Wot I Think: Battlefleet Gothic – Armada

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada [official site] is based on a now-defunct table-top game set in the Warhammer 40K universe. And that means that it comes with the same funky blend of fantasy and sci-fi you’ve come to expect from Games Workshop. Orcs are now “Orks.” You plan via a “Tactical Cogitator,” that kind of thing. 40K is as familiar as a piece of well-worn furniture around these parts, but if you’re not accustomed to the world it can all be a little obtuse. Whether you’re drawn in by the setting or have to cut through the silliness and jargon, you might be in for a treat. This is one of the best real-time tactical games I’ve played in quite some time.

For those not familiar with Games Workshop’s oeuvre, here are some basics. Most of their table top games operate on a points system. Skirmishes work by having two (or more) players select which units they want to field. In this space setting, big bombastic battlecruisers may cost 200-or-so points. Smaller support ships could run 30. Each player has a cap, say 600 points. You can bring whatever you want to the bout so long as you don’t exceed that limit.

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada works just the same. Each match – be it in the campaign, multiplayer or a customised one-off battle – will have you choosing one of four factions (Imperium, Ork, Eldar, Chaos) and then constructing a fleet before you deploy (i.e. position) them and commence with murder-killing. Whoever forces a retreat or accomplishes the mission objectives wins, and that’s it. Except it’s not.

Translating a pure, turn-based table-top experience into a digital, real-time one is a Herculean feat. This is a game where everything from firing arcs to targeting priority matter quite a bit. And even with a handful of ships on-screen, you can’t micromanage all of them as you would with real-world miniatures. As a designer, the options are either to make the game run so slow that it moves like molasses uphill in winter, or to cut out a lot of the tactical finesse you want your players to wield in order to keep things moving at a decent clip.

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada balances the two by shifting between time-scales with the press of your space bar. And while that sounds about as exciting as weekend spent sorting through tax documents, it’s an exceptional compromise and a vital feature.

Even the smallest engagements can get quite complex in a hurry. Torpedoes are one of the most powerful weapons in the game, but unlike turrets or laser cannons they won’t automatically track their targets. Instead, they fire in broad cones. And because the missiles take time to reach their targets, unless you’re maneuvering your space-boats with care, your salvos aren’t likely to hit. Where any given ship is facing matters. It pays to plan your approach, and keep as many guns active and tearing through Orkish hides as possible.

That’s where tactical maneuvers come in. Most ships can fire thrusters to make hard turns, or burn a huge amount of fuel to max out their speed for a few seconds. These tricks are essential to master because they can move you out of the line of incoming attacks, or position a rival in just the right spot. They all pull from a limited combustion meter, and once it’s gone, you won’t have access to any of your stunts until it refills.

In-game these systems play together beautifully. I found myself pulling in targets to chase my quicker ships before moving in with the big guns. In critical moments, I’d crank the thrusters to full and ram my foes, forcing them into an asteroid field or impending torpedo barrage. It’s a lot to manage, but I always had something to do, whether it was an ambush or an all-out full frontal assault, each tactic I ran with had me giggly with glee. “Holy hell, that worked?!” I’d shout right after cleaving a dreadnought in two with a giant, ship-mounted spear. And that was before I started playing with each ships’ special abilities.

As you play, either in multiplayer games or in the extensive single-player, you’ll earn renown. You can spend that on ship upgrades to unlock new options that range from massive AOE plasma bombs to fighter squadrons. Once you’ve earned a few, Battlefleet gets even more deliciously nuanced. With a half-dozen skill-laden boats in your flotilla, you’ll be juggling their techniques and cooldowns all the time. Never have I felt control groups and mini-map navigation to be so crucial. Battlefleet is all about tactics, and players that drool over fine-tuned micromanagement will love the breadth and depth of tools at their disposal.

Multiplayer matches thrive on this customization. Each game was distinct. My opponents and I had an ever-shifting roster of admirals and flagships with personalized stats and tactics. More often than not, I was in suspense – eager to see just what my enemy had cooked up. Much like the table-top game on which Battlefleet is based, you’ll never know exactly what you’re getting into, and what kinds of powerful abilities your enemies have. And while that often means you’ll fall into a trap you couldn’t predict, it’s that veil of ignorance that keeps games with others so exciting.

But, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, the biggest draw for me was the campaign. It’s not exactly news to RTS fans that single-player modes are often shite. It’s a rule that’s been consistent for as long as I can remember. Sure you can conjure up counter-examples, Starcraft and Rise of Nations come to mind, but there aren’t many stand-outs. And don’t get me wrong, Battlefleet’s story is a shambling wreck. It’s packed full of storytelling’s most egregious sins like the excessive use on unexplained proper nouns and buckets of melodrama, but it is a joy to play regardless.

Battlefleet Gothic sets up a galaxy full of planets and stars that need defending from the encroaching Chaos. You’re a space captain (or maybe an admiral, it doesn’t matter either way) and you’re leading your empire’s defense against the Ultimate Evil. Along the way you’ll have to beat back hordes of pirates and mercenaries to maintain control and cohesion of your star systems. Each turn you’ll select one of several missions you can run, and within a few turns you’ll gain control of multiple fleets. Then, you’ll fight several battles per round before you regroup, heal-up, upgrade, and jump back into the fray.

Battlefleet Gothic succeeds because it doesn’t treat the failure of one mission as invalid. Instead, your rewards are lessened, and you risk some more significant consequences down the line. You can savescum if you like, but you’ll wind-up at the beginning of your turn, which often means having to repeat a 20-minute skirmish. So you’re encouraged to live with loss and carry on regardless. You can’t even give-up a match without losing access to your ships for a turn. It’s often frustrating, but in the best way.

If you lose, it’s your fault and you have to live with those consequences. It gives weight and meaning to your tactical prowess or shortcomings. And while I took occasional dips into the online multiplayer for the sake of this piece, I couldn’t stop myself from jumping back into the campaign time and time again.

I’ve spent a few days playing Battlefleet Gothic at this point, and I don’t have all that many criticisms. I’ve a few small complaints, such as wishing the camera would pull out farther, and I wish the it was easier to see the specialties of ships as you’re selecting them, but almost everything about BGA is impressive. It captures the essence of its inspiration while faithfully translating the experience into the digital, it’s got an attractive and stark aesthetic, and I’m still giddy over the one time I rammed a battlecruiser through three frigates and destroyed them all without stopping.

More than anything, it’s left me with a wide grin and itchy fingers, and as soon as I’m done here I’ll be jumping right back into the game.

From this site

68 Comments

  1. crowleyhammer says:

    Fantastic, im glad this one turned out great. Loved the tabletop version as a teen.

  2. FriendlyFire says:

    Bear in mind that there’s currently a small controversy surrounding the game: Focus has recently revealed/clarified that ONLY select stores will be receiving the free faction DLCs. The currently confirmed stores are the official Focus store, Steam, Gamesplanet and Amazon.de.

    Any other store selling the game, even legitimate resellers like GMG, Amazon.com, Humble Store, etc., only give you the base game.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Oh, forgot to mention that boxed copies should also all have the bonuses. Damned lack of edit button.

      • Cederic says:

        Yeah, their pre-release bonuses and day zero DLC have put me off even bothering to find out if I’d like the game.

        I just don’t want to support those business practices :(

        • FriendlyFire says:

          Well, the initial thing was actually pretty nice and consumer friendly: all pre-orders were supposed to get the DLC factions (of which there’s two now, up from just the Space Marines), and you could also get in with that bonus if you bought within two months of release. That’s quite generous.

          Unfortunately, they’ve since muddied the waters by making it so only certain stores actually have those bonuses and being extremely unclear about that prior to clarifying (on their forums, without much fanfare). I can see a lot of people, myself included, getting rather pissed at them over it, which will definitely set back their thus far quite good public impression.

        • Silvermarch says:

          1. The bonus DLC are given to anyone who preorders AND purchase the game within 2 months of release.
          2. They are not “Day Zero” DLC. Neither the announced Adeptus Astartes DLC or the as-of-right-now unannounced second faction are released.

        • Aetylus says:

          Actually, their business practices are okay. Pre-order gave Beta access, and anyone who preorders or buys in the first two months gets the first two DLC (neither of which are out yet). So you can check out reviews like this and still get the DLC free if you likethe look of the game.
          (And the game is very very fun)

          • FriendlyFire says:

            The idea is fine. The fact that only some stores have those bonuses and that that was not clear *at all* in the announcements is not.

