What Do We Love About… Dirty Bomb
For our latest “What Do We Love About…?” article we look to Nexon’s free to play MMO FPS Dirty Bomb, a fast paced shooter set in London where players fill the roles of various mercenary characters, each with their own class based skills, and go head to head in team based battles. The beauty of Dirty Bomb is its changing objectives, as players progress through a map the mission will change and so players avoid the tedium of constantly doing the same thing. However, that is but one thing we love about the game, read on to find what else we love!
- Objective Based Matches - Yes we said it once, we’ll say it again, we love the objective focused battles. Team Deathmatches are in general, at least for us, pretty tedious affairs and we don’t really have much interest in them. Dirty Bomb might only offer three “game modes” technically, but the reality is that each individual map is made up of different types of objectives that would traditionally be their own mode: capture the flag/briefcase style missions, defend a point, plant a bomb, and so instead players have MULTIPLE game modes within one match. This method gives a lot more story driven focus to combat, it feels like you are fighting for a particular goal instead of just trying to put points on a board, and it makes the progression of the match very dynamic.
- Level Design - The map design is cleverly done. Combined with the objective focused matches, or more likely because of them, the maps have been meticulously designed to complement these different missions/phases of the battle that players will pass through. There is often far more detail in each map than you are likely to see in most MMO shooters, with detailed internal and external areas and cleverly thought out access points to bottleneck attackers and defenders alike. The shifting progress moves players naturally around different areas of the map where the to and fro of combat and dominance can shift easily and even the attackers getting to the final area and last objective may find the defenders in a much more fortified position for the final push.
- Seventeen Characters - A wide selection of characters with their own unique class skills. This isn’t exactly normal for an MMO shooter, having different classes with their own abilities as opposed to different weapons that change how the character might be played (Dirty Bomb actually has both). Leaning in the direction of a more MOBA-esq character selection feature, players can either unlock their new characters with in game currency or real cash, or they can play them for free if they are on rotation with different characters becoming accessible for a short period of time in a “try before you buy” style mechanic. The different skills completely change from one character to another, whether being able to stealth, call in precision air strikes, plant down turrets or activate huge shields to defend your team, it gives players lots of options.
- Character Switching - Players are able to switch battles during a match. Where other shooters might let you choose a different loadout each time you die and respawn, Dirty Bomb lets you enter a match with three different characters that you can switch between. This adds an exciting element of tactics to the game and you are able to jump into a new role depending on what the current objective is, what your teams composition is, or by identifying particular weaknesses in your team that you might otherwise be able to make up for. Playing solo it gives players variety in a battle, but playing with a group of friends or a Clan then it adds a much higher level of match strategy where players can choose their team characters and compositions based off their own plans on how to win the current objective.
- A Sense of Humour - The game is funny and doesn’t take itself overly serious. Whilst offering a slightly more adult and serious theme, the game has a lighthearted tone to it that is similar to the likes of Team Fortress 2, with everything from its unlikely ragtag characters, their bad attitudes and their bad language, to simply the way it candidly talks to players. In the tutorial video players are guided with how to play the game with tips and tricks, identifying noob tactics and simply saying “Don’t do this, you’ll die”, and even going one further by trying to encourage comradery among the community and outright saying “Don’t be a dick”. Sound advice.
- Loadout Acquisition - Earning viable Bronze level loadouts is actually very easy. There’s a lot of confusion with the game at first sight as to just how imbalanced or “pay to win” it may be and this is due to the system of loadouts. Player play matches to get currency, with that they can buy caches, essentially like a TCG card pack, where they open packs and get random Loadout Cards. These cards come in various qualities, typically not any higher than Bronze, and provide specific weapons and gear loadouts for specific characters (you don’t get to pick and choose). Getting beyond Bronze loadouts (Silver, Gold, Cobalt) is hard, time consuming and expensive (in either in game currency or real cash), and so can seem frustrating and pay to win. The reality is that there’s little to no different to Bronze loadouts in comparison to higher qualities other than cosmetic and bragging rights differences.
- Lots of Potential - The game shows a lot of promise. Whilst not without its own issues here and there, you can tell the AAA quality that the developers are going for with the game, everything from the time spent on characters, levels and even the tutorial and impressive cinematic show that this game is one they intend to keep working on. With more maps the game will grow from strength to strength, but as an open beta it already feels like a fairly polished title.
So that’s what we love with Dirty Bomb, but more importantly what are some of your favourite things? What do you think could/should be added to our list that makes the game great? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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