Dirty Bomb is a free to play multiplayer class based shooter that has a variety of unique mercenaries to play as, two game modes to play, and 5 maps to play on.
The characters that you will be playing as are mercenaries that focus on different styles of combat, ranging from medics that can go around and heal/revive people, supports that can drop ammo and send down air strikes, and various assault classes that use big guns and explosives. While some mercenaries seem similar to others, the main thing that separates them from each other are the abilities that they have. There are three medics that can heal and revive people, but one heals with a deployable healing station, two can throw med packs, two use defibrilators to revive people, and one has a unique revive gun that can either damage enemies or revive fallen allies from long distances. Each mercenary also has their own speed and health stat, and the more health one has, the slower they will move.
Mercenaries can be equipped with loadout cards that can change the weapons they use, grant them up to three passive perks, and even change how they look in the game. These loadout cards are obtained by opening loadout cases that can either be bought or found while playing the game. They are all preset loadouts, which means you can’t entirely customize them, and instead must choose the loadout card that suits you best. Most perks can appear on every mercenary, while others are unique to certain types. Some examples of perks include being able to hear important noises easier, supportive abilities cooldown faster, and melee dealing more damage. While loadouts can change the weapons that mercenaries use, there are still some limits since you will never see sniper rifles on a medic for example, rather an automatic weapon being traded for a gun that only does burst shots. There are some very rare loadouts that do nothing more than making the mercenaries look nicer, and give no additional bonuses to the ones that lower cards can already grant.
There are only two modes available to play, but more will be coming. Even so, both modes are essentially the same since one just has both teams attacking and defending until a team is declared the winner, while the other mode is the same thing but the teams will swap when a team wins the first time, then the second team has to do the same thing but faster in order to be considered the overall winner.
Five maps are available, and just like modes, more are coming. Each map has its own gameplay setup for it, unlike most shooters where maps can work for many different modes. Each level has 2-3 objectives that one team must do while the other team tries to stop them. Objectives include repairing and escorting a vehicle through the map, planting and diffusing C4 charges at key points, and grabbing and delivering objects from one point to another. There are also sub objectives that surround most objectives, such as generators that can open or close a door that can be advantageous to one team, while hindering the other. Every map has tons of routes and almost no dead ends, so it is hard to be stuck in a bottleneck and there are almost no safe places to huddle in and be protected by walls on all sides.
Whether or not you like playing shooters online with other people will be the biggest deciding factor to determine if the game will be too hard for you, but it is safe to say that Dirty Bomb requires a little more out of its players than other shooters. There is a ranked mode that sounds like it would only be for serious players, but when the game is finalized and more people are playing, it should accurately pair you up with players of the same skill level. Games in Dirty Bomb can last as little as 5 minutes if one team is much better than the other, and up to 30 minutes if both teams have a hard time during the stop watch game mode.
The skill level of Dirty Bomb is between Call of Duty/Battlefield shooters, and arena shooters like Unreal Tournament. There is even a competitive mode where it gives you a rank to help place people in balanced games, and rising to the top is something to strive for.
Since it is a multiplayer only game, it will last you as long as you stay interested in it. Apart from that, the length of the game would be how long it takes to unlock every mercenary to use whenever you want. The first mercenary takes 10-20 hours to unlock depending on the cost of it, but after that, it can easily take twice as long to unlock additional mercenaries since the credit boost from leveling up takes a lot longer to happen. A good estimate for the “length” of the game is 400-500 hours, depending on how many bonuses you earn while playing, as the amount you earn from simply playing isn’t a whole lot.
Mechanically, the game is pretty much complete, but it does lack content since there are only two modes to play, and 5 complete maps to play on. You can expect to see many more mercenaries and maps to be added to the game, along with general changes in all areas. The graphics are fairly high end and equal to most big name modern shooters. While the world detail is standard, character models are excellent. Even so, the game runs very well when most settings are maxed out, though you still need a fairly high end computer to get it to run with the best visuals.
