Dirty Bomb at its core is a first person shooter that’s trying to blend so many things into one, in some cases it feels a little like Team Fortress 2, in others like Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and finally a dash of shooters like Call of Duty are thrown in there, and while this blend of styles works well, it just doesn’t scream loud enough in an already crowded market.
The game itself is a pretty well rounded title, with various customisation options in terms of controls, and even controller support if you really fancy it. It excels in offering addictive gameplay which, no matter how bad your doing, you’ll just want to come back for more.
It also offers charming aesthetics and some pretty swish looking environments all set in a broken-down London. For its namesake however, it doesn’t actually feature too much of a threat of dirty bombs, in fact, there’s very little in the way of chemical warfare in Dirty Bomb, which I found pretty odd. Don’t get me wrong, there are the odd corridor or two which has poison gas, but nothing that can’t be avoided.
Where the game really stands out however is that it’s a free to play title that’s very much a modern shooter. Sure, you have game’s like Blacklight Retribution and CrossFire, but they can at times feel like a free-to-play title. This however feels a lot like a AAA title with some limitations.
Those limitations however aren’t frustrating as they only consist of character cards with further improve on, or unlock certain abilities for the various characters in the game. This is where the free-to-play stuff comes in by the way, as from the beginning you’re stuck with a handful of characters with others needing to be unlocked either with real cash or in-game cash, which I might add is pretty easy to come by.
Each character in Dirty Bomb comes with their own set of weapons or attributes, there’s no custom classes, just different characters. Players can choose to take three of these characters into their game, so depending on whether they want similar characters with different abilities, or a complete set of characters with different weaponry, you can do that. It takes some experimenting with characters to truly find ones that suit your play style, but once you do, you can start looking for cards to further improve their abilities and weaponry.
So, back to gameplay. While Dirty Bomb is in public beta, the game has essentially “launched” sure, there are a few bugs and a few features missing, but ultimately anyone can jump in and play the game and get the full experience. There are currently a handful of different game modes, one of which requires the player to transport a vehicle with two EMP bombs inside, from one side of the map to another, similar to the Payload game mode in Team Fortress 2.
Other modes consist of planting or protecting bomb sites, all while fending off the onslaught of the enemy.
Games themselves are quite fun as they don’t last for too long meaning you’ll be wanting more when the whole thing comes to an end. But wait, have you just been handed a supply chest of some sort?
Yep, to reward your efforts in the game, you’re often thrown an Equipment Case, similar to the Supply Drops in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, what this does is simply offer you a raffle of sorts that rewards you with a random character card. These cards however have different values with Cobalt being the best, usually offering a better equipped weapon or some pretty top-notch perks.
I wouldn’t know first hand however, as I’ve never been lucky enough to get one. So bleh.
Another pretty impressive element is how Splash Damage has managed to create a community of players who actually want to work together. There’s no lone-wolfing here, as you’ll come out worse off. In Dirty Bomb players are rewarded with XP for remaining in a team working together on an objective or taking down an enemy. Sure, you can wander off yourself, but chances are you’ll be mowed down the second an enemy spots you.
If you do go down however and the enemy is focused on their surroundings rather than your flailing body, you can get revived by your team mates. It’s only if the enemy decides to pop some more caps in your ass or more aggresively, turn your head into mush with a cricket bat, that you’ll be required to wait until the next respawn wave.
All of these elements however are mixtures of features, quirks, and other things from shooters that already have a pretty hardcore fan base, which in theory sounds great, but sadly it doesn’t help Dirty Bomb with its own identity. In fact it feels so much like the other games, you’d most likely rather play those than Dirty Bomb, which is a real shame.
As the game is in its open beta period many things could change when it rolls its final release. Tough the game as a whole is so far pretty playable, and even the more experimental parts of the game are stable enough to played without any bugs.
Overall the game nails the fundamentals to make a good shooter, it’s a hell of a lot of fun too especially if you’re in a team that communicates or with your friends. At the same time however, it’s really fairly unremarkable compared to some of the other popular shooters that it borrows some of its ideas from.
Does that mean that I’ll stop playing? Absolutely not. If you’re looking for a not-so-serious shooter to blast a few hours of your time, then I’d definitely recommend giving it a whirl, I mean, it’s free after all.
If you’re looking for something to replace the days you’d spend glued to Counter Strike, Call of Duty, or Battlefield, I’d probably keep searching.