  3. Haplo says:

    Oh thank God that it’s good.

  4. OldKnivesTale says:

    Feel like I should mention that Games Workshop is bringing back support for the table top game as well as some of their other smaller games through their “Specialist Games” division. So won’t be remain defunct for long :)

    • sosolidshoe says:

      You really shouldn’t be pointing that out, given we’re absolutely no indication from reliable rumour people that BFG is coming back.

      We know they’ll be supporting LotR SBG going forward, we know there will be a Tzeentch-themed Age of Shitmar boxed game later this year which apparently resembles Warhammer Quest, we know there will be a second plastic Horus Heresy boxed game, and we know they’re bringing out a new edition of Blood Bowl.

      Beyond that we have no clue what the new version of the Specialist Games Studio are working on, and honestly I’m not sure how many of the old SGs will actually make a reappearance – Mordheim is out for sure, since they won’t want to be producing products that remind customers how they blew up the setting that made the company and how much richer and more interesting said setting was than the AoS pish they’re peddling now(hence why the “new WQ” is AoS-themed), and the setting is integral to Mordheim. Whether anything else comes back will, I imagine, be dependent on whether they can produce it using the boxed game model(ie one big £100+ box with multiple factions and the rules, and no additional releases), and BFG doesn’t really fit that – we might get 10mm Adeptus Titanicus, for example, but probably won’t see Epic again, and BFG has too many factions.

      • Bweahns says:

        I switched to Kings of War. Fantastic rules that made me realise how horrible the Warhammer ones were. I love the miniatures, especially for how they are priced.

        Glad to see this sounds fun. I played the original game back in the day and loved it.

      • Asurmen says:

        Well, considering that the studio was set up to bring back these games, there’s more to suggest they will than your mere speculation.

    • unacom says:

      After they threw out the master moulds, when they discontinued the game. Nice thinking. Real nice thinking. Or is that just some excuse to keep prices up. As if GW ever needed one…
      Otherwise: Excellent! I still have a small, special place in my heart for BFG and the other specialist games.

  5. Heavenfall says:

    I like how there’s some “emergent” gameplay as well. For example, turrets on your ships that shoot down incoming missiles will cover nearby friendly ships as well. And you can physically block enemy fire onto your ship X by placing your ship Y in the way (friendly shots don’t get blocked). And normally bombs you place take 10 seconds to detonate, but there’s another bomb that makes all other bombs within its radius go off as well – meaning you can build a strategy around combo-ing bombs.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Nauallis says:

    Does this look remarkably like a Starcraft Mod to anybody else?

    I’m not saying it is – but wow, that UI sure looks familiar

    • Tacroy says:

      Starcraft was basically the 40k RTS that Games Workshop couldn’t be arsed to make, so really this is just a case of things coming full circle.

    • Orillion says:

      It has more skulls. Everything in WH40K has more skulls. Even the skulls.

    • DrDiHai says:

      Not a starcraft mod, but I’m absolutely certain that it’s based on The Nexus Incident.

  7. Ham Solo says:

    Having alot of fun with it, my favorite faction are the ocs, of course. Hope the second of the not yet released factions will be the tyranids.

  8. Keios says:

    Now, Games Workshop, why don’t you be good boys and give the Necromunda license to someone so they can make an online persistent turn based strategy game out of it.

    • Jediben says:

      THIS

      • Premium User Badge

        Nauallis says:

        Careful what you wish for! I can just imagine that as a farmville-esque facebook game. Ugh.

    • FlipMooMonkey says:

      The guys who did Mordheim said they’d love to do Necromunda afterwards. I think Mordheim did well enough that that would be a possibility.

      • vahnn says:

        Mordheim was a near-total stinker, I don’t want them coming anywhere near the 40k universe!

      • Hobbes says:

        @ Vahnn – Mordheim was excellent, I still play that on a semi regular basis to this day. Only downside is the load times, Sigmar would not approve of those. I do get that it’s a very “love it or hate it” game, but frankly I fall very much in the love it camp.

        • Kaben says:

          “To this day” – you make it sound like a vintage game – its only been out for 5 months!

    • Michael Anson says:

      Based on the gameplay of Frozen Cortex.

