Dreadnought, from Six Foot Games, left the Beta stage on December 5th and its floating battleship mayhem has commenced in full force on the PS4. Should you fork over your hard earned money on it? Definitely not … because it’s free to play! See what I did there? But of course, free doesn’t always mean good, so the real question is should you invest your hard earned time on Dreadnought? Ah, now that’s a tougher one.
Dreadnought is an arena-style team spaceship combat MMO, with gameplay akin to World of Tanks. You have lots of floating space battleships to choose from, all of which fall under 5 Classes according to your play style. Do you like to move fast and scout the enemy? Try the Corvette, but be prepared to get killed easily. Are you more into big, powerful ships? The hulking Dreadnought is more your taste – but you’ll have to get used to moving very slowly. All of the choices have the usual balance of pro’s and con’s, and Dreadnought offers a nice balance and variety of ships to suit all play styles.
Upgrading comes from multiple rewards you gain by putting time into the game. The usual system of XP is used to research upgrades, while implementing them requires Credits. Dreadnought’s system is familiar to anyone who has played this kind of game before – and so is the inevitable GP, or currency obtained (mostly) by paying real-life money. You must upgrade your current ship in multiple areas before you can move up to the next tier of ship – and that does take a while.
“Dreadnought offers a nice balance and variety of ships to suit all play styles.”
Like all “freemium” games, Dreadnought does not require you to pay real money, but it does help a lot. Without it, you must earn your other currencies by grinding, and that might not be to everyone’s liking. To be fair, I found that free currency came fairly generously by playing, and I was able to upgrade pretty regularly without feeling pressured to buy GP. If you play Dreadnought a lot, you’ll be able to progress pretty nicely through the upgrade menu – but if you aren’t prepared to spend many hours, you might get frustrated.
Dreadnought’s gameplay is pretty well-designed and as a result, fun. In Team Deathmatch, the mode I played most often, 2 teams battle each other in multiple arenas. Winning requires teamwork and strategy, and having a good variety of classes in your group can be the deciding factor. For example, repair ships (Tactical Cruisers) can accompany other ships and heal them during battle, and a well-placed healer provides a huge boost to your team. It’s a rush of triumph when your team works together, each doing a different task, and wins the battle; Dreadnought’s solid design gives every play-style a way to contribute.
But that communal flavour might also be a weakness for some. If you like to run-and-gun, and fly around picking off enemies in an adrenaline rush of fast combat, you probably won’t dig Dreadnought. First off, the pace is very slow. These big ships are not easy to turn around, and moving up and down with the R1 and L1 buttons takes a while. There also isn’t a lot of room for cowboys who like to work on their own; you need your teammates and if you like to play the Lone Wolf, this isn’t the game for you.
“…if you like to play the Lone Wolf, this isn’t the game for you.”
Visually, Dreadnought is ok, but not outstanding. Ships tend to look pretty nondescript, and environments provide a solid, if underwhelming arena in which to play out the game’s battles. You can add things like decals to your ship, and change the look of your Captain, but these were pretty small and superficial from what I saw. The game also suffers from very long load screens, and you’ll wait a long time for new matches to start.
Overall, Dreadnought offers a fun experience for anyone who has dreamed of commanding their own spaceship and battling against other people online. The triumphant feeling that comes with taking down an enemy with a well-timed volley of missiles, and watching as they go down slowly in flames, is an experience I would recommend to anyone. And hey, it is completely free, so there is really no reason not to try it. But, whether you will want to stick with it long-term, and maybe even pay that extra bit of money to “enhance the experience,” that is another thing altogether.
** A PS4 game code was provided by the publisher **
- Fun team-based battles
- It’s free
- Grinding needed to upgrade
- Pace will be too slow for some
- Visuals are just ok