DREDGE: The Pale Reach wallpaper
November 24, 2023

Grab your gumboots, hoisten your overalls and reel in your rods because it’s time to return to the Indie GoTY Nominee, DREDGE, in our The Pale Reach review!

Blacksalt Games have released additional content for this swimmingly good fishing-cross-horror experience called The Pale Reach. We reviewed the base game of DREDGE earlier this year, and since it’s sold over 1,000,000 copies and has been hooking nominations for multiple awards!

DREDGE has been an absolute hit and now we can net a fraction more to wet our appetites. The Pale Reach features a new ice-based biome with new fish to catch but is it worth diving into the depths for? Find out in our The Pale Reach review!

DREDGE: The Pale Reach review ice biome

Being a fisherman is really ice.

DREDGE: The Pale Reach Review – Story

The Pale Reach can be plunged into at any point during your main campaign, as it appears on your map as a large circled area. Head south towards the frost-covered landscape and you’ll find a port to dock with. Here you’ll run into the travelling merchant. She will tell you about this mysterious land mass and how explorers have disappeared from it over the years. This is the only main dock/shop in the game and can access new items, gear and unlockables for your boat.

DREDGE: The Pale Reach review map

There are also markers you can put on the map to help you remember important locations.

The set-up is way more enticing than the payoff, with the main story mission barely taking an hour to complete. The positive is that it nets you a neat little piece of equipment that allows fast travel back to the starting island of Greater Marrow. Unfortunately, the story is shallow at best with the snow-based location the main draw over the main mission.

DREDGE: The Pale Reach review travelling merchant

What a cool place you have here.

DREDGE: The Pale Reach Review – Gameplay

You’ll find the core gameplay elements are still exactly the same here, although this icy expanse does include two more unlockable mechanics. The first is an Icebreaker that will carve out paths through the small icebergs littered through the area.

DREDGE: The Pale Reach review icebreaker

Definitely not calling my boat the Titanic.

The other piece of gear you can unlock by finding it is essentially the ability to store ice on your boat. This allows fish you catch to last longer before you are able to sell them off. Both of these items are reasonably easy to find and are a good chunk of the missions.

DREDGE: The Pale Reach Review – Visuals/Audio

If you have fished around with the base game then there isn’t a whole lot to say here. If you haven’t, feel free to check out our full DREDGE review. In saying that, the frozen islands of The Pale Reach are a good change to the existing biomes.

There is a fell voice on the air…oh wait that’s my stomach

With ice crunching under your boat as you listen to the wintry winds you will feel like you are in a snowy wonderland. At night the howling winds ramp up to bring to life the dread that this game is so good at portraying.

DREDGE: The Pale Reach Review – What Else?

Since the release of the main game, there have been a few free updates that included some great quality-of-life components to the game. One is a very welcome photo mode to show off your adventures on the high seas. The other is the ability to customise your boat, add a flag that you can dredge up from wreckage or give your boat a new coat of paint. Basic colours are all available at first but for something more exotic, you’ll have to catch a new set of sea aberrations.

DREDGE: The Pale Reach review fish encyclopedia

There’s always a bigger fish…

With The Pale Reach, you’ll get access to a couple of side missions to anchor down and filling up your encyclopedia of fish will take a bit to complete. There are 11 new species to find with each having rare aberrations to hunt down, some tricker than others and requiring special ice fishing gear. The trophies/achievements are all based on finishing the missions and catching all fish so nothing too difficult here.

DREDGE: The Pale Reach Review – Conclusion

Sailing through the cold southern area of The Pale Reach was an icy blast even though it was short-lived. Leaving you wanting more is generally a good sign that the developers have done their job right and this is definitely the case for this DLC. However, unlocking the new equipment would come in handy during the main game rather than after it as after completing these missions there is nothing left to do.
DREDGE: The Pale Reach review visuals

The sun rising over this ice-covered ocean is the perfect time for fishing and photos of course!

Whilst 100% completion was only around 3 hours, the price is more than reasonable, with it costing less than two cups of coffee. Black Salt games will surely wade into new waters for their next game but let’s hope a DREDGE sequel is a possibility.

So, why should you play DREDGE: The Pale Reach?

  • If you enjoyed the main game
  • It’s very well priced
  • Adds another layer of intricacy

But why shouldn’t you play DREDGE: The Pale Reach?

  • Very short play time
  • Bare bones story
  • A lot of empty ice areas

A review code on PlayStation 5 was kindly provided by the publisher for the purpose of our DREDGE: The Pale Reach review. If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out our full Dredge review for the main game and join us on the Qualbert Discord to chat about all things fishy!

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