Fire the (plasma) broadsides, launch (nuclear) torpedoes and splice the (warp?) mainbrace - free-to-play heavyweight space naval shooter Dreadnought is out now after years in beta. Playing like a blend of World Of Tanks and World Of Warships with less gravity and more lasers, it's an online team shooter developed by Spec Ops: The Line folk Yager and lesser-known outfit Six Foot. While Dreadnought has been available to play in beta one way or another for ages, it made its version 1.0 debut yesterday. Check out the release trailer below.
For all its fancy sci-fi aesthetics and massive metal hulls, Dreadnought uses a fairly standard FPS-style control layout, with your ship's special abilities limited by cooldown timers. While there is a World Of Tanks-like progression through upgrades and up through tiers of technology, the ships are largely broken up into clear classes. Some are snipers, some are tanks, some are healers and buffers. Perhaps not the grittiest take on space combat, but intuitive and easy enough to get into. The reward for every kill is a spectacular explosion, too - these ships blow up real good.
Newcomers first few matches will be mostly populated with bots, so they can learn the ropes without getting stomped completely. I've only played a little bit on and off, but my biggest tip would be to stick with your team and do what they do. Focus fire on a single target, and get behind cover (another teammate will do in a pinch) if you're taking a hammering. If you've got a support ship nearby, never leave their side and try and position yourself to take hits for it - it's the classic Heavy and Medic, Reinhardt and Mercy formula, but more ship-shaped. Don't be a Hanzo main.
While Dreadnought plays it simple in its mission format - mostly pure slugfests - space-captains looking for something a little more technical might want to check out Edge Case's Fractured Space. Similar in concept, but applied to MOBA-esque multi-laned maps. Star Conflict is a third option for space-captains, offering a faster and more mobile take on the genre, but with more of a solo and co-op focus. All three games play similarly but with different structural focuses - it's nice to see so many of them around now.
Dreadnought is out now and free-to-play. You can find it on Steam here. There are premium packs that speed up progress and give early access to higher-tier ships, though you'll be matched against similarly geared (and likely far more experienced) enemies.