Brutal Satisfaction – Battlefleet Gothic: Armada Review (PC)
With a fairly shallow knowledge of Warhammer 40k, the sheer volume of lore contained within the universe is overwhelming. Most people can identify what Warhammer 40k is, mostly down to its unique visual style, but only some truly know what everything is within the confides of the brand.
Battlefleet Gothic Armada is typically Warhammer 40k. Everything is titanic, bold and direct. From the towering ships, to the strong imperial mannerism in the dialogue, it’s typically 40k. Even as someone not all that familiar with the world, Battlefleet is imposing but hugely endearing. In fairness, the game needs to hook the player in, mainly to keep them playing through the ever rising difficulty curve.
Its table-top roots can be felt in the core gameplay. Counting numbers, predicting out comes and rolling eyes at bad rolls. There’s plenty to learn and even more to micromanage. Thankfully the lengthy single player acts as a great teacher. Tutorials are neatly weaved into story missions, resulting in players learning the ins and outs while not feeling clueless. Breaking down each key phase of play, complete with practical pointers, the early chapters of Battlefleet are the perfect introduction.
The further the story progress, the more expansive it world becomes. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada is huge. Single player becomes a branching path of options and consequences. Player’s are given access to a map of galaxy, complete with enemy placements and events. Each planet has the chance to fall under threat by one of the three enemy factions in the game. Roaming bands of Orks lay siege to convoys while the forces of Chaos ravage star bases. This is where decision making becomes a key element of the game.
If a area is left uncontested or defended it will fall into enemy hands. Players will are punished in profound ways if they fail objectives or to defend planets. Resources will be drained hindering any ability to and improve the fleet’s ships. Suddenly Battlefleet becomes a much more deadly foe, constantly forcing the player to try and keep their ahead above water. Every choice can make or brake a single player campaign, especially as the time ticks on.
Micromanaging the resources and progress of a fleet is vital to long term success. Each ship has abilities to gain, crew to train and assets to upgrade. The options available allow players to craft a fleet that suits their style and needs. Building a hugely defensive ship can easily be achieved if the player’s focus is correct. Ensuring missions are carried out successfully and planets are defend is key to long term success.
Battlefleet’s core gameplay changes leaps and bounds depending on how each fleet is built. Bigger ships act as the figureheads of each fleet, packing large weapons and hefty shields. Smaller ships act as escorts, flanking the fleets more powerful units. Each units has various stats that play dictate their role in combat. Studying the weapons, abilities, armour and speeds of each ship is a core part of the game. Battlefleet allows players to pick the range and angle ships attack from. Optimizing weapons and their range can make or break a mission, knowledge truly is power.
Victory is rarely simple, Battlefleet Gothic: Armada pays the player no respect, it’s tough as nails. Battling through the single campaign produces some epic moments. Witnessing two ships firing their entire arsenal at each other is a true spectacle. Scraping through by the skin of your teeth is common, but always satisfying. Defeat will happen, even with the greatest of plans. Even after failure, Battlefleet constantly remains engaging.
Away from the campaign, Battlefleet offers multiplayer and skirmish modes. These modes also open up different factions to play as. Each respective faction have their own perks and traits, fitting certain play styles. Both modes beef up the already extensive amount of play time, all while allowing players to try new things.
The only problems Battlefleet suffers from are technical ones. Matchmaking bugs, crashes and the odd issue starting the game can detract from the overall experience. Beyond that, Battlefleet is a hugely generous offering of quality content. The difficulty and depth won’t suit everyone, but the target market will appreciate it.