Nexon is releasing the open beta for its free-to-play first-person online shooter Dirty Bomb today as part of its big push into Western online gaming.
Online games are an $11 billion business worldwide, and the North American market accounted for $2.1 billion of that in 2014, according to market researcher SuperData Research. Tokyo-based Nexon is a big player in free-to-play online games, but it wants to become a global player.
That’s why it turned to Splash Damage, the maker of titles such as Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, to build its fast-action, first-person shooter game that hearkens back to games where speed and skill mattered.
Dirty Bomb, ahe mercenary-combat shooter, is a big title for both companies as they try to build triple-A games that take advantage of Nexon’s deep experience with free-to-play. It is a modern game with Western-style art. It was designed for esports fans with 5-on-5 and 8-on-8 multiplayer matches that feel a lot like sports events. If you want to thrive here, you have to hone your trigger-finger skills and play dirty.
After months of beta tests, Nexon America is publishing Dirty Bomb as an open beta. I played the game at a preview event, and it was complex and punishing. I was able to get around 15 kills for every 15 deaths in a round, but I was consistently the worst player on my team. Everyone has to run-and-gun, but survival time is pretty low. You won’t be running long distances to get to the action.
There isn’t much of a story. Don’t expect to see Hollywood scriptwriters in the credits. It’s set in London during the “hangover” after a radioactive weapon, or “dirty bomb,” was set off in the heart of the city. The people are gone, but the buildings are still there. Mercenaries go into a radioactive part of the city to retrieve nuclear weapons for their shady clients, who swear they will keep them out of the hands of the bad guys. Following orders from private military corporation bosses, you hunt for goods and rivals in the buildings and subway tunnels. As you rack up kills, you rake in more money, which you can use to buy better gear and decorate your character.
Each character fills a certain kind of class. You can counter each character or weapon in classic “rock, paper, scissors” fashion. The tank character with the gatling gun is deadly, but can’t maneuver as fast as the lightly armed characters.
If you don’t care about the graphics quality, you can dial the 3D graphics back and emphasize speed of gameplay. But if you prefer outstanding shadows and lighting, you’ll see some of that with the graphics turned up. It is designed for PC gamers who play with a mouse and keyboard.