A surprise announcement for some during Sony’s PlayStation Experience 2016 was that of Dreadnought coming to the PlayStation 4. For those who may not know, Dreadnought is a tactical action game, where you fight with massive spaceships in battles of epic proportions. We managed to play the game while at PSX, and have a preview ready for you below.
Not Your Typical Dogfight
When most people think of spaceship combat, they probably envision what we’ve all come to know from movies like Star Wars: intense dogfighting requiring hair-trigger reflexes between combat ships screaming along at hundreds or thousands of miles per hour. But much like real-life war, there are much bigger fish to fry, and larger-scale fights to be had, with large battleships. This is where Dreadnought makes its niche. In this game, you play as the commander of a large warship, where battles are won and lost not just by applying overwhelming force, but also by cunning tactics. Strategic positioning of your ship can become a significant advantage, as can the loadout of your team.
There were several different classes of ships to choose from, varying in size, shape, and use. The Dreadnought class included powerful weapons and defenses, but was also large and slow-moving. A Corvette class ship could run laps around everybody else, but its weapons didn’t pack quite a punch, and of course being lightweight also meant being more lightly armored. A Tactical Cruiser served as the medic of the field, and came equipped with repairing abilities.
One feature which stood out was the use of the DualShock 4’s touchpad. By swiping up, down, left, or right, power would be allocated on the ship to favor speed, weapons, shields, or a balance to everything. Perhaps because the touchpad is used so infrequently in games, I saw many players forget to swipe to the right to engage shields while being attacked. This would often result in quicker kills than might usually occur. Still, this is a great example of how to use the touchpad properly.
The Unreal Engine 4 is alive and kicking here, bringing with it a lot of shine for Dreadnought. Every ship is meticulously detailed, while battles take place in massive landscapes. In the demo we played, a settlement in the middle of the mountains featured large buildings, though it was easy to look past the environment and focus in on your enemies, or rather their ordnance. Speaking of which, at any one point in combat, hundreds of rockets, torpedoes, photon cannons, and more, could be in the air. The game did not appear to drop frames, no matter how hectic the onscreen action.
Dreadnought is a workout in multitasking. Not only do you have to manage your energy allocations, threats can come from any direction. Positional awareness is also key against some classes of enemies, since a broadside attack from a Dreadnought class ship will usually result in your untimely demise. Couple this with the actual tactics you might use with your team, and time will fly by in battles very quickly. Yager Development is aiming to release Dreadnought in 2017, and you can sign up for the PS4 beta here.