in a row, there's no need to go back there. You can leave that deathtrap to your team and go hunting a different prize - or you can simply approach the same kill zone from a different angle, or as a different class, or with different weapons.

Back as an Agile, I encounter difficulties as my team starts escorting our important AI prisoner from his cell back to the start of the level. Excellently, in order to sidestep the higher age rating given to games featuring the shooting of unarmed men, a pistol hangs limply from our VIP's arm as he shuffles limply forward.

4

If God is a DJ, and life is a dance floor, and we are the music, the heavy would still be a fat man camping in the corner with an enormous gun. He's that kind of guy.

Filled with urgency, I go running out to join the pack, sliding around and firing my pathetic Agile pop guns at the Security team with commendable enthusiasm, if not effectiveness. It's a slaughter. For minute after minute our medics go rushing out under storms of enemy fire to get the man back on his feet, only for him to topple over just a few feet closer to our exit elevator. I try clambering across the top of the level, but can't find an angle for sniping. I change to an engineer and try dropping gun emplacements, but they're shattered by enemy fire in seconds. I just don't know what to do. I don't know the level, the tricks relating to all the class-specific powers, or quite who to help.

By the time we get the prisoner to the elevator, I'm supping a strange cocktail of exhaustion, elation and disheartenment. I sucked. I didn't even use my wall-jump, except when showing off with a group of other reinforcements on our way back to the action. I want to change that. I want to be among the smartest, fastest and most dangerous gunmen the Ark has ever seen. Just how much depth Brink will offer remains to be seen, but that's still a very, very good sign.

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