E3 2014: Dreadnought (Hands on)

by: Chuck -

To be honest I had no real idea of what to expect when I sat down to play Dreadnought at E3. I had seen the teaser trailer for the game and other than it involved giant spaceships doing battle and that it was being developed by Yager, the folks behind Spec Ops:The Line.

It turns out the Dreadnought is a third person(ship?) combat game where two groups of ships battle it out in various modes. The groups are made up of five ships each and there are five types of ships:
• Dreadnaught - Slow but super powerful this ship can launch devastating nuclear warheads that can take out lesser ships with one shot.
• Tactical - The support ship that can heal other units and launch healing pods
• Corvette - The small speedy craft of the bunch, light on power but it can be used to flank formations and for quick attacks
• Artillery - The sniper of the group, this ship has a large cannon and is devastating at long ranges but is still very fragile
• Destroyer - A medium sized ship that sits squarely in the middle of the power/speed spectrum

The game isn't due out until 2015 but I got to play an early build of the game that showed off the team deathmatch mode on a map called Highlands. While the game isn't going to appeal to the twitch gaming crowd (these are giant space ships we are talking about) there is certainly a demographic that's going to really enjoy the more methodical nature of the game, people like me.

The map featured some different levels of terrain for you to move around in. It was pretty cool to maneuver these levitations through tight spaces in order to flank a formation or use them as cover (great for hiding the frail tactical healing ship while it supports the larger ships in the game).

Each ship has a primary weapon and four additional abilities which range from launching a volley of torpedoes to a short warp that will get you out of harms way. Each takes time to recharge so you really have to think about when and why you use them.

Another cool tactical ability is that you can change the power distribution to your ship by re-routing all of your power to the engines, defenses, or weapons for a period of time.

I played two rounds of the game and had a blast during each one. Each of the classes has a distinct play style and each team needs to coordinate classes and strategy to win. While my team lost both rounds it was for fairly obvious reasons like the other team doing a great job of supporting a Dreadnought/Artillery combo with Tactical cruiser and taking us out before we could get in range or just not doing a good job of focusing on taking out one target at a time.

What I really appreciated was that Yager has really nailed the feel of the vehicles. Sure the ships are big and unwieldy but once you get the hang of the controls you can do some amazing things with them.

Yager is planning on adding 7 more ships (total of 12) by the time the game launches in 2015 and you'll be able to add officers to your ship which will act like perks and boost your ship in certain ways like faster reloading or faster engines. Dreadnought will be a free to play game but Yager isn't releasing details on what things you will pay for in the game.

Dreadnought was one of the most enjoyable games I played at E3 this year and I'm interested to see how things come together as I think they could have a bit of a sleeper hit on their hands.

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