Dredge: The Pale Reach DLC Review (PS5)

What better time to travel to a cold, icey biome than when it’s cold irl!

Released: November 16, 2023
Available on: PS4/PS5/Steam/Consoles
Genre: Lovecraftian Fishing
Developer: Black Salt Games
Publisher: Team17
Review key provided by developers

Man, it’s been a while since I last played Dredge. If this is the first-time hearing about it, or need a little refresher, it’s a fishing game with a Lovecraftian twist. You’re just a fisherman that ended up being caught in something bigger than you anticipated and while you’re fishing or dredging out debris with your trusty boat, you’re dodging attacks from aggressive fish, trying to not go insane with the dark playing tricks on you, and helping out the locals on each island. You can check out my review for Dredge’s main campaign here.

Before we go into the DLC content, I do want to mention some changes and additions that were added after I played and talked about Dredge. There are no more timed pursuits which, aside from one prologue pursuit, were given by the hooded figures. On one hand, I’m glad these guys don’t die on you anymore since you could easily start it and not be far enough in the story to catch the fish they want and I remember it being vague that it was timed, but on the other I didn’t mind it being timed and I would have been happy if it was made more clear and it didn’t automatically start. We also got some updates to the map. Now, you can zoom in and out, you can mark your map with six different marker types, and the map was expanded to fit The Pale Reach. I’m also guessing this new real estate will be used for the other upcoming DLC. Two new characters were also added, The Painter and The Photographer. The Painter added in boat customization and this allows you to change your boat’s flag, the paint job, and add or remove bunting (which just adds a string of triangle flags as decoration). You do get some customization for free, but there are a lot of flags you need to find and dredge out from the ocean and you can get more colors by giving the needed aberrant crabs (which were also added in alongside him). The Photographer is the character that gives you photo mode after doing a quick pursuit for her. The Mayor will tell you about her and where she is and she also tells you about some new wildlife.

Now, it’s time to talk about the new DLC, The Pale Reach. Since I did already finish the game, I will be approaching this as someone that played it after finishing the main campaign. Once it’s downloaded, you’ll find that there is something new down south as your map was mysteriously marked with a big circle and a question mark. Of course, you end up sailing down to see what could possibly be there. Curiosity is way stronger than any fear that might still linger after all that you’ve been through already. The silhouette is interesting and once you get into the new area, you’ll see that it’s a big, icy biome. It may look like a regular island that is incredibly iced over, but it’s an ice field that may have drifted towards this area from the south. Hopefully, it stays there so it doesn’t pose a threat to the islands here.

As you arrive at this ice field, you’ll see that our favorite Traveling Merchant is here already investigating the place. She not only reveals that there were others that were here, long ago based on the equipment being old, but this seems to fall in line with an old sailor’s tale. This very well may be The Pale Reach that is in that tale. Surely not though, right? Anyway, the Traveling Merchant tells us about the old schematics and metal that was left behind and if you get some of the missing pieces, she can craft up some useful equipment. Of course, you’ll have to dredge these pieces up. The first is the Icebreaker which, as you can guess, breaks the small pieces of ice floating around. This one is really helpful as some of the paths in The Pale Reach are narrow and winding and the small ice chunks makes it even trickier. And oh man, does it feel so good to just ram into these ice chunks and hear them crumble. Plus, it does let you take shortcuts and get some dredge spots that were blocked off by them. The other is the Ice Shaper which shapes ice, obviously, and making this will allow the Traveling Merchant to be able to sell blocks of ice. The ice blocks will keep your fish fresh for longer. Though, this might not be that helpful unless you don’t sell your fish as soon as you can.

However, as you’re looking for the pieces you need for the new equipment, you’ll find that the calm icy scenery only hides its sinister secret. Not to mention that it’s the hunting grounds of its own unique monster (or should I say monsters) called the Narwhal. You learn this after finding your path into The Pale Reach blocked and The Photographer hanging out. She wanted to take a picture of it and has been trying to lure it with the few fish scraps she had. This introduces you a way to lure it to break any other blockades and to lull it for a little while. There is a permanent feeding spot, but I didn’t spot it until I was already at the end. The Narwhal does scare off the Photographer, but it won’t with you. It’s actually very persistent and will chase you longer than I remembered any of the other monsters did. It also easily sneaks up on you, as I would just happen to spot it in front of me or barely hear it surface behind me. I can definitely see this guy being a tough opponent if you’re not fully upgraded and have all the abilities.

That’s not all though, as you’ll soon find members of the crew that you saw the evidence of. Not in a good state, but they are still able to converse with you. You also see remnants of a giant monster, seemingly being a bigger, matured version of the Narwhal that attacks you, which may or may not still be alive. You’ll be able to piece together what happened both from what these crew members tell you and their journals as well as help them the only way you can.

Doing the storyline here will net you some rewards. I won’t mention what they are, but they do seem useful. Probably not as useful for those of us playing this as post-game content, but more so for those that will do this in the middle of the campaign. I will say, though, that one of the rewards may seem like it’s single-use, but it’s not. There’s also a side pursuit as this also adds in a new hooded figure, and thus adds new book buff, and an obelisk to give a bit more insight on what happened.

As much as I did find it fun, it isn’t without faults. I do wish it was a bit more integrated so it feels like it was always part of the game rather than something added later on. Like, having The Mayor mention rumors about an ice island suddenly showing up and he marks your map gets marked with a big circle and a question mark. It just seemed a bit strange that photo mode and customization was added to feel it was always part of the world, but The Pale Reach wasn’t. It also gives you a “Wait, that’s it?” once you do everything as the end of the area doesn’t really feel like an ending. It felt like it just stopped.

The Pale Reach does continue with doing its atmosphere well. It’s calm during the day, but during the night I was pretty paranoid with all of the sounds and crackling of the ice. Maybe part of it was that it’s been a while, but man was I paranoid and panicking sometimes just like how my character probably was in-universe.


Honestly, I wasn’t planning on playing The Pale Reach. I don’t know, it’s just been so long since I last played Dredge I guess I was just not feeling it. This had me debating with myself whether or not to play it. As you can see, though, I ended up playing it and I’m glad I did. It was nice returning to Dredge and the new area was pretty fun. It does feel like it’s meant to play while you’re still in the middle of the story, but it was still fun nonetheless. There are things that could have been done to make this DLC, like integrating it more into the world and having an ending that feels more like an ending, but other than that it’s an enjoyable DLC. It’s worth coming back to Dredge for The Pale Reach for those that already finished the game and it’s worth buying alongside the full game for those that haven’t yet.

The Pale Reach certainly made me excited for the other upcoming DLC, The Iron Rig, especially since it seems it’s going to be bigger. I hope I’ll be able to come back and talk about it once it releases.


♡ ♡ ♡ A witch that goes for anything that peaks her interest no matter the genre. Currently obsessed with the Persona series and trying to make a dent in my backlog. ♡ ♡ ♡

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