Dredge wowed gamers when its cosmic-horror fishing adventure launched earlier this year, with the debut release from the team at Black Salt Games even earning nominations for a couple of awards at the 2023 edition of The Game Awards. And now, to cap off a successful year, the game has also seen its first expansion release, with The Pale Reach bringing with it a new area to explore, new fish to catch, and a new side story to unravel.
Check out some screenshots down below:
I’m guessing you might already be familiar with Dredge if you’re reading this review, but if not, its core gameplay loop revolves around fishing for strange Lovecraftian-inspired sea life throughout a sinister and dreary ocean. There’s an emphasis based on selling your fish, upgrading your ship, and venturing further across the depths of the waters, with the experience both calming and sinister at the same time. I really, REALLY liked it, with the gameplay offering a deceptive amount of depth despite the simplistic mini game-based approach it takes when actually catching the fish.
Does The Pale Reach stand out as a worthwhile piece of content? I certainly think so, especially if you experience it alongside your first playthrough of the game where you’ll get to make the most of some of the extras it has to offer.
The main addition that the DLC brings is a whole new biome to explore, with the icy seas of The Pale Reach proving mighty atmospheric and offering something wholly different to the areas you explore in the main game. In some ways, it feels a lot less eerie than other locales thanks to its initial picturesque appearance, but be warned: it has its own dark secrets for you to discover, whilst some of the creatures that roam there aren’t too friendly. Admittedly, it’s not the biggest of biomes that you’ll explore in the game, but with plenty of areas blocked off until you unlock the Icebreaker that lets you… well… break through the ice blocking your path, it brings with it a steady sense of progress as you uncover everything it has to offer.
“With a low price point of £5.99 as a bonus, The Pale Reach certainly offers players a worthwhile reason to re-visit Dredge and expands upon the wondrous horrors that they would’ve experienced over the last year.”
There are also eleven new species of sea life to capture to keep you busy, so completionists will have to get their rod out if they want to grab everything. Of course, you’ll encounter the more sinister variants of these fish and crabs too, with the game fully embracing its darker side with their designs. And the threats that roam the sea? Well, they feel a bit more dangerous this time around, but that’s something that’s better for you to discover yourself…
You’ll also grab new fishing gear and unlock special ice blocks for your boat that can be used to keep your fish fresher for longer, which is actually a REALLY useful addition for players. Admittedly, you probably won’t want to tackle The Pale Reach until later on in the main game so you might not get as much use out of these extras as you might hope, but they’ll still go a long way to make life easier for players who still have a few fish to grab before they fill out their collection.
It is worth nothing that The Pale Reach doesn’t really evolve upon the core formula of Dredge though. Whilst it does spice things up a little with its new gear (and keep players on their toes with its threats), it’s still more of the same that you’d have seen in the base game – nothing that it offers feels revolutionary, but instead acts as a neat little extra to have as a bonus. It also won’t take long for players to see everything it has to offer either, with its side story and extras easily fully discovered in less than two hours.
Check out some screenshots down below:
it’s hard to complain too much when those two hours are filled with more of the eerie fishing satisfaction that made Dredge so beloved by gamers to begin with. It’s still just as fun to catch fish, it’s still just as alluring to discover the world’s dark secrets, and it’s still just as satisfying to flesh out your fishing repertoire with new goodies… what more could you want from DLC? With a low price point of £5.99 as a bonus, The Pale Reach certainly offers players a worthwhile reason to re-visit Dredge and expands upon the wondrous horrors that they would’ve experienced over the last year.
Dredge: The Pale Reach Review
The Pale Reach stands out as an impressive piece of DLC for Dredge, with all of its extras complementing the satisfying (and endlessly eerie) fishing action of the base game.
It is worth noting that it doesn’t try to change things up too much and its two-hour runtime is on the short side, but with a £5.99 price point and the same rewarding sense of discovery players would’ve experienced in the base game, it’s hard to complain too much. It has certainly got me excited to see what else Black Salt Games have up their sleeves for Dredge, with its future a bright one if this is anything to go by.
Developer: Black Salt Games
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch