Formally released on December 5th, 2017, Dreadnought is a combat spaceflight simulator released on Windows and Playstation 4. Created by Yager Development, Dreadnought is an exciting multiplayer strategy game where you take the helm of your own large spacecraft and engage in heavy-hitting aerial battles.
So what makes Dreadnought different from other combat flight simulators? For one, you aren't flying around in small fighters, shooting at other players like a rogue pilot. You are the captain of massive warships, and the battles require far more team strategy to emerge victorious. It will require careful positioning and tactical maneuvering to eliminate your opponents. You will need to flank enemy fleets, prioritize targets, and eliminate enemy support vessels while defening your own. With little speed to rely on, teamwork and cooperation is an absolute must.
At the beginning of each battle, you will choose your ship class. Each vessel has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, such as sacrificing armor or speed for increased firepower. Corvettes are the smallest class and consequently the fastest; though they are not as quick as fighters, they are primarily used for hit-and-run tactics. Destroyers are a bit larger, balancing speed and firepower, and are a good match for beginners as they deal a decent amount of damage and provide ample protection. The Artillery Cruiser is essentially a long-distance sniper vessel, and is designed as a giant cannon with engines; a heavy hitter but lacking in armor. Tactical Cruisers are support vessels, healing damaged allies and keeping them in the battle; they should be protected at all costs. And finally, the Dreadnoughts: these massive ships are incredibly slow but compensate with immense firepower and armor. Together, these ships create a fleet capable of untold destruction.
Gameplay requires more than just flying around shooting enemyships. As you move about the battlefield, you will have to choose where to allocate your own ship's power. For a short duration, you can engage thrusters that enhance speed, power up your weapon systems for increased damage, or bolster your defenses with a temporary shield. Knowing where to allocate power and when can mean the difference between victory and complete destruction. Your ship also has primary and secondary weapon and defense systems, as well as addition abilities such as warp jumps. Managed by a good captain, these systems and abilities can be an absolute nightmare for opponents and also get you out of a sticky situation. Upon victory, you will earn experience points that can be used to research new ships, weapons and tech to give you an edge in your next battle.
I was hooked on Dreadnought moments after installation. Though the ships may be slow, the battles feel anything but. Sure, you're not speeding around doing barrel rolls, but you are managing an entire cruiser, firing weapons, seeking cover, assisting allies, even launching nuclear weapons. The sheer number of factors you need to be overseeing keeps you on your toes. You don't feel like a pilot, you actually feel like a captain. I had also gone into the game expecting to be engaging in battles in outer space, however I was pleasantly surprised by the battlefields. The matches take place just above the surfaces of several unique planets/space stations, and with a good strategy, these environments can easily be put to good use both offensively and defensively. Cruisers can fly low through deep canyons to avoid detection, or launch weaponry safely from behind a massive structure or mountain. Like any good war game, control of the environment is key, and not something that is usually accomplished by aerial combat simulators.
If all this hasn't tempted you to at least give Dreadnought a try, well I saved the best part for last:
You don't have to pay anything to play; just click the link and begin the download. The game does have in-game purchases, however it is not pay to win. Spending money in the store generally unlocks a few customizations or enhanced ships, however these enhancements only slightly boost offensive power (they're mostly aesthetic). In other words, if you choose not to spend your money (like me) you are really not at any sort of disadvantage!