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Dredge: The Pale Reach Review (PS5) – More Dredge Is Never A Bad Thing

Dredge: The Pale Reach Review (PS5)Black Salt Games‘ and Team17‘s indie darling released earlier in the year and was met with praise from critics and fans alike. It stands as one of my favourite games this year, which in a year with so many stellar titles, is high praise.

As soon as I put down the controller; upon acquiring the platinum trophy, I knew immediately I wanted more of this game. Dredge’s exceptional world, mystique, and Lovecraftian horror took hold of me, and has stuck with me ever since.

With The Pale Reach, I am getting more of what I asked for, but is it what I wanted?

Dredge: The Pale Reach Review (PS5) – More Dredge Is Never A Bad Thing

Gone Fishing

The Pale Reach is the first DLC expansion for Dredge, and I hope it won’t be the last. Opening up a new portion on the map for us to venture toward, heading south, you locate a new icy biome.

These new isles present the player with new types of fish to catch, new equipment, and of course; a new mystery to unravel.

Its environment is noticeably more bleak than the other areas you’ve visited in the main game. Snowy, frozen land masses, and icebergs surround your boat creating a consistently eery atmosphere.

I would like to have seen a bit more detail in this regard, but I understand that may have been at odds with the thematic design of the environment they had in mind.

The gameplay remains the same. You’re largely sailing around on your boat, interacting with the world via its coastlines, characters, and most importantly; fishing for otherworldly oddities.

Naturally you’ll need to purchase new equipment for this area that specialise in ice fishing.

Upon acquiring the proper tools required for this new area, and tasked with your first objective you set off into The Pale Reach.

Earning the other equipment this expansion offers through its quests, that I won’t spoil, will definitely benefit new players.

Dredge: The Pale Reach certainly isn’t as challenging as other areas in the game. This is certainly something I appreciate as too often games ramp up the difficulty with their DLC, long after I’ve moved on, making it doubly more difficult to come back to.

Not that Dredge was a challenging game in the first place. It’s just a precedent I would like to see more of.

A Missing Chapter

A persistent Narwhal will do the honour of chasing you around the frozen biome as you try to go about your business.

This new determined antagonist doesn’t provide much threat to those who acquired the Banish ability in the main game, as I was able to quickly shoo it away before it did any damage.

Its main quest line, is short and lacking depth, but I still enjoyed unraveling the mystery of The Pale Reach.

It lives up to the atmospheric heights of the core game, and fits right in line with the Lovecraftian horror that Black Salt Games continue to perfect.

The Pale Reach operates as a missing chapter type DLC, which will more so benefit new players rather than returning ones. It’s inoffensive runtime of roughly 90 minutes, does make it worthwhile for fans of the main story, however.

Dredge tapped into a deeply held fear of mine, known as Megalohydrothalassophobia (Good luck pronouncing that), and whilst exploring that fear, I stumbled onto something, somehow, that was quite relaxing.

A truly unique experience, that The Pale Reach gave me more of, and I’m looking forward to even more of this wonderfully crafted, beautifully eerie, Lovecraftian world

The Dredge: The Pale Reach is now available on PS5 and PS4.

Review code kindly provided by publisher



The Final Word

Whilst Dredge: The Pale Reach is lacking depth and is more suited for new players experiencing this excellent cosmic horror fishing game for the first time, Black Salt Games gave me more of what I already love, and that's rarely a bad thing. I don't need much of an excuse to jump back into the world of Dredge, so here's hoping The Pale Reach is the first expansion of many more to come.