This Week in Gaming: May 10th, 2011

We go to the Brink, ride the high seas and hit the clay court.

We go to the Brink, ride the high seas and hit the clay court.

Brink (Xbox, PS3, PC)

Price: $59.99 || Official Site

After seriously long delays, Brink is finally seeing the light of day. This dystopian first-person shooter mixes elements of Team Fortress’ player classes, Mirror’s Edge’s parkour and Homefront’s bleak plot in a satisfying way, making it a seriously deep game with many levels of complexity for any kind of player.

Campaign mode will take you through the story of escaping (or saving) the Ark, the last refuge of humanity in a post-apocalyptic, flooded world. So, not exactly an original premise, but the gameplay is tight and fast-paced and the game’s graphics and overall style are a welcome departure from some of the weak, ultra-realistic games of late. Playing your part in the team dynamic is paramount to victory in Brink, so all the lone wolves out there should consider joining a wolf pack if they want to survive the campaign, or get the W in online play.

RPG elements let you tune your character’s abilities up to 11, but Bethesda’s SMART system (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain), responsible for the excellent parkour-like movement throughout the levels, is the high note of all the gameplay we’ve seen so far this year. The bar has been well and truly raised, and pumping out rounds while jumping across rooftops is something we’re pretty much requiring of any FPSer from now on.

Companion Cocktail: Brink’s introductory tutorial runs for an absurdly long time but rewards you with 1000 XP points for watching it – 2000 points if you can finish a 40 oz. before it’s over. Seriously, we promise.

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean (Xbox, PS3, Wii, PC, PSP, 3DS, DS)

Price: $49.99 || Official Site

Lego is to Movie-based games what Domino’s is to pizza – a good but not great safety net to potentially horrible alternatives. Lego Pirates of the Caribbean is no exception and actually goes further than most Lego-fied offerings by jamming the plot of all four Pirates movies into a single game. Starting all the way back when we first met Captain Jack Sparrow in The Curse of the Black Pearl, the game digs into scenes from all the movies and lets you play as all of your favorite characters (our favorite was Elizabeth in her underwear). Gameplay remains consistent with every other Lego game out there, so you’ll find yourself solving puzzles and collecting plastic blocks but you’ll be doing it on the high seas and other fun places like Davy Jones’ Locker. The game does offer the ability to skip through any particular movie plot, so if Dead Man’s Chest blows your skirt up you can skip straight to At World’s End to get down and dirty killing Krakens without delay.

Companion Cocktail: A bottle of Rum, obviously. And a yo-ho-ho.

Virtua Tennis 4 (Xbox, PS3, Wii)

Price: $49.99 || Official Site

The last time a Virtua Tennis title was released, the Wii was still in its infancy. It seems that the motion-controlling world turns slowly and now, four years later, the newest Virtua Tennis is betting the farm that, no matter which system you prefer, you’ll opt for arm-flailing action to comfortable couch controlling. Virtua Tennis 4 brings a more robust player list than ever before and a redesigned player hub, where you’ll make choices that affect the outcome of your World Tour career, or let you find a game online to rise through the ranks of players all over the world.

The game implements motion control schemes on all three consoles. It’s a fun way to play, but it does get frustrating when you realize it limits your ability to freely move around the court. The PSMove implementation fared the best because of its 1 to 1 movement capture, but Kinect’s tennis-with-just-your-hands was a fun novelty: not preferred, but worth trying. As for the Wii, let’s face it: if you’ve played the Wii, you’ve probably played Wii Tennis and if you’ve played Wii Tennis, then you know exactly what any Tennis game is like on the Wii; simple and fun but, much like an elicit photo of your friend’s mom in the shower, not worth spending 50 bucks to get.

Companion Cocktail: Back up a shot of Jameson with the sweat rung from your headband – it’s like a pickleback, only slightly less gross.

Also Out This Week:

MX vs. ATV: Alive

Dream Trigger 3D

Brothers in Arms: The Complete Collection