Posted on 08 Apr 2016 by Bis18marck70

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada

The Defence

Developer: Tindalos Interactive
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Genre: Strategy
Platform: PC
Review copy: Yes
Release date: 21 Apr 2016

The Prosecution

Minimum
Recommended
OS: Windows
CPU: AMD FX 3.6 GHz
Intel Core i5 3.3 GHz
VGA: AMD Radeon HD 6850
Nvidia GeForce 560
RAM: 4 GB
HDD: 10 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: None
Mod Support: Possible
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: 120+
OS: Windows
CPU: AMD FX 4.0 GHz
Intel Core i7 3.9 GHz
VGA: AMD Radeon R9 270X
Nvidia GeForce 760
RAM: 8 GB
HDD: 10 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: None
Mod Support: Possible
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: 120+

I’ll say it just one more time. Hit or miss. That’s essentially the three words that define Warhammer games brought to digital life. We’ve seen the Good, we’ve seen the Bad, but we have never seen the Ugly. Healthy scepticism is what is needed for these games. Well, all games really, but for a Warhammer fan I take liberty in saying that I scrutinize these just a tiny bit more. I guess a bit of bias for a universe that I care about, is to be expected. It’s good for you know too, informed opinions are the best opinions after all. To stick with that mantra, I’ll also admit that I’ve never played the tabletop Gothic game. I’ve been interested in it, but never bothered. But when Battlefleet Gothic: Armada was announced, I knew the time had come to finally reach for the stars. Into the Eye of Terror I go.

Out I come. With a beautifully visualized intro, my fleet is at my command. Truth be told, I had expected different. Much different. Somehow my mind was stuck with the tabletop formula, everything progressing slow and calculated. The kind of experience that makes you double check every option, triple check every move and pray to the Emperor (or your personal equivalent) that the dice fall just right. What I got was fluid, immersive and fast-paced. It took me aback and the first battle I got into, well let’s just say I shed a tear when my snail paced cogitators failed to save one of my ships. But you know what? In my own masochistic way, I loved that failure or rather what that failure represents: Battlefleet Gothic: Armada stands on its own feet.

Orkish engineering, it's special.

What’s going on here is what should be happening with every Warhammer game out there. Developers that understand the universe of 40k (or Fantasy – looking at you SEGA and CA) and, above everything, respect it. It’s what allows you to create gameplay that, far away from the dice rolling tabletop, works. Fast, fluid, with plenty of depth to keep the battle thundering on even in the quieter moments. The opening planning phases last but a hair’s breath, your initial tactics get blown out into the warp and as you scramble to save isolated ships, you note that the enemies transport are dangerously close to the extraction zone. Combine that with a solid presentation, beautifully realized models and a clandestine feeling of insignificance in a vast galaxy. In short, Warhammer 40k is written all over this. That is not to say that Armada is flawless, it’s in version 0.6. Nevertheless, if by this point the basis isn’t right, it’s not going to be right for 1.0. But Armada’s basis is right. It needs polish, it needs optimisation, balancing, updated sound effects – maybe it could just be a bit more gritty and booming in parts – and above all it needs to keep the momentum it has.

Talking about momentum… Orks. Who are you kidding, I should have seen it coming. The word chaotic doesn’t even cut it.  In contrast to the rigged and orthodox approach to war that we see with the Imperial and Chaos forces, Orks bring a much needed diversion. To make it short, they are insubordinate, radical and green. Limited in their vocabulary but making it up with sheer enthusiasm, they are a force to be reckoned with. At least as long as their blood runs hot, they might very well run when things get tough. So unlike the other races, Orks are refreshing in their simplicity yet uncontrollable nature. With ‘Kustomizable ships from the off start, a balls to the walls attitude reaps rewards. In contrast, efficient Imperial gunnery and iron discipline is need for the forces of mankind to emerge victorious. As for the Dark Eldar, we shall see for as up to now they shroud themselves in mystery.

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

The version we have now shows us that Armada could be a title that is one to keep an eye on. Here’s a word of warning though. The trial campaign, as promising as it looks, offers but a glimpse of what could be in store. A few engagements here and there, a sneak peak of the Dark Elves, that’s that. I’d also like to report a surprising amount of ‘humanity’ and ‘genuine concern’ for the citizens of the Imperium – last time I checked Admirals didn’t care if millions died from starvation. Ah well, maybe it was some kind of strategic chokepoint that needed those supplies… Jokes aside, the narrative understands the lore but such story elements, as convenient as they might be for gameplay purposes, are hopefully not there to stay. That said, if Armada can sustain itself for longer than the initial WOW-factor, if Armada can create an enticing campaign and above all, if Armada can capture the bombastic and unscrupulous 40k factor, then we will have a good game. Otherwise, it might be the first Ugly one.

Comments (1)


Posts: 286
L Coulsen
Posted 09 Apr 2016, 21:40
I've been sceptically optimistic about this for a while now. You're making me less sceptical