London Calling: Dirty Bomb Enters Open Beta Next Week

Dirty Bomb [official site] is Splash Damage’s third game building on the wonderful Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, following the so-so Quake Wars: Enemy Territory and Brink. This time, the class-based, objective-driven multiplayer team FPS action is headed to my fair city of London, where the detonation of several dirty bombs means you can walk through Borough Market without having to literally punch the teeth out of slow-walking, backpack-wearing, loud-talking tourists’ faces and keep on punching and punching until the rozzers pull you off and slip you twenty bob in thanks.

What I’m trying to say is, Dirty Bomb will enter open beta next week.

It hasn’t been the most closed of betas, with plenty of give-aways and whatnot (heck, we had one) but all and sundry will be able to play come June 2nd – that’s next Tuesday.

Dirty Bomb will be free-to-play when it launches, with a rotating selection of free classes open to everyone (as MOBAs do) then letting folks unlock new ones by paying with cash or virtual money earned while playing. I heard a few grumbles during closed beta that it’d take ages to save up for character unlocks, but that’s coming second-hand and may have been tweaked over the months. Or maybe it hasn’t. Publishers Nexon are often awful with monetising F2P games. We’ll see real soon, I suppose.

Also, here’s a new trailer explaining what the game’s about:

[Disclosure: I’m pally with a chap from Splash Damage. We once, by chance, found ourselves at the same club night dancing to Spice Girls. I want to say it was Say You’ll Be There.]


  1. skyturnedred says:

    My main gripe is how the class customization is handled. Instead of allowing you to choose which weapons and abilities to use, the game drops loadout cards that changes them for you – instead of getting to choose for yourself. Also, you need (to grind) at least a bronze level card to be on par with others. Also, the interface in the menus is horribly sluggish and it takes forever to do anything, if you even manage to do what you intended. They keep improving it but there still are way too many clicks required to do things. It wouldn’t be such a problem if the menus worked smoothly, but they are so slow and unresponsive that it just becomes tedious.

    That being said, the gameplay itself is as smooth as Pickard’s head, and runs perfectly fine. The shooting feels great, maps are fun and there is enough diversity to keep you entertained so it doesn’t really feel like you’re grinding for that next big thing.

  2. padger says:


    /porn voice

  3. Stevostin says:

    The issue I have with this game:
    – it looks incredibly ugly (also very bland but just the 3D… doh…)
    – weapons seem to have poor feeling.

    Apart from that it seems to be a really nice game, but I can’t get myself to try it.

    • tangoliber says:

      Weapon feeling is really subjective in FPS. Some people prefer guns that feel powerful and kill quickly. Some people prefer guns that allow for long strafe duels and head tracking. I want weapons in other games to feel more like Dirty Bomb…fairly accurate and low recoil but low damage. I f I could, I’d make them even more accurate and lower the damage even more.

      • Stevostin says:

        True but that’s not the only considerations. There are stuff like ironsight fov, smoke and bullet ejection, feeling of impact etc. The real rule is that you need to have a satisfying feel at using them. The sniper’s machine gun in TF2 fits mostly your description. Still, shooting a heavy with it feels satisfying. So there has to be other considerations.

        • tangoliber says:

          To me, the satisfying feeling comes from the mechanics, and the feeling that comes from successfully tracking a fast moving target (and getting a lot of headshot beeps). I think my mind filters out the visual/feedback stuff after a few minutes.
          Something that quickly makes a gun feel unsatsifying to me is having large bullet spread. It feels like swinging a punch and missing over and over.

    • zentropy says:

      The issue I have with this game:

      Just another hitscan machinegun fest, move along… :(

  4. Billzor says:

    Have they kept the parkour antics from Brink?

    • skyturnedred says:


      • wyrm4701 says:

        There’s a limited ‘wall-jump’ to access shortcuts, but it requires practice and is kinda boring. I’d really like to know why they removed the awesome parkour in favour of this.

        • tangoliber says:

          SD’s core fanbase did not like the automated, context sensitive movement in Brink, and wanted something more freeform and skill-based. Here is an example of stuff you can do in DB’s movement system: link to

        • Greg Wild says:

          Honestly, I think it handles movement better. It’s not just “press space to parkour”.

          They could add more stuff to the maps to facilitate more interesting applications though perhaps.

