Quick & Dirty: A First Impression of Dirty Bomb

I finally received a beta key for Splash Damage’s Dirty Bomb and was able to peruse the menus and play a single game of Objective mode. There are many aspects I enjoyed, many carried over from previous titles, but there are some new additions that I either have mixed feelings about or feel are a step down from Brink.

Most of the combat feels good, which is a staple of SD, though I’m sure the new speed of the game will be a divisive feature. For those who enjoyed the slower pace of the Enemy Territory series, stay far away. Even Brink feels slow compared to Dirty Bomb. The weapons are all pretty powerful as well, making the game more unforgiving than initially expected. Most kills occurred seconds after being spotted, sometimes without even having a chance to react. Even swapping weapons is done extremely quick and, while it matches the game speed, something about the animation seems really off to me. I think it has to do with the action lacking weight, but I haven’t pinpointed the exact aspect that breaks the illusion yet. I’m also a tad disappointed with the removal of SMART from Brink. The speed of the game feels a bit clunky without the smooth obstacle traversal. The wall jump was kept but for some reason the slide and vault were removed.

I played one map in Objective mode so this isn’t conclusive in any way, but Dirty Bomb feels like a more contained experience than previous SD offerings. The 5v5 setup is much smaller but handles well due to the drastically smaller maps and reduced objectives. The match I played had the offensive team tasked with planting C4 on a wall. After this wall was destroyed it opened up into a warehouse. Two crates were open on one end and each had to be destroyed with C4. That was the entirety of the match. It lasted around ten minutes and only used bomb/defuse tasks. While this is a far cry from the massive maps in Quake Wars, which required vehicles, even Brink’s levels seem large and more varied. Brink at least had the vertical aspect in their levels with multiple paths for each weight type. Due to this, Dirty Bomb feels like a shell of its predecessors. It lacks a lot of what made them unique, trading that for something a little more generic, a little more safe.

A specific issue I had was with the time limit, which I feel is in need of some massive tweaking. It almost feels like the time given to an objective is copied from older titles where the time to get back into the battle after a death was long. My team was given six minutes to plan the first C4. It doesn’t seem like that long but, given the speed of the game, the distance between spawn and objective is short and I could usually get back into the fight in five seconds. It almost feels like too much time. We failed four really good attempts and got lucky when I was able to sneak around the combat for the plant. The opposing team successfully fended off four semi-coordinated attempts and still lost. If the time limit were five minutes they would have won and it would have felt fair.

I’m hoping to get some more games during the next weekend and I’ll have an in-depth analysis of everything once I get a better grip on it, but so far the game seems lacking. I haven’t even talked about the F2P aspect of buying boosters either. Let’s not forget that Nexon is the publisher and they rarely have consumer friendly F2P systems.

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