Let’s get one thing straight. Dirty Bomb ain’t easy to get a hang of.
Indeed, Splash Damage (Quake Wars, Brink) have created an FPS so visually similar yet entirely different to most titles in the genre that you’d be a fool for walking in with your Call of Duty swagger. The very tutorial warns you that “it won’t hold your hand, it will more likely kick your teeth in.”
Now in open Beta, Dirty Bomb throws you in a post-apocalyptic London where mercs wage war against one another to gain monetary rewards. Choosing 3 of 5 playable characters to take into your match (12 will be available when the full game arrives), Dirty Bomb requires teams to complete a set number of objectives in order to win in a glorified team deathmatch environment.
Equipped with unique perks and skills, each character plays a significant part in your success. Skyhammer for instance can call upon airstrikes to flush enemies out of cover (or blow them to kingdom come) while Aura can lay down some medical assistance for the team. You can switch between your 3 selected mercenaries each time you die (which for me was a butt load).
Each map sees one team working to complete up to 3 objectives while the opposing team simply tries to stop it. Each map offers up different goals. The trainyard for instance has you attempting to topple an armored train carrying data cores off of a bridge while a helicopter waits to extract them.
On the Chapel, you’ll need to utilize emp charges to wipe the data off of heavily fortified servers. Its nice that each map includes varying ways to complete your missions as it breaks up long stretches of gameplay.
Dirty Bomb is a free download but there are in-game purchases, as one would expect.
Completing matches and objectives earns you credits which can be used to upgrade your characters with weapon loadouts, skins and augmentations. It takes a hell of a lot of grinding and the expectation might be that players will use their own cash to progress. Time will tell if this takes off.
Dirty Bomb is not for the faint hearted. Its fast, frantic and you better hope your trigger finger is quicker than your adversary or that you have a medic handy because you’re not going to be given any free rides. It’s an impressive game and its promise of taking online shooters back to their roots are certainly exemplified here.
The free open beta for Dirty Bomb is available on Steam now.