Dirty Bomb Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Dirty Bomb Review



In entertainment media, America is always getting destroyed. Different parts are targeted, sure, but it always comes back to hitting our cousins from across the pond. New York seems to bear the brunt of it, with The Avengers, The Day After Tomorrow, Cloverfield, Independence Day, I Am Legend; the list practically never ends. San Andreas seemed to get a little in the recent film of the same name (side note: don’t recommend seeing it – it’s just one painfully contrived coincidence after another). The same can be said for games. Many games are set in America, especially open world sandboxes. In these, the player is practically the disaster since they can go around and systematically screw everyone over who even looked at them the wrong way. But what’s this? Dirty Bomb is a game set in England? Well, London, to be specific. A war-torn, irradiated London with mercenaries blowing each other away, but London nonetheless. It almost makes me want to bust out some tea and crumpets in celebration.



So yes, Dirty Bomb. A team based game in which mercenaries of varying skills and abilities battle it out to complete or defend objectives. Each character has their own kooky personality, traits, and accents, differentiating each other effectively. And I can’t think of a good Segway, so I’m just calling it out: The developers, Splash Damage, once worked on another title with similar gameplay. You may have heard of it, it was called Brink. Now Brink was a little bit of a broken, messy disaster when it first came out. It didn’t help itself by immediately calling itself a rival to Team Fortress 2, which went as well as the new weedy kid at school challenging the biggest guy in the playground to a fight, in a misguided attempt to assert his dominance. Splash Damage seem to have learned from their past mistakes and have worked to make Dirty Bomb a pretty fun game.

As stated before, Dirty Bomb splits players up into two teams. One team defends the objectives, the other team has to attack the objectives. These can range from blowing up a generator to blowing up a wall, blowing up a set of controls, or blowing up an entire building. In fact, there isn’t much variety there. Whether it’s the first, second or sometimes third objective, players will be detonating something. The most fun objective to attack and defend are the EV trucks. Attackers must escort it by walking alongside or mounting the turret while defenders need to disable it. Once it’s disabled, the defenders need to keep it disabled while attackers have to repair it. It’s strangely satisfying to call in a tactical nuke to blow the repairers away, especially with the fact that they get a warning before the explosion. Now, let’s talk classes.

There is a total of 12 classes, each sporting different weapons, speeds, sizes, and abilities. Some are incredible, but extremely dependent on the map, while others can be universally used if a little less spectacular. Their weapon also scales to how effective or potent their abilities are. Take Skyhammer, for example. He’s easy to use mercenary that everyone starts out with. His assault rifle has a high rate of fire but doesn’t do much damage per bullet. To counteract this, he can throw a grenade/marker that detonates, dealing splash damage to all around him. This in turn summons a drone to carpet bomb the general area. Sounds like a fair trade-off to me. On the flipside, Vassili has a sniper rifle, which is about as powerful as you imagine. One headshot, you’re dead. However, this has a very low fire rate, and his only ability is to throw a non-lethal grenade that reveals the locations of players that walk into its vicinity.


Great! I don’t even own that mercenary.

Some classes actually get two abilities. Skyhammer, for instance, can also throw ammo packs at friendly players. This type of team play is both common and greatly rewarded, depending on how much the friendly player needed assistance. Let’s say that you took an enemy player’s health from 120 to 0 by yourself. You get 120 XP, congratulations. But if you provide ammo to someone who’s on their last clip, you can get about 100 XP. Since throwing one close ranged ammo pack is easier than shooting an enemy player who’s also shooting back, it’s about 10 times smarter to keep an eye on and support your team. Plus, bullets are somewhat important in a war zone, so you’ll be doing them a solid too. Players who think they can one man army themselves to victory aren’t exactly punished, but they will end up doing much worse. Small bonuses are awarded for players who stick together, which again reinforces the importance of teamwork. 4 mercenaries against one moron who wants to Rambo himself to the objective means the odds aren’t on the moron’s side.
The movement feels great. Running and gunning is advised, to keep up with the pace of the game. Unless you’re playing as the sniper, there is rarely a reason to aim down the sights. It slows you down, and hip firing is surprisingly accurate even at long range. Wall jumping is also a thing, in a very Titanfall feeling manner. You can gain some extra air bouncing off the wall, which will give you access to some hard to reach areas for a tactical advantage. Keeping mobile in close quarters is the key to victory. Plenty of times you’ll be toe to toe with an enemy, and so you have to run, jump and wall jump around like a cartoon character to outmaneuver your foe.

With all that said, however, there is some bad. There’s barely any music at all, not counting the menu and lobby music. Sometimes a little inspiring ditty will play towards the end of the game, but that’s about it. The maps range from passable to shoddy. There are some obvious chokepoints where groups players just shoot at each other and hope the enemy fall down first. The loadout system is perhaps the worst I’ve seen in all shooters ever. Basically, as you play the game, you can unlock cases. These cases contain loadout cards, which have a certain set of weapons and passive attributes bound to it. You then equip these to your character before entering a match, and off you go. However, these cards can’t be altered in any way at all. And on top of that, you can’t actually choose what character receives the card. So you can receive 5 cards for classes you haven’t even unlocked yet. Sort it out, Splash Damage.

And finally, the game is free to play. Nothing wrong with letting the masses play it. What is wrong is making sure that any progression is slow as hell. Let me put it this way: I could kick all kinds of ass in a match, and earn about 300 coins. 300 coins per match, got it? Now when you earn on average 300 coins per match, yet each character costs a whopping 50,000 coins, you know there’s a problem. A big stinking, free to play problem that calls itself (say it with me) “Microtransactions”. God I hate that word so much. “Free-to-Win: Totally free to play and, more importantly, free to win. It’s all about playing well as a team and mastering your Mercs and their abilities, not the amount of money spent.” That is a direct quote from the Steam page. And while it’s true you can be good with the Mercs you’ve already got, answer me this: if it’s all about the game, and not about how much you spend, then why is there an “Ultimate Starter Pack” available for purchase for £22.99?!

In short, Dirty Bomb is fun. It’s very fun, in fact. A lot of potential hours of fun. But if you expect to play any other characters than the ones it provides in the beginning, or the mercenaries on free rotation at that time, then be prepared to grind. A lot.