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Battlefleet Gothic: Armada (PC) artwork

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada (PC) review


"I really want to like Battlefleet Gothic: Armada."


I really want to like Battlefleet Gothic: Armada. I've never played any of the Warhammer tabletop games, but I do like some of the grittier art that the franchise produces, and I love me some epic space battles between huge capital ships. Armada promised those epic space battles, in an RTS format. I read the other reviews complaining about small fleet size, and even that didn't dissuade me. The game looks awesome and gameplay videos looked like fun. And the ships are glorious.

Unfortunately, it's not fun. Not really. For an RTS-style game where you only control a handful of units, there are surprisingly few abilities to use, especially at first, and all with relatively long cooldown times. This means you're spending a considerable amount of time watching your ships do nothing but auto-fire while circling enemies, waiting for the next Lightning Strike or Reload cooldown to become available.

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada (PC) image


Upgrades come relatively slowly, with points issued one at a time between battles as your fleet level up. But the upgrades are linear and focused specifically on one thing each. For example, if you want to upgrade your ship's direct offensive capabilities, your only option is to put your points into Gunner, which unimaginatively increases your DPS by a percentage. Likewise, direct ship upgrades are very limited.

But probably the most annoying thing is that the matches come down to numbers too often. With so few in-battle choices to make and the cooldowns involved, there's only so much you can do to optimize your fleet, and the rest is up to level and upgrades. In other words, skill only goes so far. This game lacks the depth of older games like Sins of a Solar Empire -- I don't get the thrill from battles in Armada the same way I have from Sins.

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada (PC) image


Sadly, the awesomeness of the ships is kind of wasted as well, since you're not going to spend much time zoomed 100% in to admire your righteous Imperial ship broadsiding an enemy. In a situation like that, it really would make sense to lose some of the detail in favor of larger fleets. The game might not feel so slow-paced either if you've got 30 ships under your command instead of five.

And finally, the story: Not much to speak of. Lots of British stage actors putting on their best Roman Empire voices and making grand proclamations about the dieselness of the Empire, and how star systems must not fall to the Orcs.

At this point I don't think the game is going to undergo any fundamental restructuring, and it probably shouldn't. It is what it is. But I can't really recommend it.

2/5

AtumHadu's avatar
Community review by AtumHadu (December 01, 2016)

Atum reviews games on Steam. Let's see if that catches on.

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