In Dreadlands, you play as one of three factions in a post-apocalyptic rampage to control the Dreadlands in which the game takes place. This title has a very crazy Max atmosphere where you start and build from there as part of a relatively not-known small gang. It’s a pretty heavy RPG game that I like. Many tactical games leave the story in the background to focus on the key elements of the game. It’s nice, but gives the style more of a board game feel. A continuous story with a good number of side quests connecting all this changes the style enough to be remarkable.
Continuation of the point I have just made. Even tactical games with a good story often don’t give you the freedom that a role-playing game offers. What you find is that you get into the Routine of having a bit of history, doing a level, a bit more history, etc. This tends to make progress quite linear. Instead, these games usually focus on mechanical progress in building units, learning skills, etc. However, there aren’t many real adventures out there. Dreadlands gives you other areas to visit on the map. Some of them are raids on gang hideouts or creature caves, but there are also cities to explore and experiences for a bit of random spice. It expands the world for you, which is certainly welcome.
I’m going to focus more on the mechanics in Dreadlands than the plot. The story is great, but it’s massive. Use my Mad Max Analogy from before and cross it with the first Fallout Games and you’re kind of there… sort of. I think we need to focus more on how the game is going. Since this is primarily a tactical game, the way it is played is much more important than anything else.
The faction you play is not just a cosmetic thing. Each faction plays a little differently. I took the role of Scrapper for my game. Scrapers are basically a bunch of scavengers who build cool things out of garbage. These elements are quite obvious in the tactical maps that you get at the beginning of each game. You get four of them and they come randomly from a bridge that you collect and build as you walk. For scrappers, there are scrap mines, blow-up rats and Mediglow stations that heal units. They also explode and damage or kill these units if they stay nearby for too long.
Here are some interesting mechanics in the game that require you to change your playing style in the middle of the game. Weapons in this post-apocalyptic environment are unreliable and have a Chance to block. This prevents you from following a Run-and-Gun approach for too long. There is a tactical map for solving weapon traffic jams, but since tactics can only be used once per game for each map, this will not necessarily be useful in the long run. Repair kits perform the same task, but are not in abundance. bullets are also rare, which means that you need to be careful how much you use.
On the other hand, running headlong into hand-to-hand action is not always the best Option. First of all, if you land your unit outside and get blow-up, you will probably be pinned down. Fixed units lose most of their actions, so you can create a sitting duck. Melee units are locked in melee. It makes sense, it prevents you from striking and firing a single weapon, but it also makes other units peril for melee striking.
With everything I just mentioned, Dreadlands adds a level of difficulty that I really like. With too many tactical games, you rely on the same units to win and you stick to the same tactics to impose yourself. You can’t do that here and the game forces you to stay on your toes. Resources in the Dreadlands are scarce, so you need to figure out how you are going to use them. You collect the scrap metal needed to upgrade your base and build things and medicine packs that … Well, these are packages of medicines. You can use them yourself or give them to other settlements that you will find on your trip. This will increase your reputation with these groups and give you better equipment in their stores. You will also need glow. This Resource comes from glow-hunting missions (which are pretty darn difficult) and as quest rewards. Basic upgrades need to shine, so this is a very rare commodity that you will probably have to kill for.
So, there is a lot to like here. My handles are more Nit picks, to be honest, and none really affect the game. First of all, there are a few spelling mistakes that I noticed in the script. Since this is a widely written game, I think good spelling and grammar are really important. The first mistake I noticed was in one of the opening screens and it didn’t make a good first impression. I’m not a fan of dialogues in general. I can see why the developers made certain decisions in the way they created the language, but a lot of it feels forced to me and it’s a bit repugnant. There are no spoken parts that I have noticed yet, and greeting NPCs only gives you strange sound effects. These are all trifles compared to what Dreadlands does correctly, but I think they are annoying enough to be noteworthy.