  9. FreshHands says:

    Well, this sure sounds ace plus the awesome ship design of the W40k universe is a strong argument to buy this sooner or later.

    However, personally I never really got into unit micromanagement(special abilities) in RTS games. So I am afraid this might annoy me pretty quickly. Any personal impressions on how fiddly this gets later on?

    • Archonsod says:

      It’s not particularly fiddly. Ship abilities are limited by the size of the ship, and most can be set to auto trigger so you don’t need to babysit them (this also applies to the inherent abilities like boarding parties too). Tactical Cogitator mode also slows things down enough that you’re not having to juggle abilities too much.
      Generally speaking I tend to find it’s a case of letting the AI handle the majority of the fleet (you can give it simple engagement instructions like whether to go front on or broadsides, general engagement distance and target priority) while I micromanage the biggest ship or two. If you’ve ever played it I’d nominate Sword of the Stars as a good comparison – you could theoretically micromanage everything if you desired, but for the most part the ships are quite capable of looking after themselves.

      • TakeItEasyMon says:

        I haven’t found the AI able to hit the broadside of a barn with auto-fired torpedos and some of the abilities, but maybe that’s just me? Especially in PVP. If you choose torps for your escorts and bring a handful you have to run them all manually if you want to get good hits in, so you are hot-keying between 8 or 9 ships constantly to get off torp barrages and maneuver them back into position. I’ve felt you really have to constantly babysit every little ship for them not to just explode when playing against human opponents? Not that that’s fundamentally a bad thing but maybe if the pace were a bit slower?

    • Aetylus says:

      I nearly didn’t buy this as I don’t the manicness of RTS’s. But in single player you can pause to your hearts content. And in MP you can automate all the speed clicking – so get the AI to fire off torpedoes and bombs while you focus on driving your ship around, positioning, maneuvering.

  10. TakeItEasyMon says:

    Interesting, I’ve had the exact opposite experience with this game throughout the beta.

    The balancing has been awful for multiplayer, and forcing you to fight vastly upgraded and higher-tier opponents with little on your side, and also no ability tho choose which matches or what point values to fight. So having to play say, an ‘assassination’ mission with no choice with the slowest race in the game (Orks), vs the fastest race in the game (Eldar), the fight is over before it starts.

    When you lose ships or matches some of your ships are unavailable for the following fight. Spend some time being stuck fighting 600 or 700 point matches vs level 8 opponents with most of your ships un-upgraded or ‘out of battle’ for repairs and it’s a herculean task.

    The game is incredibly micro-heavy for the pacing, and your ability to ‘slow time’ is very limited. Certain races require extremely deft micro to not die instantly (Eldar), and good luck with that when you can’t slow things down and are running 5 or 6 ships with different abilities/cooldowns/stances.

    Plenty of the favors and lots of the upgrades are useless, and certain upgrade abilities are ‘mandatory’ to have a fighting chance and are basically forced-upgrades or death. Try catching anyone as orks without a tractor beam or stasis bombs. Useless unless you do. Try keeping away from enemies as Eldar or Chaos without spmamming stasis bombs, etc.

    I’ll give it another shot now that it’s been released but I’ve been very disapointed with this one and it continues the streak of lackluster 40k licenced PC games for the last several years.

    Turn-based was the way to go with this one!

    • TakeItEasyMon says:

      I wish the game were a bit slower, and more about positioning and pre-planned tactics than being quick on the draw with spamming cooldown abilities.

      The speed boosts are too boosty, the ability to dodge and get away from mistakes is too high. The ships move more like they are little toys skating on ice than massive capital ships.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nauallis says:

      Keep in mind that it sounds like you are reviewing the multiplayer mode while Daniel was primarily reviewing the campaign/skirmish modes.

      Entirely different motivating factors, no?

      I’m very curious if the beta that you had access to included campaign missions, or were you forced to learn the controls, UI, and limitations purely through multiplayer matches? If the latter, was there a tutorial mode, or did it thrust you straight into matchmaking?

      • Titler says:

        “The balancing has been awful for multiplayer, and forcing you to fight vastly upgraded and higher-tier opponents with little on your side, and also no ability tho choose which matches or what point values to fight. So having to play say, an ‘assassination’ mission with no choice with the slowest race in the game (Orks), vs the fastest race in the game (Eldar), the fight is over before it starts. ”

        Yes, this. Unit balance is unbelievably bad.