  5. commentingaccount says:


    London calling to the faraway towns
    Now war is declared and battle come down
    London calling to the underworld
    Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls
    London calling, now don’t look to us
    Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust
    London calling, see we ain’t got no swing
    ‘Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing

    The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
    Meltdown expected, the wheat is growin’ thin
    Engines stop running, but I have no fear
    ‘Cause London is drowning, and I, I live by the river

    London calling to the imitation zone
    Forget it, brother, you can go it alone
    London calling to the zombies of death
    Quit holding out and draw another breath
    London calling and I don’t want to shout
    But when we were talking I saw you nodding out
    London calling, see we ain’t got no high
    Except for that one with the yellowy eye

    The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
    Engines stop running, the wheat is growin’ thin
    A nuclear era, but I have no fear
    ‘Cause London is drowning, and I, I live by the river

    The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
    Engines stop running, the wheat is growin’ thin
    A nuclear era, but I have no fear
    London is drowning, and I, I live by the river

    Now get this

    London calling, yes, I was there, too
    An’ you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!
    London calling at the top of the dial
    And after all this, won’t you give me a smile?

    I never felt so much alike alike alike…

  6. wyrm4701 says:

    Dirty Bomb’s very … aggressively average. It’s as though SD looked at the best parts of Brink and said “We need to excise the fun from those bits”. It’s very smooth – they fixed the brutal netcode issues that plagued it’s predecessor – but but it’s really, really dull. They seem to be throwing ‘popular’ ideas at the wall, like TF2-style personality-based classes, and random trading card-based loadouts, and it’s not sticking too well for me.

    The levels look fantastic, though, and are designed very well, with the exception of a few terrible and obvious spawncamping spots (One stage has a perch that lets the game’s sole sniper kill people leaving spawn from half the map away.). But they do look and play great, and that’s just about the only thing DB has going for it.

    The loadout cards are just terrible, and it’s so far a ridiculous grind to unlock other classes. The player has to put too much time into the game before it gets fun. It’s these two things that’re the biggest impediment to my enjoying the game. Having TF2-style classes and customizable equipment is great, unless they’re locked behind a frustrating grind or overpriced paywall. I expect they’ll work out the laughable anti-cheat system, but right now it’s a joke. Aimbot and wallhack abound.

    A lot of work has gone into locking away the fun in Dirty Bomb, and I wish they’d put that time into fixing the issues that plagued Brink as opposed to making this pseudo-tactical shooter clone.

    • tangoliber says:

      It’s main strength is the gunplay, if you like Enemy Territory style gunplay. I think it’s other strengths lie in a lot of subtle aspects of it’s design. It’s not trying to be in-your-face revolutionary, but a lot of thought went into each aspect of its design. It’s the CS: Go of the Enemy Territory genre. Not something new and revolutionary, but something polished, competitive, and extremely satisfying.
      But obviously, you need to appreciate the sub-genre to really appreciate the game. And there will always be hardcore Enemy Territory vets who will think that the devs made too many compromises in trying to modernize it, just like there would always be the hardcore Tribes vets who could never accept Tribes: Ascend.

      • wyrm4701 says:

        We’ll have to agree to disagree. I’ve been a fan of the, uh, sub-genre since RTCW multiplayer, and this just doesn’t do it. Brink’s parkour/bodytype system was an excellent step toward making a fun, unique game. Attempting to be CS:GO with classes is just resulting in another generic and forgettable game. It doesn’t feel very polished, and the heavy pay-to-win aspect seems an impediment to both casual and competitive enjoyment. If anything, the gunplay and levelling system reminds me most of APB:Reloaded, and that’s not a good thing.

        • Orageon says:

          Another hardcore fan of SD’s objective-based FPS games here. Question : can you elaborate about why you think it is so much paytowin ? I have played Dirty bomb for a little while and I have absolutely not that feeling. At least, I don’t feel anything coming from that angle that can ruin my fun enough.
          There are some things that I could say about this game but overall, it is a very good game in my opinion, with satisfying gunplay (maybe some little tweaks could still be needed on some weapons, but overall it is very solid IMO). Also, it is not supposed to be a 1 vs 1 gunfight game but teamplay and objective based. This works well, even if they made all characters suitable to accomplish objectives, some classes are way faster than others and it is a good compromise in my book.
          What I want is maybe a couple more maps, and some tweaks in the GUI and menus (less useless loading times like this ‘deploy’ nonsense, easier to swap teams to be able to rebalance one-sided boring matches, and the Stopwatch which I never ever enjoyed anyway).
          There are mercs rotation so you eventually can play all, and if you like you can buy (they have to earn money EVENTUALLY). I’d say the mercs are too expensive euro-wise though, they should drop to 6 or 7-ish euros instead of 10. And I’d like a package to buy them all with a price comparable to a full non-AAA game, like 35 euros for example.
          If they can recover financially and later come up with another enemy territories, it’s good enough fun for me meanwhile.

          • wyrm4701 says:

            It’s a class-based team game where most of the classes are locked, behind either a paywall or heavy experience cost. Put another way, two teams of brand new players can’t access over half of the base content, without paying money. If they’re looking to build a market in free-to-play for a competitive player base, that’s probably not that way to start it.

