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The last space combat game I played was probably Star Wars Battlefront. When I was offered a chance to check out publisher Grey Box Studios and developer Yager’s upcoming space combat game, this was the style that came to mind. Visions of dogfighting other small, single pilot starships zooming in between large capital class ships, avoiding heavy gunfire while trying to outrun and evade my opponents so that I could get the drop on them and take them out. Well in some aspects my thinking was right on track, at least when it came to ship to ship battles. But I was wrong; I would be flying a large capital class ship.
In Dreadnought you’ll have the opportunity to fly an assortment of large capital ships. Gigantic cruisers peppered with an array of turrets that can turn and fire on enemy ships that will eventually try to take you on in combat. Dreadnought will be a free-to-play multiplayer game that will eventually include an episodic single-player campaign. After my brief time with Dreadnought at E3 2014 I can say that it’s just as satisfying piloting a behemoth of a large space cruiser as it is in similar games where you pilot small one-manned fighters.
The controls are easy. They’re your standard WASD layout for movement while you use ALT and Shift to make your ship both ascend and descend. The level we played had us skimming the surface of a planet, using a large valley to play a sort of cat and mouse game. When flying these large capital class ships it’s easy to see your enemies blanketing the horizon. Trying to figure out the best way to approach while remaining undetected is where the fun begins. The key to survival is hugging the planet’s surface for as long as possible and firing a barrage of missiles and lasers at your opponent when they least expect it.
Another key feature that will sound familiar, especially to fans of movies and TV shows like Star Wars, Firefly and Battlestar Galactica, is the ability to transfer power to the area where your ship needs it the most. If you’re unloading waves of missiles on an enemy and need that extra charge to deal a final blow you can transfer additional power to your weapons. If you’re the one on the opposite end of the attack you can transfer power to your shields while you do your best to escape and hopefully regroup with your teammates for some assistance or recovery. Transferring power is also easy to do. You simply middle-mouse click and move your mouse in the direction that needs the additional power.
While all of the ships in Dreadnought are massive, some are bigger than others. Initially there will be five different classes to choose from. I chose the Destroyer class which is the most balanced ship of the five available when it comes to speed, maneuverability and firepower. Other classes include an Artillery Cruiser that is packed to the hilt with a variety of weapons. The Corvette class are slightly smaller but quicker to navigate than the other capital ships. The Corvette also has the ability to warp in and out of combat for surprise attacks. Tactical Cruisers are fortified support units and the Dreadnoughts are the slow-moving but carry a big stick class, loaded with nukes.
The devs at Yager promised this wouldn’t be another pay-to-win F2P game. In the final version of Dreadnought you’ll be able to customize not only your cruiser’s loadout but you’ll also have the ability to personalize its look to really make it your own. Dreadnought is coming in 2015. You can sign up for the beta at playdreadnought.com.