Hello out there GeekGoneRogue faithful! Today we are going to be taking our first look at the newly released Dreadnought Beta. This was a game that has kind of flown under the radar for me, I remember when it was first announced, however since then I had not followed it’s development or release all that closely. That was until this past weekend when I was given a Beta key by Stephen, one of our other writers. “It’s basically Mechwarrior but in space,” was the way that he described it to me. Well that was all it took, because you all know that I love the shit out of some Mechwarrior. Sure enough, as soon as I started playing I got that old school, team deathmatch Mechwarrior feel, and I haven’t stopped playing it since. It’s a solid first showing for the game, and it already has me chomping at the bit for more. With the perfect mix of measured, calculated combat and heavy hitting ships, it’s a game that should appeal to the sci-fi fans everywhere.
My time with Dreadnought began as all of these games do: with the tutorial. Since it is in closed Beta stage at the moment, there are very few bells and whistles. You are a nondescript pilot learning how to fly a ship to a couple of random points on the screen. The first thing that struck me about these ships are the sheer mass they carry when they are moving. Don’t expect to be zipping through the skies all Wing Commander style, because graceful these ships are not. However, it’s actually a refreshing change of pace from many modern shooters out there today. Even in the smallest ships, you move slow. You have to be calculated and direct about where you want to go, because once you start heading that direction it’s going to be a bitch to try to go anywhere else. It takes some getting used to at first, but once you get the hang of it you start to appreciate the way you feel flying these behemoths. It’s called Dreadnought for a reason you know?
Floats like a walrus, stings like a tomahawk missile
Once you figure out how to go from point A to point B, you get to start shooting. Each ship comes with 2 main weapons that you are able to toggle between on the fly. One is typically a long range, more precise shot with the other being an up close damage dealer. Truth be told I find myself relying on the longer range shot about 90% of the time. Other than that you begin to learn how to fire your “special ability” weapons. These are typically some type of missile or torpedo, along with a couple of defensive weapons such as anti-ballistic weapons. You are also introduced to your resource management for the game, which ends up being one of the most critical aspects of playing Dreadnought. Throughout the course of your matches, you find yourself switching between boosting your thrust, weapons, or shield in order to survive. You can only boost one at a time, and your energy reserves drain fast, which means you are constantly having to toggle them on and off depending on the situation unfolding before you. It’s not exactly a new premise in a flight combat game but it’s well done and adds another level of strategy to combat. Soon enough, you find yourself in a space battle with some pirates who conveniently attack you head on while your squad mates beef you up enough that you don’t just get your ass handed to you. Typical tutorial fare. Once you make it through that fight you are on your own. Hand holding is over, time to throw yourself into some true PVP.
My first foray into combat was quick and boy was it painful. The one thing that they don’t really touch on during the tutorial is the fact that even though you feel like you are flying a giant tank, everyone else is too, and if you don’t cover your ass you get killed. Quickly. So after a first round of being nothing other than a team liability, I decided to try a more conservative approach to my fighting. I decided to pay more attention to the way the landscapes were laid out and wouldn’t you know it? Shooting lanes! Shortcuts! Ways to sneak around and flank your enemy! It’s like they thought things out or something… You get to learn the ships pretty quickly, you have your typical tank-esque Dreadnoughts and Destroyers, with plenty of armor and the firepower to match. There are also Corvettes whose job is to zip around and wreak havoc as best they can while trying not to get blasted out of the sky. These are the bane of the support ships, also known as the Tactical Cruisers. They are the healers of the fleet, able to repair and support the bigger ships around them, and they even have some decent firepower to boot. Last but not least would be the Artillery Cruisers, aka the snipers. They float around on the outside of the battle blasting away with their long range rail cannons. They can totally fuck up your day, unless you are right next to them. At that point it’s lights out, as they have basically no armor. Each class is familiar enough that if you play other arena games you should be able to almost immediately find something that fits your playstyle.
The fights are smooth, and they are tactical. After playing Overwatch almost nonstop for the last month, the transition was jarring at first, however after a few matches I found it to be a refreshing change of pace from the at times hectic melee that many shooters tend to be these days. The terrain varies from full on space battles, to fights in a ruined city, or in a frozen mountain range. Nothing too mind blowing, but they suit their purpose. Again, it is just a beta, I’m sure that when the full game launches there will be plenty more places in which to blow one another up.
When not in combat, the interface is basically a cut and dry clone of other games in the genre, such as Mechwarrior online. You can use the in game currency to purchase ships, weapons, unlock skills, or buy cosmetics upgrades.You can also use your own hard earned cash to spring for Greybox points which basically special currency to get more bang for your buck. Again, pretty standard. So far I have been able to rely on the in game currency for any and all purchases as it comes at a pretty decent rate. As I play the game more I may end up springing for some but for now I am enjoying the grinding process too much to even consider it. Increasing my pilot rank is the priority as most of the games best ships and weapons are locked behind higher ranks.
Overall, Dreadnought is just plain fun. It may not appeal to some of the twitch shooter fans out there, but for anyone looking to try something new, I can say that this is a game worth looking into. The combat feels good, the ships are fun to fly, and the battles are fun to look at. There is still a long way to go to flesh out some sort of a story but the developers seem to be taking the time and putting in the attention to detail to come up with something pretty great. Is it going to be a genre defying grand slam the likes of Modern Warfare? Probably not. But for those who are looking for something new with some of that old-school Mechwarrior flair, this is probably the game for you. Look for me if you decide to take the plunge! I’ll be in a destroyer.
To see our First Impressions video click here!!!