            Put even another way, I played almost every day for two weeks and could never play the sniper class….in a class-based tactical team shooter. The notion of ‘eventually’ getting to explore options and compete at the base game isn’t going to draw players in, it’s going to bounce them off.

      • zentropy says:

        At first it seemed like you might of had a good argument, but then you mentioned Ascend…

    • Stevostin says:

      “But they do look […] great”
      Can you you mention one FPS in the last 5 years that doesn’t look better ? Awful, awful lightning, no character shadows, no occlusion, very poor art direction (silhouette, palette anyone ?). Etc.

      • wyrm4701 says:

        I’m sure there’s a long list of games what look better, but I like the environments in DB. They could stand a few tweaks, and the trainyard map is super generic, but they work for me. The truck escort map is excellent, though I think they got that one right out of Brink.

        Also, an empty Borough Market really would be nice, so long as I can still buy candy there. DB should give away candy. Or it should have a Covent Garden level, and when you win, you get a silk tie, a black-and-white photo of Westminster, and some paella.

  7. Lobotomist says:

    Unfortunately the game is very average.

    I really tried hard to like the game. Always felt sorry how Brink failed although I felt it had potential.
    But this game is not bound for greatness.

    Its simplified version of Brink. With small levels. That are surprisingly bad designed.
    And very boring gameplay.

    • tangoliber says:

      I think it fixes all of the problems with Brink.

      Movement is faster and the guns are accurate, making the gunplay more satisfying and skill-based. It removes customization which leads to variety and more interesting weapon/ability balancing in game….it also leads to more transparency in combat (You know what abilities an enemy has based on their skin.) The maps are better balanced, or at least more offensively balanced. In the tournaments so far, teams are setting times as opposed to Brink where there were too many defensive full holds. The engine is a lot smoother. There is first person spectating.

      What did Brink do better? It had some cool abilities that are still yet to be added into Dirty Bomb like turret hacking, caltrops and emp nades. Being able to have a heavy bodytype in any class was fun. The map design was very interesting, although not always well-balanced. Visually, the parkour looked cool, even though it didn’t meangingfully add anything over DB’s current movement system.

      • Stevostin says:

        “What did Brink do better?”

        Not a fan of Brink, but at least the art direction was very impressive.

        • tangoliber says:

          I liked the art of Brink, but ultimately, I really am only concerned with the mechanics. I’d be happy with Wolf: Enemy Territory visuals. I was never impressed by Dirty Bomb’s visuals overall, but it did the job..I can see everything clearly.
          I do like some of the merc design, such as Proxy.
          Since we are talking about presentation, I should note that even if the visuals aren’t noteworthy, I really, really like the voice acting. Gives the mercs a lot of personality. The banter was something that I enjoyed in Brink as well.

  8. Bweahns says:

    I loved the original Enemy Territory mod. I played Brink on a free weekend and thought it was absolute rubbish. They utterly oversold that game and totally under-delivered.
    If this new game is meant to be skill based; I don’t know why they are making people grind to be competitive. A FPS has to be pretty amazing to get me interested these days, this game is not amazing.

  9. Greg Wild says:

    I’m enjoying it so far. The movement, shooting and teamplay focus makes for an enjoyable game. It takes a lot of the good ideas Brink had, but makes them much more streamlined IMO. Particular kudos go to the map designers. There’s much less in the way of awful choke-points like you got in Brink. There’s almost always a route you can take to get the upper-hand. If you can’t, then it’s just that the opposing team is just better than yours.

    However, I don’t really dig the load out system, which is by far the biggest thing I wish it had retained from Brink. Ironically, it’s probably because you don’t have to grind all that much do get a handful of classes that you want to play with. The £15 I paid to play is as much as I’ll ever need to pay at this rate. I’d say they’d be better off making the characters free, and giving you paid cosmetic item drops, basically in the same model as Dota.

    Overall, I can see me playing it for a while to come yet, I just hope that they see the error of making the characters unlocks instead of available for all.

    • tangoliber says:

      I really love that I can press tab and see what mercs my opponents are using.

      If they have a Bushwhacker, then I know I need to check for turrets and key angles…especially on the objective. If they have a Proxy, I know to keep an eye out for mines. If they have multiple Bushwhackers, then playing Nader would be a good counter.

      If there is no Bushwhacker or Proxy, then I know I can be much more aggressive running around while in enemy territory.

      If they have a Vasilli, I need to avoid certain areas, and need to keep him away from certain spots that overlook the objective.

      If they have a Nader, then my turrets and health stations have less value.

      If they have no artillery or nades, then the defense is free to bunch up around the objective. If they have a lot of artillery, then everyone needs to spread out.

      That transparency is really nice.

  10. Cik says:

    Didn’t I l already play the crap out of this? Team Fortress 2