Battlefleet Gothic was created by Games Workshop as a spin-off of the popular Warhammer 40,000 series, in the same way as Blood Bowl and Space Hulk. In this case, the board game, developed by Forge World at the dawn of the new millennium, focuses on space battles. In 2016 Focus Interactive commissioned the PC version to the Parisian developer Tindalos which in Spain went a bit under the radar unlike what happened across the Alps, where sales were satisfactory to the point of leading to the creation of the sequel, Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 in fact, which we will analyze on this page.
In the previous episode we wore the braids of Admiral Spire who had to face the warlord Abaddon of the Forces of Chaos; everything was set during the Twelfth Black Crusade. This sequel takes hold about 700 years later, to be exact in the final stages of the Thirteenth Black Crusade, when the Pietranera Fortress, the last bastion in defense of the Empire, is made to fall on the surface of planet Cadia: scenes portrayed during the training prologue which, once completed, will unlock the three campaigns for single player with which Battlefleet is equipped, that is the imperial one, where we will find Methuselah-Spire in splendid form, that of the Necron and that of Tiranidi. A nice step forward compared to the original title, which had a single story-mode. But that's not all: while in the first there were four, here, in the modality skirmish, there are all twelve factions also available in the board game, each with its own ramifications. Thus we will find, for example, the Biel-Tan of the Asuryani, the Death Skullz of the Orks and the Dark Angels of the Space Marines, for a truly impressive variety. It goes without saying that each has specific abilities, although in many cases they tend to resemble each other. Unfortunately, the single battles are not very varied: you can play duels 1 on 1 or 2 on 2, both against the AI and facing human opponents. Two le mode: the domain provides for the capture and maintenance of strategic areas until the collection of a certain number of points; in addition there is the classic conquest in which the victory is obtained by eliminating all the opposing units. As we understand, therefore, most of the work was directed towards the countryside.
The prologue cannot be skipped and has some aspects that we did not like at all: the invasiveness of the aids in the first few bars is really nerve-wracking. Not only does the game pause by itself, prompting the user for trivial actions like moving a ship from one point to another, in an attempt to explain the basic mechanics (an aspect in which it only succeeds up to a certain point); meanwhile, the thumbnails of the characters appear on the top of the screen exchanging jokes about the progress of the battle and on the right of the semi-permanent pop-ups recall some of the key commands. The result is that on the one hand you are unable to follow the plot well and on the other hand you end up skipping all the suggestions, which could prove useful, to practice on your own. Once the forced tutorial has been completed, you can select one of the three campaigns we wrote above. They are independent from each other, even if they share some key moments lived from different points of view. The single player of Battlefleet Gothic can be schematized in two pillars: the main one, in real time, sees us at the helm of a fleet of spaceships; the "secondary" one (but not too much) is characterized by a star map where artificial intelligence and the player move their troops in turn to conquer the solar systems.
The management is conceptually similar to that of Civilization, albeit very simplified: for example, there is no form of diplomacy or cultural domination, so that to appropriate a sector it is sufficient to face the stationed troops in a duel. You can delegate the task to the CPU which will return a result based on the values in the field, but the main battles, in which the plot progresses, must be faced by the player in first person. Each planet provides one of the four main resources; it can also be upgraded to become more efficient and reinforced with guard systems to keep enemy counter-offensives at bay.
The experience gained on the battlefield translates into skills to unlock (more powerful shields, reduced reload time of special skills) and a greater fleet capacity, which can be enriched by the most massive frigates as you reach the last level. During the course of the campaign it may happen to make choices that affect its progress: for example in the imperial one, at a certain point, you can decide whether to ally with the Eldar or fight them. In the same way, you can't even lose too many shifts in the nerve-wracking wait to accumulate resources because the longer you remain with your hands, the more the level of emergency increases and, beyond a certain point, One of the most important merits that must be recognized to the French developers is that of having faithfully respected the universe of Warhammer. It was difficult to condense the infinite facets that have stratified over the years into a strategic one, but Tindalos has managed to present some of the most iconic characters without watering down the levels of expectation of fans. We will therefore find "mythical" figures such as Trazyn the Infinite o Belisarius Cawl, and other faces more than familiar to those who frequent the Games Workshop universe. The other side of the coin is that the slightly more general public may struggle to get involved in the course of events. The dubbing, in English only, is really well done as well as the cut-scenes which are a cross between drawing and computer graphics animation.
The strategic part is much more like that of a Total War than of a StarCraft, so to speak. First of all, the number of vessels is low on average, especially in campaign missions where seven units are rarely exceeded. Also, no matter how much time can be accelerated, the rhythms are extremely slow. The risk of getting bored is averted by a truly noteworthy tactical depth.
