Dreadnought Preview: The Depth of Space

Dreadnought Preview: The Depth of Space

Every now and then at events like E3 and PAX, I’ll play a game that makes me wish I had more than just half an hour to test it out and report back, usually because what time I do get tells me that there’s much more to the game in question than I can truly grasp in such a short time span. At this year’s PlayStation Experience, Yager Development’s Dreadnought was that game.

DreadnoughtDreadnought, which was described to me at the event as a “class-based spaceship simulator”, reminded me strongly of teamwork-centric games like this year’s Overwatch and Battleborn. Like those games, Dreadnought requires you to be proficient with your chosen vessel (class) in order to truly be an asset to your team, meaning that knowing how your own ship best operates under any given circumstance is the key to excelling.

Similar to the classes in Overwatch or Battleborn, Dreadnought‘s five (that I was able to test) vessels lend themselves to a fair variety of playstyles. While in my experience all the ships are relatively sluggish, giving the game an overall methodical pace, each comes outfitted with a distinctive enough arsenal that they don’t feel like mere pallete swaps. Instead, each offers a unique role that you can potentially master and specialize in. However, also like Overwatch, Dreadnought allows you to switch between ships during a match, letting you get your feet wet with all of the ones available to you rather than committing to and being stuck with one for the entirety of a battle.

My time with Dreadnought was brief, but as I was grouped with four other players on my team, we immediately dispersed, attempting to gain an understanding of our respective ships and their specialties, while also trying to get a handle on our opponents’ equally disorganized tactics. This meant that I spent much of my time with the game laughing at my own expense as I fumbled around, still growing used to my newfound abilities and weaknesses every time I respawned with a new ship. However,  when my team, by pure chance, occasionally pulled off an effective team-based maneuver, I saw flashes of what Dreadnought could be with a team of well-trained experts at the helm of every ship.

Dreadnought is the kind of game I leave a demo wishing I had more time with. When a game’s depth goes beyond a quick elevator pitch, attempting to quantify it in such a short time and in a rapid fire environment is difficult. While Dreadnought’s core concept is easily summarized, , it’s certainly a game whose depth lies in its minutiae, rather than the granular concepts one is able to showcase on a showfloor and in a 30 minute time span. Come next year, I’ll be interested to see what players are able to pull off when they’ve had considerably more time to learn, coordinate, and master everything the game has to offer.

Dreadnought is coming to PC and PlayStation 4 in 2017.

CGM July 2014

CGM July 2014 2

Summer is here, and so is the latest issue of CGM. Dreadnought takes centre stage as one of the surprise announcements from E3, but there’s some advice on how to succeed with a comic on Kickstarter, as well as a retrospective on the digital migration of Magic: The Gathering from card game to online powerhouse.

CGM July 2014

Available in PDF on CGM’s online store

Also Available on Pocketmags

E3 2014: Dreadnought Preview

E3 2014: Dreadnought Preview  - 2014-06-24 15:47:08

Space; the final battle ground. These are the voyages of the Dreadnought class battleship Fluffy Kitty. Its five minute mission is to be part of a five on five death match with other videogame journalists at E3 2014. To launch nuclear warheads at space vessels who are fighting over a strange planet. To boldly go down swinging like no one has gone down before.

For the un-initiated, Dreadnought is a yet to be released free-to-play capital ship combat game. It’s made by Yager Developments, the same developers who made Spec Ops: The Line in 2012, and yes the same developers working on Dead Island 2 right now.

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Dreadnought is their attempt to fill a gap I didn’t realize existed until I sat down to play it. The game follows a lot of common practices of current day multiplayer shooters. For example, the game has five different classes, and of those classes, one is a medic. Yes it is still a spaceship but it has a healing beam that could have been ripped right out of Team Fortress 2. There is also a heavy class called the dreadnought, the game has small fast ship you could call the scout and a sniper class of space ship with is basically a big rail-gun attached to an engine.

In terms of game modes, I would be very willing to lay down $20 if someone bets me that this game won’t have capture the flag, or some sort of king of the hill mode. During our E3 time, only team death-match was played because that apparently demos very well. Although Yager did confirm that the game also has single life team elimination, and that other modes would be in the game. Yager just wasn’t ready to name modes at this time.

Gameplay was very much in line with other team death-matches, and by that I mean you find the other team and blow them out of the sky. The controls are very similar also. The WASD keys controls the basic movements of the game, but since they’re space ships the space and shift keys allows you to ascend and descend in the game space. This is very useful since the map we were on was full of Grand Canyon sizes canyons that you could dip in and out of for cover.

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As with other shooters on the PC, the mouse controls which directions the guns on your ship points. Each ship also has 4 differet abilities that can be activated. The abilities you get all change based solely on the class of ship you pick, and since these are warships the majority of them are secondary weapons you can launch. That said, since the Dreadnought is so slow it has the ability to wrap around the map. The medic class ship has that heal beam I mentioned before, and the scout class appeared to have some sort of temporary cloaking system.

