Impressions: Dirty Bomb

Feeling the need for a new FPS to fill your life? Dirty Bomb is gearing up to be another great option for the gamer that doesn’t like to spend too much money. With its FTP option and an increasing amount of characters, levels and modes, the people over at Splash Damage look like they are trying their darnedest to create a solid and full game when it finally leaves Beta status.

The level design is what stands out to me the most about Dirty Bomb. Each level has a great amount of detail put into it with little touches here and there to make each alley, room and building different from the last. They also have a few places that make good use of the ability to use your double or triple wall-jump ability. (I’m getting a good hang of the double jump, the triple is a little beyond me at the moment.) So far the levels have a good enough build quality that stops people from getting into places that one should not… but we’ll see how that goes when it gets released to the masses.

Le sigh... a medics work is never done. I do favor Aura, the medic in this game. She's pretty good all around.

Le sigh… a medics work is never done. I do favor Aura, the medic in this game. She’s pretty good all around.

You may be wondering how Dirty Bomb is drawing you and when the PTW trap is going to spring into action. Well, so far it looks like that issue isn’t going to rear its ugly head. There is a bit of an exp grind, but so far the only useful thing leveling up gets you is the ability to group up with your buddies and jump into Stopwatch Mode together. What can you buy then? Well for now you can get a few characters and 35k credits for $20 ($40 on release I believe). You can also buy cases that give a chance at random quality character cards which give you different weapon loadouts, special qualities and aesthetics, but that’s with in-game money so nevermind. (Thank you Rune for pointing out my blunder!)

I seriously wish that, while you may be able to pick who your random card is, you could pick the weapon they get as well.

I seriously wish that, while you may be able to pick who your random card is, you could pick the weapon they get as well.

Here’s where a small issues comes up for me. I like that cases can be bought or received from drops in-game after the match is over, the randomness is kind of wonky. You don’t get a choice of every single card in the game. When you open the case you get a random assortment of cards and only one gold card that comes around twice (most likely to end before or just eek by before the spinning stops). So if you dig Nadder, you may not come across a gold Nadder card very often. Then again… it’s random, but the game has no problem giving you the same card for the same character over and over again. (What kills me is if the character bonuses are what I want, but it’s with a gun I hate.) Luckily you can trade up your cards for another random card (for some in-game money of course) for the character of your choosing. So while it may not have the guns or stats you want… it will at least be a character you wanted. It’s a neat way to implement differences in playstyle for yourself (everyone else still seems to run around and kill you so I don’t notice it much in others).

My main issue in the game is the match-making/team balancing and the cheating. Match making doesn’t seem to be implemented at this point too much, but even if it is, you can still swap sides before a match and create what may be an unbalanced team. That goes without saying and there’s not much the devs can do about that other than drop the feature, which would be goofy. I like playing with my buds and I’m sure the rest of you do as well. However, if a match is too one-sided and people leave there is not auto-balance feature either. If three people peace out during a match then you’re just out of luck because you can’t switch teams in the middle of a match. People can join, but I don’t notice that very often. Most joining happens at the beginning of the match and if you’re down three halfway, then you’re probably down for the rest of the match and that can suck a lot.

They keep adding new people to play. I'm not sure how much longer that will go, but I can't wait until they get a super heavy character in this game (I think my bud said his name was Rhino).

They keep adding new people to play. I’m not sure how much longer that will go, but I can’t wait until they get a super heavy character in this game (I think my bud said his name was Rhino).

The cheating is something I haven’t fully experienced until more recently. If it was going on before a few weeks ago, I hadn’t come across it (and I miss those times). Recently there have been a noticeable number of people who just can’t help but get head-shots. There is no reporting someone in this game and I bet there will be no perma-bans by the devs. What’s worse is that the players (on some level) may be OK with it. Now, it could just be that when it’s being done to you, it’s more obvious and you want it to stop. That makes sense. When it’s your team that has the cheater, you may not notice until the complaints happen in the chat window (if you can play a frenetic FPS and read everything in chat that is…). Only the team with the cheater can vote to kick someone and sometimes people will vote no because they either want an easy win, think it’s funny or simply don’t notice the small vote window in the top-left corner. In one round I played a day ago we tried to boot someone and it failed five or six times. I just left, I didn’t want to win like that. Someone said that since this is a Nexxon game that there will be an issue with cheating and now that it’s reared its ugly head I guess we’ll see if the devs take it seriously enough. I want to believe they will since some of the players don’t seem to, which is very lame.

Work that D!

Work that D!

This is coming off as rather negative, but I’ve had a fun 32 hours in the game so far and I do intend to play it a bit longer, but I am curious on how they will proceed from here…

PS: Pick a server with low ping, it seriously helps a lot. I’ve managed in other shooters to play in servers with 300-400 ping, but while this game looks smooth with high ping the bullets and other sorts of things do not work like they should. I know that sounds like common sense, but like I said, I’ve played other shooters back in the day with higher ping and didn’t have a problem. Dirty Bomb doesn’t do well with high ping. It’s a good thing there is always another server open!

With great gun-play, level design and characters with different loadouts, Dirty Bomb is looking great. It's a load of fun and neat to see that a team of healers can be a pain in the butt again. Depending on how they handle the cheating will strongly determine the fate of Dirty Bomb. Let's hope they have some huge fix and or plan to implement that will encourage people to play better with each other.

With great gun-play, level design and characters with different loadouts, Dirty Bomb is looking great. It’s a load of fun and neat to see that a team of healers can be a pain in the butt again. The randomness with the cards can suck a lot, but seeing as how you don’t need to have a gold card to do awesome, it’s not too bad. Just keep upgrading those bronze ones mates! Depending on how they handle the cheating will strongly determine the fate of Dirty Bomb. Let’s hope they have some huge fix and or plan to implement that will encourage people to play better with each other. This is a FTP game and that normally does bring in a certain type, but if you can get in free Dirty Bomb is well worth it. Right now you can buy in for $20 and I can think of a lot of other games I’ve spent less on and didn’t have as much fun. At $20, Dirty Bomb is still worth a try.

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Jonathan Amarelo Sig


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