We will immediately learn that it is necessary to meticulously govern the movements of the spaceships: it is necessary to take into account the tonnage, which will make the change of direction all the more difficult the more the dimensions are imposing; of the position towards the opponents, as some weaponry, positioned on the sides, can only be used when an enemy is parallel; even speed, because shields and weapon power could be sacrificed to reach a point of advantage in a short period of time. In addition to this, each spaceship has specific abilities, and it is useless to remember how the careful use of each of these can cause disruptive effects in the dynamics of a battle. There are three values to monitor: shield level, hull health and crew morale. It could happen that a series of close shots causes the troops to mutiny and prevents the ship from being controlled; when this situation arises, it is possible to try to regain control by suppressing the revolt on board, or to self-destruct it with serious consequences for all those around it. Each vessel then has some critical points, so by concentrating the attacks on the engine you can reduce mobility or by shooting at the deck you can try to take out the admiral (with the above consequences). The most challenging task is to control all the units of the fleet simultaneously: even some veterans may find some bread for their teeth in front of Battlefield Gothic: Armada II, especially in the arenas online.
- Operating system: Windows 10 Pro 64bit
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
- Memory: 16 GB of RAM
- Sistema operativo: Windows 7/8/10 (64 bits)
- Processore: Intel Core i5-3450 (3.1 GHz) o AMD Athlon FX-6300 (3.5 GHz)
- Memory: 8 GB of RAM
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7870
- Memory: 50 GB of available space
- Sistema operativo: Windows 7/8/10 (64 bits)
- Processore: Intel Core i7-3820 (3.6 GHz) o AMD Ryzen 5 1600X (3.6 GHz)
- Memory: 16 GB of RAM
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 or AMD Radeon R9 380
- Memory: 50 GB of available space
The gaming experience is unfortunately ruined by annoying ones technical problems. The first, paradoxically, concerns pathfinding: it is really absurd that in open space the spaceships do not reach the designated destination only because the line that connects them intersects with asteroids (which, moreover, are one of the few elements with which it is possible to interact on the map). Likewise it is irritating that sometimes they do not stop at the indicated point or that they do not head in the desired direction; even more unnerving that double clicking on the ship icon does not always reposition the camera, and therefore you have to go and look around the screen. The strategic map, very large, cannot be explored by moving the cursor on the edges of the screen, but it is necessary to move with the directional arrows. Also, still talking about single player campaign, several users have complained about crash in the imperial and tyranian ones, while with the Necros there seem to be no problems. To be honest, at least from this point of view, we have nothing to report. There remains a deepening to do about the balance of the units: with all the meat on the fire it was inevitable that some balance problems would arise, but what happens in the conquest missions borders on ridicule. In fact, the CPU manages to reach the first strategic point in a few seconds (this is even more evident during the campaign), when the player's troops, even when launched at maximum speed, are still halfway to get to the closest one. From then on it is a succession of movements from one area of the map to another without the slightest chance of reversing the tide of the battle because the points accumulate in a very short time. We also see critical issues in the skirmishes with even more paradoxical results: at a very easy level (the lowest of the five) the entire fleet of our Ultramarines was literally wiped out by a single Ork Deadnot.
The versatile U she is in better shape than ever under the artistic direction of Tindalos. An applause goes to the designers who have been able to meticulously recreate all the details of the miniatures of the Warhammer universe, in particular of the larger vessels, which can be admired thanks to the remarkable zoom level. There is to be enchanted in observing the gothic architecture of the imperial ships, and the slow rhythms allow you to spend a few more seconds than usual to feast your eyes (especially if you use 4K monitors). The explosions are very dramatic and also the effects of the missiles do a good job of keeping the player glued to the screen. Thumbs down for the user interface which is confusing: the menus surround three of the four sides of the screen, are invasive and not very immediate and it takes a lot of familiarity to quickly reach the information you need. We would also have something to say about the zoom level, which does not allow you to keep an adequate portion of the map under control, forcing you to constantly move and making it almost impossible to open two war fronts at the same time. However, there are some improvements that deserve to be reported: one above all the possibility of using the specific ability of a spaceship belonging to a selected group, without necessarily having to open the menu dedicated to it. The possibility of coloring the ships at will has disappeared, but it is not a lack that we feel to reproach given the variety of troops available. Excellent soundtrack.
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2, despite the criticisms we have leveled at it in the body of the review, is a good title, even excellent if you consider the universe it explores: it is probably one of the best uses of the Games Workshop license. The respect and care, not only artistic, with which the developers have treated the characters of Warhammer 40,000 is one of the reasons for the pride of this production. In addition to all this, the tactical depth is also remarkable, despite some inevitable balance problems that hopefully can be solved with patches. Unfortunately, the impression is that too much meat on the fire has distracted the developers who have slipped on some banana peels. We would have preferred a single campaign, perhaps a little more varied, and more structured multiplayer support. The few modalities and the small number of participants leave a sense of unexpressed potential.
- One of the best games set in the Warhammer universe
- Great graphics, excellent voice acting and soundtrack
- Great variety of breeds
- Multiplayer is very sacrificed
- Several technical bugs
- Balance problems