Fans of the rogue-like game FTL (or Faster Then Light) will enjoy the fact that Dreadnought also has basic energy management systems. The objective of Dreadnought is to win at combat in a similar way to FTL, but Dreadnought focuses far more on combat, movement, and teamwork. While you’ll have the ability to manage your energy to an extent, and raise shields for example, it won’t be micro-management like with FTL.

I did not see it in person, but the development staff behind Dreadnought has also promised that each ship will be customizable in terms of the weapons load-out you take and the visual flair you can add to your ship since each ship is supposed to have a module design. Your crew did not seem to be customizable, but they can improve in terms of skill as you go from skirmish to skirmish.

Other things I did not see, but were told the game has when it comes out in 2015 are an episodic campaign, a reputation system that unlocks perks and powers, and clan support that allows you to form fleets. The most important thing to know is that Dreadnought a simple but fun idea. Anyone who’s ever wanted to be Captain Kirk will certainly find this appealing, but luckily you don’t have to be Mr. Spock in order to figure out how to make the ship work.

 

Bryan’s Best of E3 2014

Bryan's Best of E3 2014 - 2014-06-19 12:29:23

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege(PS4, Xbox One, PC)

I’m actually the most surprised that Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege has made it to the top of my best of E3 list, especially since I’ve never enjoyed a Rainbow Six game before. The methodical pre-mission planning sessions in previous entries has all the appeal of Rob Ford (the Mayor of Toronto) in a string bikini. I’ve been so turned off by these planning sequences that I never even tried to play the Rainbow Six Vegas games, but I’ve heard pretty good things about them.

As you can imagine, I went into Siege dreading the experience, but one round of hands on time changed my mind completely. The main reason for this is that the methodical planning over structural blue prints has been replaced by sneaking tiny robots into the enemy’s base while they build traps in preparation for your arrival. The basic idea of planning your perfect route into the house is still available, but now you have to do it on the fly.

The pace of the game has picked up in other aspects as well. The “enemy” (and that’s Ubisoft’s official term for the guys who are not playing as Rainbow Six members) only have 1 minute to reinforce walls for better cover, blow out walls to create ambush locations, or drop razor wire on the floor.

The maps are also much smaller, so you run into the other side quickly. The objectives in Siege are also quicker to accomplish. In the demo I played the objective was to rescue a hostage/eliminate the enemy, and once I got the hostage out of the house the round was over. I didn’t have to spend countless seconds chasing the other team around the map in a game of cat and mouse.

Other than that, the game is built on a solid foundation of Call of Duty twitch game-play. At this point that type of game-play has been done so often that it is hard to mess up, and so in theory it should not be a problem at launch.

 

Dreadnought(PC)

In 2012, Yager Developments put out one of my favorite games of that year: Spec Ops The Line. The members of that development team (who are not working on Dead Island 2) were at E3 showing off a spaceship combat game called Dreadnought.

The idea is to give love to bigger capital ships since there are a ton of games (like Eve: Valkyrie, X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter or Crimson Skies) that will let you take on the role of a fighter pilot. In Dreadnought you take on the role of the captain of one of five ships and (at least in the demo we saw) challenge other fleets of five ships to combat. You then go head to head in a team death-match or other game-modes that Yager was not ready to announce yet.

The cool part is that Dreadnought is by no means a simulation, and anyone can feel the triumph of being Captain Kirk without needing the knowledge of Mr. Spock. The game feels very much like other competitive multiplayer games because it is class based. There is a medic ship that can heal other ships, and there is a heavy ship that is the bruiser of the fleet. Yager made a sniper class ship by strapping a virtual rail gun to a virtual engine, and the scout class is obviously fast and sneaky. The final ship is the destroyer class capital ship which feels like the “assault kit” of most shooters, and by that I mean it is your basic well rounded ship that is good to get started with in Dreadnought.

The game also has class based abilities (like how the medic ship can heal), and a basic energy management system that will get the FTL crowd excited; however, trust me when I say that Dreadnought is closer to Battlefield 4 than it is to Artemis or any of those Star Trek bridge simulation games.

 

Alien: Isolation(PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

While my first and second choices were easy picks for this list, Alien: Isolation just barely beat out other games like Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain and No Man’s Sky. In the end, Alien: Isolation won this spot because it feels like a game, and I know that sounds odd. Unfortunately, this E3 was far more about the promise of what most of these games could be in 2015. Alien: Isolation was just there to be played, and while the demo wasn’t lengthy it did not take long to understand what this game is.

Alien: Isolation is basically a playable version of the final 20 minutes of that first Alien film. It looks that way with a great recreation of that 1970s sci-fi movie technology, and plays that way with you running and hiding from one single alien that you can’t kill BECAUSE IT IS A FREAKING ALIEN!!!!

Spoilers for Alien, but at this point I am completely convinced that the only way Alien: Isolation can end is with explosive decompression.

 

Brendan’s Best of E3 2014

Brendan's Best of E3 2014  - 2014-06-17 12:26:39

With E3 over and everyone from the convention centre in LA on their way home, it is time to go over what were some of the best things CGM saw. With a large assortment of games shown off ever year it is hard to nail down the top games people should be excited for but today I am going to try to give my best of E3 2014.

