dreadnought impresses with massive capital ship combat pax south 2017
Since the days of Luke Skywalker destroying the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope, we have always enjoyed the imagination of flying a small interstellar fighter and striking the enemy with speed, accuracy, and incredible skill. This prospect has been done in more ways than one in a variety of games, from Elite: Dangerous to No Man’s Sky. DREADNOUGHT doesn’t care about small fighters. It cares about big guns, big ships, and all the available firepower that a massive capital ship can muster. With that at your disposal, some may think this would be a tactical strategy game. However, you’ll be surprised that Dreadnought, is an action space combat game, and the team behind it wants you in the captain’s seat.
Dreadnought had a huge area at PAX SOUTH 2017, and I was eager to play, as I am quite fond of space video games. Over the past year, I played Rebel Galaxy, by Double Damage Games, which put players in charge of a massive capital ship, trekking the cosmos on a variety of missions to earn abundant bounty and survive the vicious enemies on the edges of space. The game was remarkable, featuring massive space battles and a solid control interface.
Dreadnought, while similar, is quite different, as it involves different classes of ships and a new take on capital ship combat. The team behind it is the award-winning studio, Germany-based Yeager Studios. The studio was behind the 2012 title, Spec Ops: The Line, known for its artistic portrayal of war, and drawing strong influences from Joseph Conrad’s novel The Heart of Darkness. The team has traded sands and military firearms for giant plasma cannons and swarms of ballistic missiles on a faraway planet deep in space.
After a short wait, I hopped onto a PS4 and began a match. The first thing that struck me was the visual presentation. The game has a sharp eye for attention, as the capital ships all had their unique ports for guns and engine thrust. I had never seen so much detail in a single ship. After choosing my starting class of Dreadnought, I was sent onto the battlefield.
The multiplayer arena was a snow planet, with mountains of ice and sheets of blue. Soon, the match began. Unique in this style of combat is the fact that many of the battles take place at a long distance. Most of the ship classes feature long range turrets and cannons, including special abilities that, once used, charge over time. Upon my first contact, I engaged with missiles and cannons. However, finding myself in high altitude, I was in a bad position. Despite my best efforts, I was destroyed.
Upon my respawn, I used a small, stealth-based ship, which reminded me of something that was both large yet nimble, namely the Millennium Falcon. Using the ship ‘s stealth ability, I was able to sneak up on an unsuspecting shop and successfully eliminate them. I attempted to assist my team with damaging other vessels, but soon, I was taken down.
My next ships were a more general purpose ship. I continued to make assists here and there but soon learned the hard way what impatience and high-altitude could do. As the map was mountains, using the fortifications and mountains could provide solid cover in destroying a ship. Going high above the map is a guaranteed bid for match suicide. This is even further exacerbated by the fact that your dreadnought is incredibly slow. Naturally, I was blown right out of the sky. I was gaining harsh lessons, but I was learning.
My next ship was more akin to a sniper class. It featured several extremely powerful main cannons that were locked to the bow position. Unlike broadside cannons, I could only fire these cannons directly ahead.
Using the zoom, I managed to find a target, and sink multiple fatal shots into the vessel, silencing its assault on a teammate. It felt absolutely incredible, amidst the eye-catching particle effects, amazing soundtrack, and the constant voice chatter from the game. This was a multiplayer experience unlike any before it.
The match proceeded smoothly for the rest of the time, but we wound up losing the game. It was a solid run, however, especially as it felt so refreshing to play such a unique space combat game. The controls on the PS4 controller felt responsive, and I never felt like I couldn’t successfully maneuver the ship, which is important, given that the game is making the leap from PCs to consoles. With the demo concluded, I made my way off the show floor, thrilled and excited for Dreadnought, and what is to come.
Dreadnought is arriving on the PlayStation 4 sometime this year. PS4 Beta sign-up are currently ongoing and can be signed up on their main website.