More of what we love, but is it enough?
Dredge was one of 2023's most pleasant surprises - a unique blend of fishing gameplay and Lovecraftian horror that gripped me with its atmosphere and gameplay loop. In case you missed my review, here you go. Naturally then, I was excited to dive back into its chilly waters with The Pale Reach expansion.
The new region delivers on the main game's strengths, with another well-designed area to explore. The frozen islands offer that same sense of dreadful mystery. Many of the paths though are blocked by floating pieces of ice, so it's time for an upgrade. After accepting the quest from the Travelling Merchant, you have to set sail and dredge three different pieces of the Icebreaker.
Once you acquire all three parts, your ship gets well, an icebreaker that will allow you to plow through those floating pieces of ice and open up new paths. But you need to be on the lookout though as there's an angry narwahl that out to get you.
Apart from the main mission, there are also some other sidequests, similar to the ones in the main game and those unlock some powerful fishing tools. Of course, it goes without saying, there are also some new Ice type fish for you to catch.
However, upgrades and gear feel less impactful for players finishing post-game. I already had a max level ship, the best engines, lights and fishing equipment plus all of the powers, so what I found in the new area, didn't really changed my gameplay experience all that much.
Before I go any further, I need to mention that there's a new photo mode, that you have to unlock through a quest, and also there's ship customization where you can change the color of the roof, hull and the flag. I don't know if these two new additions are part of this DLC or they have been introduced in an update before as I haven't played the game after that initial review went live.
Now, if this DLC introduced some way for me and my tiny ship to go against the new narwahl or the previous leviathans, offering me the possibility to hunt them down, that would have been more interesting. If any of the devs are reading this, maybe add a harpooning minigame in the next DLC where I could hunt these leviathans?
In conclusion, while The Pale Reach delivers more of what makes Dredge such a unique experience, there simply isn't enough here to justify the cost of admission for all but the series' most dedicated fans. It provides a pleasant excuse to return, but doesn't expand the package significantly enough. For full value, I'd recommend waiting for a deeper, more comprehensive expansion or a sale.
The game was reviewed on a PS5 using a promo code provided by Team17. Dredge The Pale Reach is out now on PlayStation, Switch, PC and Xbox.