Best New Title

Dreadnought (PC)

I have always been a sucker for giant spaceships. Watching them in Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, etc, they sparked a sense of awe at the sheer size and destructive power. The guys over at Yager, the studio that brought us Spec Ops: The Line, now bring us Dreadnought. Giving players the helm of a giant ship, Dreadnought will be an online Free-to-Play multiplayer title that is shaping up to be a fantastic experience. Unlike Homeworld, this isn’t a real time strategy game where you direct capital ships on plotted out courses, you take direct control of the destroyers and dreadnoughts in your fleet.

The concept is simple, two teams with a selection of ship classes go into the battle field. At the end, the team with the most kills or points wins. It is a simple concept and makes for frantic and fun gameplay. When your team works, it can really feel like you are on the bridge of a capital ship, ready for anything.

Dreadnought is a game for the science fiction fan in all of us. A game that gives you the command of the ships that make the galaxy run and hide. Now, they are all in one area, ready to destroy one another and it works! Nothing has been said about the business model for the game yet, but if Yager does it right, this could be a Free-to-Play game that everyone should be playing.

Best RPG

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt(PS4, PC, Xbox One)

I am ashamed to admit it, but I have never managed to finish a Witcher game. I always start out strong, thinking “This is it, I will do it this time.” But hours pass, I die time after time, and eventually I walk away admitting defeat. They are hard games, yet they have some of the best storytelling that players can experience in Western RPGs today. The concept of a morally grey world is exciting. It is a world where every choice you make will have consequences, and you as the player have no clear right answer. For a lover of story, this is the ultimate experience.

The Witcher 3 keeps up this tradition, you play as the iconic hero, Geralt of Rivia, continuing his adventures. This time, a strange force, The Wild Hunt, endangers the land, leaving only death in its wake. The story is the start of a great fantasy epic, but it is the small stories along the quest that make The Witcher 3 so unique. Injecting quests with moral choices, similar to what we have seen in games from BioWare, is a great move. The developers over at CD Projekt RED have  developed some troubling scenarios that go far beyond what many RPGs offer. It all works together to craft a dark, brooding world that needs to be experienced.

Making its move to the PS4 and the XBOX One, The Witcher 3 is also poised to be one of the most visually stunning titles we will see for the platforms. Each aspect of the game shows off a richly detailed, dark fantasy world. Characters and environments breathe with life, and the expansive landscape shows the sheer vastness of the world. Coming out in 2015, The Witcher 3 is looking to capture the audience it deserves. I for one am planning to jump into the world on day one.

Best FPS

Destiny(PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

Built by Bungie, the studio that brought us Halo, Destiny is a multiplayer FPS mixed with an MMO, and it actually seems to work. When Bungie first showed Destiny at last year’s E3, I was sceptical. It felt reminiscent of Hellgate London, taking the concept of an action game, and injecting it with the concepts from MMOs. However, the demo showed last year left me curious, and I was interested to know more.

When I got to take hold of the controller and jump into the world this year, I have to say I was surprised by the organic feel of the game. The game and the universe Bungie have built all work and it is a very fun experience. Taking control of a super-powered Guardian, it is up to you and the other Guardians to defend a recovering, post-apocalyptic Earth from a new invasion. This will take you and/or your team on missions to fight against a collective of aliens that threaten humanity.

It is a Halo style story from the team that brought you Halo, but honestly it all works. The missions were fast and fun, the gameplay was easy to get into, and the shooting felt tight and responsive. It is all about teamwork and working together to achieve an objective, and it all seemed to work. It is hard to tell if the final product can keep up the interest for the dozens of hours it is aiming at, but if it does, it will be the title players must own. We will find out this holiday season, and I for one am excited to see firsthand how it all works out.

Spec Ops: The Line Dev Announces New Game Dreadnought

Spec Ops: The Line Dev Announces New Game Dreadnought - 2014-06-11 17:01:04

Today, Spec Ops: The Line developer Yager announced Dreadnought, their upcoming space-based dogfighting sim.

In Dreadnought, players take on the role of a mercenary, loyal to themselves and the people that pay them. Mercenaries fight against one another in a massive battle game that pits armadas against each other.

Dreadnought‘s core gameplay will revolve around managing a ship during a battle. “Commanders will assume complete control, dedicating power to specific sub-systems, customizing weapons, engines, armor, abilities, crew and their ships’ aesthetics,” the developer explains.

Tony Mendrano of Dreadnought‘s publisher Grey Box explains that the ability to command an entire ship is a dream of many. “It’s an awesome feeling to control something so huge and powerful, and that feeling is present in Dreadnought. Our goal is to nurture that feeling at all costs by working with players to fulfill the creation of their dream armada.”

Dreadnought will be developed on the Unreal Engine 4, and “public testing” will take place sometime in 2015.

It may not be the emotional ride that Spec Ops was, but the thought of commanding a massive armada in battle seems like a pretty great idea with a lot of potential. Hopefully we hear more about the game in the near future.