        I’ve had great fun with this, and taken my Orks up to maximum level in the Beta and fully equipped them with all possible upgrade choices; and I’m either matched against people with vastly inferior ships who promptly get torn apart, against people with either Chaos or Eldar who are utterly untouchable in certain game modes, against Imperial who largely suffer at all ranges against everyone else, or against newbies who can’t compete with my game knowledge or experts who far outshine mine as the matchmaking is entirely based on what mission/team size you’ve unlocked only, with no skill/ranking component at all.

        There is a little counter-balance in that I once lost a match with a maximum level Battleship to a single cheap fighter who’s pilot was skilled enough to stay exactly in my one blind spot until he managed to chip away at my health and ram me and we both exploded; but I’ve since taken a counter to that and he wouldn’t be able to pull it off now. That’s not bragging, just illustrating the game can be incredibly fun but, if you know what you’re doing the imbalances are absolutely clear.

        The campaign during beta had 3 missions, and I’ve not yet played any further to see if this horrendous balance problem exists within the later campaign; I’ll be trying tonight I expect. The cut scenes I’ve seen so far were delightful and I loved the style, but right now I can’t really recommend the online gameplay as anything approaching fair; I loved levelling my chosen faction up, but if it wasn’t for the fact that you can’t really be set back, it was just a matter of grinding through the impossible to win games to get there… whilst stomping on the weaker gits to speed things up… very, very orky, but I have my doubts enough people will love being stomped to keep the community alive.

        • TakeItEasyMon says:

          Yes good points, I should have pointed out my experiences were for pvp. And as mentioned above there were a few single player missions. I’m sure the single-player game will be fairly fun with not nearly the same issues!

        • TakeItEasyMon says:

          And that’s the thing also, with multiplayer RTSs, they often hang on a knife’s edge between ‘fun and balanced’ and ‘x,y,z units and tactics are OP and destroy any fun for anyone’

          The developers have been either drastically overnerfing or overbuffing since day 1 if I recall correctly. I just don’t know if it’s worth playing through the slog until it gets to a good point. But then again Dawn of War 2 took years to get well balanced (and they could have used one more pass before stopping patching).

          • Titler says:

            Just started playing now; 2v2 Matches are in at least, and Admirals are reset, but the first thing I discover is that they’ve nerfed the single remaining Ork counter to fast teams, the Micro Warp Jump, so now you can’t leap anywhere near another ship… Honestly, wait for much wider reviews of the whole product before buying this folks, online play really has been atrociously balanced so far in my experience.

    • TakeItEasyMon says:

      And this after nerfing ork tractor beams last patch? I honestly don’t know how they expect ork ships to catch up to anything fast now?

      • Titler says:

        Well, as I feared, the units in the campaign appear to have the exact same stats etc as the multiplayer; I’ve read a lot of reviews this evening too and most seem to be thinking the campaign has a Rogue Like attitude to losing, that it’s a “feature” that you will be put into wildly unfair fights and have to balance which systems you lose etc… That’s not it at all, it’s because the units are so dreadfully balanced that they break parts of the campaign.

        I’m still having fun with Multiplayer, but it’s despite, rather than because of how the game is designed… and 2v2, when it’s not freezing or someone is dropping out, usually means a fairer fight as you balance each other’s weaknesses. There’s no dedicated Team Chat key though, sigh. And a hundred other tiny annoyances. I really think it could have done with another month’s worth of polishing before release.

  11. mrt181 says:

    How dies it compare to Homeworld 1/2 and do the ships move in 3D or 2D?

    • TakeItEasyMon says:

      Nothing compares to Homeworld in pacing, majesty, and fun :)

      It’s 2D only, you are basically ordering around toy models on a 2d grid. That’s the other thing none of these ships FEEL massive, you spend the entire match zoomed out to max and they all move a bit… fast for being kilometers long…

      • mrt181 says:

        Too bad, had hoped that they would make a proper 3D RTS with a cool theme but they were just lazy.

        Is there any other RTS space game that navigates the ships in 3D?

