Dirty Bomb is an Overwatch-esque* TF2 clone in perpetual Open “we’ll take your money though” Beta. It features fast gunplay, pseudo-Titanfall maneuvering, overpowered abilities, and a large roster of $9.99 characters.
I only became interested in Dirty Bomb after the recent Humble Bundle was offering multiple character unlocks and 50,000 points (enough to unlock another character) in the $1 tier. Now that I have around 10 hours invested, I can perhaps see this game as being a stopgap FPS solution to my Overwatch itch.
There are some interesting things going on in Dirty Bomb. Before heading into a match, you have to lock-in three Mercs – while you will be free to swap between them mid-match, you cannot select any others. Running speed is affected by your currently equipped weapon ala Counter-Strike, so running around with knives out is the best way to get around. There is a limited amount of wall-jumping and various “long-jump” shenanigans.
One of the mechanics I enjoy a lot is the downed state. Basically, when you “die” you really fall to the ground and writhe around until the wave-based respawn timer triggers. While on the ground you can be revived by any character if they spend 5ish seconds holding F down, or instantly by any of the Medic class abilities. The other team can prevent a rez by finishing you off, either by pumping more bullets into your prone form, or landing a melee hit. I enjoy the tension in the choice to finish someone off, as bullets are in short supply (you basically have 2-3 clips unless you have an Ammo guy on your team) and splitting your attention in the middle of a firefight can be deadly. Do you finish that guy off, or try to take out more people and risk a Medic zipping in and instantly reviving him?
There are some shortcomings in Dirty Bomb. First, the game looks like it came out in 2010. While that does ensure that it’s playable on a number of PCs, the lack of production values of almost any kind makes me leery of “investing” in expanding the roster. Not necessarily in the money-sense – if you only play with Missions up (which reset every 3 hours), you can unlock a new Merc every ~10 hours of gameplay – but in the time-sense.
Second, the game feels unbalanced all to hell. Nowhere is this more evident than in the “Execution” mode, which is essentially Dirty Bomb pretending to be Counter-Strike… with a grand total of two maps. With respawns disabled, it becomes very evident that the characters with airstrike and orbital laser bombardment abilities are far and away better than more generic characters, in the sense that they can one-shot most everyone.
Overall though, Dirty Bomb is fine for what it is: a F2P FPS distraction. If you are like me and have zero interest in trying to get into TF2 after nearly a decade of updates and uber-veterans, you could probably do worse. Maybe. Whatever, it’s fun.
* Obviously Dirty Bomb came out before Overwatch, so it’s not technically Overwatch-esque, but you know what I mean.
Prisoner’s (Gaming) Dilemma
BINGO was postponed for a week, but I’m not even mad. Seeing the shit Blizzard is getting on the forums every time they introduce another flying mount is payment enough. For now.
Let us set that aside for a moment.
So I was presented with two hypothetical scenarios over the weekend which I found interesting for reasons. The first one was this: you’re going to jail for ten years, but it’s a minimum security prison that will allow you to take one offline game (any DLC included) with you. But that will be the only game you get for those ten years. Which game do you pick?
The second scenario is similar, but this time it’s life in prison. For some insane reason, the Warden will allow you to take any three games and allow an internet connection. The parameters did not specify whether future DLC or microtransactions will be free for you, but let’s assume you can make enough money stamping licence plates to cover, say, $30/month. Which games do you pick?
The answer to the first scenario was pretty much unanimous amongst my fellow hypothetical jail mates: Minecraft. There was a Skyrim holdout in there, but ten years is a long time and I don’t think mods could extend the attention of even the staunchest Skyrim fan that long.
The second scenario answer was more diverse, with my friend solidly in the Destiny camp (which is his current console mini-MMO game of choice). Mine was more blunt: World of Warcraft. Yes, even with bile I feel towards Flightgate, I have to admit that WoW is a game A) most likely to still be around and supported for decades to come, and B) one offering the most diverse playing experiences. In other words, you could spend a lot of time getting real good at raiding, master it, and then set off to roll the boulder up the PvP hill and feel a difference.
I found my own responses interesting primarily because I don’t particularly like playing either of them. The last time I seriously played Minecraft was before they introduced the Hunger meter; it may not have even been out of beta yet. I am still “playing” WoW currently, but it’s in the same way I play Clash of Clans: short bursts of activity to kill time, because apparently I’m going to live forever and have no standards. Or perhaps it’s because if I devoted the whole of my free time to one game, I’d probably clear three games a week, and the corresponding post-game depression phase three times. No thanks.
Still, what does that really say about me, and presumably us, that we aren’t simply playing these games full-time? That we could conceivably be playing them for 10+ years, but would rather not to? Obviously the intensity of a novel experience is higher with new games, so it makes sense that we enjoy playing the newer ones more (at least for a while). But here are these other games which clearly are mechanically superior in a replayability sense and we, or I, don’t seem to care. Until we’re in jail, anyway.
In any case, I’d be interested to hear other peoples’ choices in these two scenarios. For me, it’s Minecraft for the first, then Minecraft, WoW, and Counter-Strike for the second. I thought about swapping Magic Online with Minecraft in the second set, but the $30/month limit, while arbitrary, still wouldn’t cover hardly any reasonable amount of gametime.