As with most shooters, there isn’t really any music except for in menus and before/after a match. There is however a good amount of sound effects in the game, and many of them can even help you with playing the game, especially when you have loadouts that even increase the volume of key elements, or cause you to move around more quietly. Each mercenary is voiced for when they do certain actions, or when you select a voice command for them to say to the team.
I really liked Dirty Bomb while playing it, especially when both teams were balanced instead of one team obviously being better than the other. Supporting classes, especially medics, are the ones that I usually play in multiplayer games, and I liked the ones in this game.
The only thing that I think really needs to change is balance of some of the classes. It is actually nice that most mercenaries are really strong so they stand out from each other, instead of just being a character using a different gun that does the same stuff as everyone else. Most mercenaries are strong, while there are only a few that are either too strong or too weak, and it should be easy to figure out a balance plan for them. The classes that can call down different types of aerial strikes aren’t too strong on their own, but it becomes crazy when one team is mostly comprised of them, especially when you’re needing to escort a vehicle that gets blown up instantly every time you try to repair it. One thing that seems to affect all classes is that everyone seems to die too fast, especially when it feels like even the biggest and strongest mercenary dies from not much gun fire.
Dirty Bomb is free to play with a few different ways to spend money for in game things. Other than the in game store, there is an ultimate starter pack that can be bought through Steam for 30 dollars that includes 5 mercenaries, 50k credits, and 2 elite loadout cases.
If you aren’t wanting to spend money on anything, most of everything can be acquired by spending credits accumulated from playing the game. Simply playing the game will earn you a small amount of credits that is mostly based on how long the match lasted, which is roughly 800 credits for one hour of play time. Each day also has three bonuses that can be earned by winning and simply playing each of the game modes once to earn 500 credits a piece. There are also missions that refresh every 3 hours that can also be completed for bonus credits, ranging from 500-1000 credits each, and they require you to do things like simply play with a mercenary in your squad, complete certain game modes, or earn a certain number of points. Every other time that you level up your profile you will get about 10k bonus credits as well.
Credits can’t be bought directly, but boosters can be bought to double the amount of base credits you earn from playing, which means bonus credits won’t be doubled. Their prices range from 3 to 8 dollars, and they last 6-18 hours of actual gameplay time, which means they won’t expire if you’re not playing the game. At first these boosters sound nice since who doesn’t want double credits, but when you do the math, you’re almost paying 2X-3X more for characters in boosters to collect credits for them, than to just simply directly pay money for them. Why spend more for boosters than the cost of a mercenary, and be forced to play hours and hours, when you could just buy the mercenary you want for less and be playing them immediately? Boosters might make sense when you need credits for common loadout cases since you can’t buy them with money, but once again, spending a bunch of money on elite cases will be cheaper and reward you much better than getting boosters and playing the game for hours.
Additional mercenaries will cost from 30k-50k credits or 6-10 dollars. It took roughly 20 hours to unlock my first 50k credits mercenary, and that included playing the game a lot, completing multiple sets of hourly missions, getting the daily bonuses, and multiple 10k credit bonuses from leveling my account. Since leveling up becomes much slower after the first few levels, relying on them for credits isn’t feasible after the first mercenary that you unlock, so it will probably take twice as long just for another character.
The only pay to win aspect to the game is the fact that you can’t play as every mercenary from the start, but you don’t really need to since most are already strong by themselves and you can only take three with you into a game anyways. Loadouts are another thing that seem pay to win, but after just playing the game for a little while you will most likely have found a good loadout for your favorite character, and even if you haven’t found one, you can directly buy one fairly cheap with credits or money. There are of course rare and flashy loadouts, but they do nothing mechanically and just make the mercenary look cooler.
Overall, Dirty Bomb isn’t much different than most other free to play shooters in terms of paying for stuff. It takes a very long time to unlock characters, but it isn’t an issue if you don’t mind not having a big selection of mercenaries to use. Boosters make collecting credits go faster, but they’re just not worth it when you can spend less money to immediately unlock characters. The game itself is fun and the only real issue it has is balance, but that is something that can easily be fixed during the beta period. If you’re a fan of class based shooters, there is no harm in trying the game out especially since it is free.