        • Premium User Badge

          Nauallis says:

          I have read that Nexus: Jupiter Incident does move ships in 3D, but not with the same simplicity and intuitive controls that Homeworld does.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          No laziness involved, they wanted to be faithful to the boardgame. Skill shots like torpedoes would be completely impossible in a full 3D space. I agree with their decision, and that’s coming from someone who desperately wants a new 3D RTS.

          As of now the only notable 3D RTS that was good after Homeworld 2 is Nexus: The Jupiter Incident, but even then only the campaign actually works (no skirmish, MP is broken as all hell).

        • gunny1993 says:

          This game would be DAMN near impossible in 3D, you’d have to invent completely new ways of controlling ships due to the high level of micro involved, for instance winning battles relies on knowing your firing arcs and staying out of others.

        • KDR_11k says:

          Space ships in 40k are built for broadsides, I don’t think that would work in 3D. It’s simply how the setting operates.

        • Silent_Thunder says:

          Battlefleet gothic isn’t supposed to be a space game. Yes it’s in space, but the boardgame, the lore, everything make it really Tall Ship combat in space. Pirates with tircorn hats and eyepatches, ships of the line with massive broadside cannons, ramming prows, the works. It’s an Age of Sail game set in space. To make it real 3d space would be to miss the point.

        • emotionengine says:

          Shallow Space is set in 3D and looks pretty damn good link to store.steampowered.com

  12. Chiron says:

    Orks is best!

    No really, they are so much bloody fun and the players are generally great sports.

    This is probably the best GW game I’ve ever played and I didn’t think anything would ever beat Dark Omen or Chaos Gate

  13. TakeItEasyMon says:

    WORRY NOT, SERVANTS OF THE EMPEROR:

    link to battlefleetgothic-leviathan.com

    Looks like a turn-based straight adaptation of BF Gothic. But for tablets/mobile (ugh)

  14. ohminus says:

    Or, of course, you could opt to simply say “none of the above” and let an originally turn-based game be turn-based. But in a time where even Master of Orion gets hammered into an RTT (real time tactical, which is a better term given that the strategic level in both games is STILL turn-based), of course you can’t have that. You have to force one player to do what normally, an entire staff of people would do.

  15. Titler says:

    So with another few hours spent on the campaign; It’s just a wreck, sorry to say.

    The initial positive coverage is coming from people who’ve spent months with the beta and following the wider meta-game… and if the campaign was Ork based, I’d possibly be able to stomp it like the supporters of the game claim they can now. But I don’t know as much about Imperials, and the reality is the basic enormous imbalance between them and Chaos means the only way any new player will make any progress even at the Normal difficulty level is constantly save-scumming their way forward. It might be possible if you know the precise upgrade path required to counter balance the fact Chaos has much faster ships, with longer range and accuracy, you can beat them. Maybe. I suspect much of the claims of never losing a match though are internet bravado. So far my experience of the campaign is this;

    * Data Recovery missions where by you have to save scum to get the right conditions to hide the data long enough, because Chaos ships are faster and have many more abilities to take it back, so you’ll lose again and again until you can get the precise positioning of everyone’s units where you can time the stealing strike and have got a clear run away from any other ship that can take it back, and the AI doesn’t chase you just long enough to get far enough away to warp out with it. If the AI knew how to always play to win, you’d likely never win.

    * Defend objective missions where you have to save scum for battles in which the AI ignores the objective long enough because they massively outdamage you, so you sacrifice your own ships to try and tank that damage, and you hope you can wait out the timer. Again, if the AI knew this…

    * Fleet vs Fleet matches I win relatively easily, but only because I’ve save-scummed to that point with a perfect no-loses fleet.

    The game just isn’t ready for release as it’s currently set up, with unit balance horrendously out of whack, and that balance being used in the Campaign.

    Multiplayer has continued to be fun, I’ve gotten my Orkz up to a Level 6 Admiral, and whilst playing 2v2, I am winning 80% of my games. Partly this is because team play averages out the balance issues, units get scattered about a lot more when there’s twice as many cooks in the broth so there’s plenty of opportunity for Orkz to close in and ram, and where my average to good skills can make a difference… 1v1 continues to be a nightmare of imbalance however.

    And there’s a lot of really amateur issues even here; There’s chatting to All, but no Team Chat yet, so private co-ordination isn’t available.

