Splash Damage's Brink is one of those games that will go down in history as an epic failure. It has nothing to do with the actual quality of the game, but everything to do with timing and a clearly over-saturated market. Well, Bethesda is giving gamers another chance to check out the overlooked Brink by making it free-to-play on Steam.
There was no big press release roll out, or hoopla with a high-brow trailer to accompany the news. It was actually just a simple sentence in the news feed on Steam indicating that you no longer have to pay a dime to play Brink on PC. The DLC for the game, including themed content based on other Bethesda properties, such as Fallout and Doom, are still available for $0.99, along with the Agents of Change DLC for $2.99 (although during the free-to-play transition you can get the Agents of Change DLC for 40% off the normal price for only $1.79).
The game itself came out way back in 2011, during a time when every company and its subsidiary was trying to cash in on the first-person shooter craze that had become mainstream thanks to Call of Duty. Every other big game was some attempt at cashing in on the Call of Duty craze, whether it was Operation Flashpoint: Red River or Bodycount -- both of which did not do so well when they came out, forcing Codemasters to abandon the first-person shooter genre altogether -- or Electronic Arts' generic reboot of the sci-fi FPS Syndicate; everybody was trying to get in on that Call of Duty cash.
Heck, even Capcom tried to follow in Activision's footsteps by making Resident Evil 6 more of a Hollywood blockbuster because it thought that mimicking the Call of Duty formula would do the series wonders.
Many of the games that came out back then that were trying to make bank on the FPS genre failed one way or the other. In the case of Brink it wasn't necessarily due to a lack of innovation or game design, though. Splash Damage was well ahead of the curve when it came to pushing the genre forward, where the story campaign centered around law enforcement sent to secure a facility known as the Ark, and a bunch of refugee rebels attempting to commandeer it as a new home. Players could choose which side they wanted to play as, and the campaign mode would unfold based on that decision.
While that sounds like a typical two-sided campaign (where you play as the good and bad guys to get the full story), the real nifty thing about it was that the campaign was played via multiplayer. So each mission involved playing against other players. Instead of just having AI as the villains, you would have to deal with other players also trying to complete the mission and advance the story. Of course, this easily raised the stakes and made Brink a lot more complex and challenging than the average story mode in an FPS game.
One of the major problems, however, was that the multiplayer died off pretty quickly, 30 fps did not work well with the game's intended fast-paced design, and it still had some lingering performance issues that were never quite ironed out from the console version. Luckily, though, if you still want to give Brink a shot, you can now do so for free.