In Dreadnought’s space, no one can hear you… When you explode.
Available on – PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro and PC
Review on PlayStation 4
Dreadnought is a space ship battle arena where you can take part in a PvE and PvP modes as various types of ship. Currently it is free to play for all PlayStation 4 owners who have a Region 1 account. I took a jump into space and try it out.
The first thing you must do is create avatar for your pilot. It won’t take long as there is very limited number of things to change. Create one and then you are brought into the tutorial. The tutorial does a good job at teaching you the basic controls and nothing else. There is very little information about ship statistics, lock on distance or ability usage.
After the tutorial, you are shown the menu of the game. The background of the menu is a picture of your selected ship in what looks like a cave somewhere deep down in Mordor. There is very little information about what does what but that is not the worst part. The menu is laggy and transition between menus feels like a loading screen at times. Before getting into PvP, the game forces you to play a few vs A.I. games at the Proving Grounds to get the feel.
Here is the quick version of the currency system:
-Ship XP – Used to mainly to research a specific ship
-Free XP – Used to research any ship.
-Credits – Used to purchase the research upgrade.
-Ribbons – Can be earn after completing an achievement in a match. Can be converted to XP or Credits.
All these can be earned in game by completed daily task or matches. Now being a free game, there is no surprise there will be some real money currency. This is known as GP.
-GP – Used to purchase vanity items for your avatar, hero ships or elite status in game. GP can also be converted to any XP.
Hero Ships are the same ship as normal with different skins and they give some extra credit after each match.
Elite status on the other hand increase your credits earn each battle by 50% and 5% for everybody playing with you.
There is an element of a pay to win as hero ship allows you to purchase higher tier ships without going through the purchasing tree. These ships are equal in firepower to their respective tiers. The games make a good way of locking out new players from games modes which has a more experience players. Ranks are slowly unlocked as you complete tasks in the game. Higher ranks give better rewards but you will meet higher skilled players with better tiered ships. Those ranks and tiers are as follows.
-Recruit – Allowed to use Tier 1 to Tier 2 ships.
-Veteran – Allowed to use Tier 2 to Tier 4 ships.
-Legendary – Allowed to use Tier 4 to Tier 6 ships.
So even if they use cash to unlock a tier, they are only allowed
Now let’s talk about ships…..
Okay. There are a lot of ships in this game. Each ship class has their upgrades. Upgrading ships will make your ship stronger and help you unlock the next tier ship in the tier tree. Tiers are like the power level of the ship. A higher tier ship will always be better than a fully upgraded lower tier ship. This can be in a form of health, damage, movements speed, etc.
Ships are divided into 5 classes.
-Dreadnought – Yes there is a class name which is also the game’s name (Ships has limited names apparently). They are the tanker class of the game. It has the slowest speed but it packs a punch close range.
-Artillery Cruiser – These ships are the sniper class of the game. They have long range and cloak to survive.
-Destroyer – The soldier class of the game. They have moderate speed with strong fire power.
-Tactical Cruiser – These are the healers of the game. With repair rays and repair grenades (don’t ask me how this works), it will help allies survive a little longer in space.
-Corvette – The scout in the game. These are the fastest class in the game but you will die easily if you are caught out of position.
As you can see, the class system looks almost perfect. Each class also has their class abilities from warping forward to get into position or speed boost to flank. Actually, there are a total of 61 types of ship from 3 manufacturers in this game. That is A LOT of ships.
Customization is barebones
Phew…. Each ship has its own set of upgrades that you must first research using XP before purchasing it using Credits. Progression are steady and you earn quite an amount of XP and Credits by winning matches or completing daily task. Sadly, the only way to customize your ship appearance is to purchase GP points with real money. You can customize the modules on your ship by once you have purchased them. This lets you tweak around but in reality, it just a system there for you to lock you from better ships. You must upgrade a ship a number of times before you can purchase a higher tier ship which you then must upgrade all over again. This is the progression system of this game and it will get a little repetitive after a while.
Next, let us talk about the gameplay.
It works but it doesn’t?
The controls are the game is the biggest downfall. First, there is no strafing in this game, you rotate and move your ship with the left analog stick while aiming with the right analog. R1 and L1 are used to move up and down in space. Obviously L2 is for zooming in and R2 is for fire. The buttons X,square,O and triangle are used for your ships abilities. Finally, the d-pad is for you to switch between primary and secondary weapons and reloading.
But wait there is more….. Touching the touch pad will activate your power abilities which consist of a boosting your firepower, speed or activating your shield. Using these boosts will drain your power meter. The meter will recharge when you are not boosting anything. There is also pressing the touch pad a swiping to communicate. If you are targeting an enemy pressing the touch pad will let you call our targets or call for support.
One touch pad to rule them all!!!
As you can see, the controls are complete. Everything is there when you need it but there is one big problem. The touch pad controls do not work as well as you want it too. Slightly touching you touch pad at times (Sorry i have huge fingers) may accidentally activate the boost and drain your battery. Even trying to call out a ship may sometime activate your boost instead. This may lead to some weird situations in combat where you accidentally run out of battery when you need it the most.
Combat is somewhat interesting. Instead of those space battle where you are zooming around the place in an X-Wing, Dreadnought’s game play is slow. Take out a ship may require certain teamwork and focus fire at times. You have get use the game to understand in what situation to use your boost, abilities or a tactical retreat. The game play is very tactical but sadly it is brought down by the bad touch pad mid battle. There is a learning curve to get used like the range of you auto lock because there is barely any indicator when you are in range to launch your missiles.
The odds and ends….
Let’s face it, Dreadnought is not best looking game out there. There are a few times the frame rate dropped drastically during combat. The game is not optimized well for the PlayStation 4. From the laggy menus, drop frame rate and the horrendous loading times. I even got a bug where it will not allow me to finish a mission. So now I am stuck without a list to earn more XP and credits. These are many problems which will easily kill a AAA game title during launch day. There will be a lot of fixing to be done to make this game even playable at best on the PlayStation 4.
A long space journey
Dreadnought has the heart of an excellent space ship battle arena. The core game play is actually has depth and technicality. If you can look pass all it weak points you will see it is a diamond hiding underneath all the dirt. All I can hope for is that one day, the game can reach its full potential with it unique look on space ship battles.