    Even worse, any player can concede at any time which counts for the whole team, without any sort of voting mechanism; I’ve actually lost a game where my team-mate was dead, but I had more than enough ships to finish off our opponents, but he didn’t want to sit and wait for the win so he just conceded and threw the game for both of us. This means you have a perfect trolling opportunity, of joining games only to instantly end them and annoy everyone.

    And the bugs! Oh my… the initial team display often doesn’t match the races people have actually taken. Games can hang because it won’t sync up the people trying to connect to them. “Execute Captain”, to get back control of your ships when they rebel still often doesn’t work…

    I’d suggest you wait to purchase, but the sad thing is, if you do, you’ll lose the DLC that would have been free. I hate that kind of emotional manipulation; I only pre-purchased because based on the research I’d done, I thought I’d get my money’s worth out of online orky rammage, which I have. But as the game currently stands, it’s just not ready to claim a 1.0 release, and the campaign and wider features are completely desultory in gameplay. Lovely cutscenes though!

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I agree that datajacking is more of a game on its own than the overall game. It is also the one receiving the most backlash within the general grind from what I can tell from forum posts.

      I think one factor is that whatever ship you use to get the data, make sure it has mostly intact shields as that basically becomes your runaway protection. Then stasis bombs, micro jumps, max thrusters and when feeling dire companions ramming might help the escape.

      Its still atrocious having to do it too often, but as a game mode on its own it actually has a good mix of intriguing/challenging tag-you’re-it elements.

  16. skabb155 says:

    Solicited review. Notice the lack of ANY downsides, even the ones that every other review is mentioning? And some of the stuff said is just downright untrue.

  17. NICKXB says:

    You guys get pretty good money for posting these “reviews”?. Your sites “reviews” are about as insightful as angryjoe, sad because I really used to like this site.

    Not a single bad thing? I have the game, I like it but good lord at least try to seem like your giving an actual review next time.

  18. Chatterly says:

    Boy. I’ve sunk more than a couple hours into this thing, and it seems right in line with what looks to be an endless stream of not-very-good. I cant speak for multiplayer, but the campaign is uneven, there is a serious lack of feedback to help you learn the mechanics, and even mechanics you do know are not consistent, with different results depending on if you do the action with or without tactical cogitators. And gods help me, I had to turn off all the sound just so I wouldn’t hear, “Activating tactical cogitators,” every time I hit the space bar. This might be a diamond in the rough, but it’s pretty rough at the moment.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Given that even the slowed down version of the game proceeds fairly quickly, I’d just leave the TC on most of the time. Most more difficult / balanced battles require this either way.

  19. handyman24602 says:

    So the conference room for the segmentum council. Do they have a space marine scale chair to hand or was that custom built?

  20. RegisteredUser says:

    *reads “This is one of the best real-time tactical games I’ve played in quite some time.*
    *wonders who on earth on the known RPS team would ever make that statement about BG:A*
    *sees its a new guy*
    Well, that explains it.

    While the review is correct about some nice and kinda unqiue aspect such as the partial losing not being horrendous immediately(though it of course means things like less rewards, more expensive upgrades etc), it is a very one sided omg-I-love-this article when for a lot of people the game eventually turns grindy very fast.
    Because of the required micro-management of skills and the fleet cap epic large scale battles of more than 3-5 ships are just not there nor feasible and you stay stuck on similiar ship types for a good while as well.
    Consistent with lore, you also do not get to change weapon loadouts but rather buy a set “base loadout design” of which there are at times only two choices and then have to live with them and adding skills and upgrades that are more or less limited depending on ship size and tied to captain levels.

    One way or another, a TON of important details such as these were not in the review and should have been and instead it was what felt a bit of gushing. And while I would say BF:A is a solid game and even quite epic for fans that want to see a tabletop come to life, it is definitely not the greatest RTS ever made.
    That it stands out as an RTS currently is because the RTS situation is dire overall (compared to say Diablo clones, FPS exploration / pseudo-horror / platformers / adventure games per year).

    Oh, another point to mention would have been that there are the usual other factions, but the singleplayer campaign only lets you play as imperial fleet.
    Maybe an expansion beckons there. I hope so, because the general “Good side only, sorry” stance in WH40k games is getting kinda old.