So my yesterday went something like this. “Oh, hey, Dirty Bomb is in open beta! Nobody is talking about this game, but the people who made Brink are behind it, and the art looks cool, so what the hell, I’ll give it a shot”. Thirty seconds later I’d quit to desktop.

Why? The first time you fire up the beta, before you even get to a menu screen, you’re greeted with this video.

When a game is struggling for buzz and attention like Dirty Bomb is, the last thing it needs is for this to be a new player’s first impression. I can see what it’s trying to do. What it actually comes across as is a tutorial video designed by an energy drink company’s advertising executive. Who hadn’t even played the game, and was working off notes.

Later in the day, I came back to Dirty Bomb, sucked it up and actually gave it a try. There weren’t many players around (a consequence of both its beta status and me being on Australian time), but what I saw was interesting enough. Anyone who has played Splash Damage’s other team shooters, like Wolfenstein Enemy Territory or Brink, will be at home: teams work together to unlock/overcome obstacles and objectives, using different classes of character to get the job done.

What stood out for me was the game’s art—which despite the “gritty” setting has a nice cartoony slant to it, same as Brink—as well as your character options. Instead of choosing one class to play as at the beginning of a round, or being able to swap to anything upon death, Dirty Bomb has you choose three characters before a round begins. Those are then the only three you can swap between during the round.

And...that’s about it. It felt like a competent, harmless team shooter. Nothing to really hate about it, nothing to really grab me, either. Maybe something will click if I can play with more than 5-6 other people at once, so I’ll try and play it at a different time. Until then, it’s in open beta and it’s free, so if team FPS is your thing there’s very little aside from the intro vid that’s going to hurt you for downloading and testing it out.