As the year begins to wind down and we enter the holiday season, I’ve started looking back to the various games of 2023 that may have passed me by. It’s at this time of year when I begin to think about my personal Game of the Year list and use the downtime to visit the back catalog. Around the start of 2024, I want to post my GOTY list, which I like to refer to as the Devin Sevens: a list of seven games that define the year for me. To that end, the first game on the list was a little indie title known as Dredge and one I’m eager to talk more about. At the same time, the next content patch of Honkai: Star Rail is out so I’ve been tackling that on the side and I want to give a brief discussion on it, as well. These two games will be the topic for this week’s highlight so buckle up because we’re going fishing!

Honkai: Star Rail Patch 1.5

Another month(ish) and another Honkai: SR patch is upon us, this time one themed around ghosts and ghostbusting?! Patch 1.5, titled “The Crepuscule Zone” and released on November 15th, 2023, sees the Trailblazer return to the Loufu after receiving a message from Guinaifen regarding a possible ghost sighting and an opportunity to further her streamer popularity. Compared to other content patches thus far, this one seems the most “side adventure” of them all and that’s alright with me. We’re clearly in the calm before the storm as we march ever closer toward the inevitable 2.0 patch that will give us another full zone to explore. The quest and events this time around are all focused on ghost-like entities causing trouble across the Loufu and trying to put a stop to them with the help of some allies, old and new. It’s been a very light-hearted romp thus far but I’ve yet to complete the whole of the patch to say if anything significant comes from it. One thing I did want to point out, as I found it odd, is the new map for the patch runs questionably on the PS5 version. I’ve been seeing consistent frame dips while moving through the new locations so, hopefully, that’ll be patched in the coming weeks because I don’t see how it should be pushing the PS5 under a steady 60 frames. Ultimately, there’s not as much to say this time around but I am continuing to enjoy myself through the journey so I wanted to report in for anyone playing along. Hears hoping Patch 1.6 really starts ramping up towards the new larger story elements.


Continuing the spooky themes but in late November, I decided, on a whim thanks to PSN’s sales, to pick up Dredge and I am completely captivated by it. For the uninitiated, Dredge is an indie game that marries fishing minigames with resource management into a neat Lovecraftian package. The core gameplay of Dredge is sailing around, fishing at various spots that change based on a day/night cycle, and taking the haul back to sell for upgrades and the like. However, there’s more beneath the surface of Dredge as you quickly discover there are horrors that lurk through the night. Staying out at night or interacting with supernatural phenomena puts you into a panicked state so fishing and exploring at night comes with inherent risks. In addition to standard fish, each fish also has various mutated versions to be discovered, which sell for higher prices and add to the overall horror of what’s hiding under the sea. As for the final conceit of Dredge, you organize your catches in a very “Resident Evil 4” style inventory management system creating a gameplay loop of going out and returning while pushing yourself further to explore during dangerous hours in order to maximize efficiency and upgrade further.

I must say, I expected to like the game but Dredge may be a surprise top contender this year despite how abnormally intense the game releases have been for 2023. Dredge is, at its core, an addictive gameplay loop and unmatched vibe. There’s a story to be uncovered but it’s fairly limited and not really as important as the atmosphere itself. Dredge can rapidly switch between relaxing and unsettling as you sail around its open map, making it one of the more unique experiences of the year. It’s also not a relatively long game, seeing me finish the vast majority of its quests around the 12 to 13-hour mark. It doesn’t overstay its welcome while simultaneously being something you don’t want to put down, making it a perfect weekend game. As of writing this, the first expansion for Dredge, The Pale Reach, was released on November 16th, 2023, adding a couple more hours of content to the game so I’ll be diving into it next to see how it fairs in comparison. If you’re on the fence or curious, I highly recommend Dredge to anyone interested in fishing and management games but also anyone, in general, as you’re not likely to regret giving it a chance.

And there you have it. It’s been a lighter one this past week due to the US holiday switching things up. After I finish up my time with Dredge, I’ll be looking at other experiences from this year that I need to check out or finish up. Currently, I’m thinking it’s finally time to work back through my journey with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Stay tuned for more.