Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada (Some Beta spoilers)

Imperial Battlecruiser with Space Marine Favor
Battlefleet Armada Homepage

-All images taken from my progress (or Bobs) in the Beta-

Quick Synopsis:

J- Another GW based tabletop game getting made into a computer game, yay! I never played the tabletop so I can't do a comparison (Bob can) but my experience with the game/beta has been very positive. For being a beta I give it a good 91. I have only really played as the Imperials so my knowledge is a bit limited by choice. For the Emperor!

B- Right now we are only going to be discussing the solo skirmish. Versus multiplayer really doesn't appeal to either of us and the campaign isn't there yet. I have been playing all 3 factions available right not (Eldar are incoming at the time this goes out) and each of them feels pretty close to what I remember of the tabletop game.

J- Fleet battles of the 40k universe. Build and customize your fleet and lead to battle against 4 possible foes. Imperials, Chaos, Orks and Eldar, you can end up fighting your own faction in skirmish. As it stands you can only do a tutorial portion of the campaign, or the skirmishes up to a point. As you level up both your admiral and ships they unlock more options and slots and larger battles. Pretty fun format, another one where you just have to level your stuff up and get the biggest available. But having the biggest and the best isn't necessary to win. Battles are on a fairly open "map" (its space) where you control your ships, right now there is a good bit of micromanaging and it takes some getting used to.

J- You start with only light cruisers and escorts, and as you level, you unlock cruisers, battle cruisers and finally battleships. Right now the battleship is the biggest, idk if it stays that way at full release, and now the fleet make up is limited to 1 battleship, 2 battle cruisers, 3 cruisers and 4 light cruisers. Escort ships are "free". each of the classifications holds at least 2 options and on up to 5 within each tier.

Light Cruiser, if you zoom in you can see more of my fleet in the background
B- Briefly the fleets play as follows: Imperials are all about closer range broadside firefights. Their ships are heavily armoured in the prow so they can soak up some fire getting in to "cross the T". Chaos have the advantage of longer range over the Imperials with more prow and all around firing weapons. Throw in favors of the Chaos gods and you get some really interesting ships. Orks are all about ramming and getting in close. Their guns hit hard when they hit (Orks aren't known for accuracy) and they excel at boarding actions. Their ships maneuver like drunken cows piloting a bathtub, but if they line up a good ramming action your ships are not going to get the better of that deal. While the Eldar haven't been released yet I can talk a little about them from what I remember of the table top game. They are fast, hit like a truck, and have a glass jaw. Eldar have superior range, strike craft, and maneuverability plus some tricks to mitigate incoming fire. Just don't get caught in a close range broadside fight. Eldar ships are fragile compared to the other races and are more focused on prow and 180 degree firing arcs.

J- Did I mention micromanaging? Get good at it and it is very rewarding. I started with getting my but handed to me, but as I figured out the nuances it became much better. and there are a bunch of different mission types already available with more to come. You have your straight up fights, to capture objectives, escape to defend locations. each race and even ship has a unique play style. you really have to accept that play style to get the most out of it. If you want ranged combat and play Orks you are going to have a bad time. There is a genuine different feel to short range combat vs long range, ramming/boarding actions and support/fighters. You do get to pick your what part of your fleet is participating in each fight so you are never stuck with the same ship.

J- So beyond the ship choice and combat controls the game offers several other customization. Favors are 4 race specific upgrades, that you get to choose, that give two  benefits a piece to each ship equipped with it. I have equipped my whole fleet with Space Marines to make me less susceptible to boarding actions and give benefits to when I board others. Skills and attributes are not race specific but some are ship specific (you can't upgrade the lances on a ship that doesn't have them, sorry) and offer a good bit of differentiation to get your fleet to fight the way you want. The Orks get more upgrades to ships than the others, and early on in the beta there was a grayed out option for fleet colors, they have since removed it. But I would bet it is back at full release, maybe just for multiplayer but it would be cool in skirmish/campaign. Hopefully they at least change which Chapter of Space Marines I have, not a fan of the yellow.

J- 1. Ships aren't as tier-able as I thought they would be as far as stats go. A frigate has the same flank armor as a battleship and the same troop strength. 2. The sizes of the ships can be strange. A battle cruiser is the same size as a cruiser for the Imperials. 3.Add macros, please! At least someway to map my ship selection as selecting the one specific ship you want can be problematic.4 Right now you can't control the skirmishes, the point total, victory condition or enemy. It would be nice to control that. 5.ish. I think its just a beta thing but the limit to your level and the number of ships you can get as well as the size of the battles being capped. I have a 1500 point fleet and I only ever get to field 700 of it, come on!

Battleship showing signs of battle after taking heavy damage
B- They still have some stat tweaks to make for sure. Key macros are a must have considering the amount of micro managing of abilities that is needed. I wouldn't mind having a more options for ship customization (paint scheme and details), but that is mostly cosmetic.

Real Life:
J- Game got delayed, I am starting to just blame GW for this, but comes out on April 21st (I think). The beta is fun and fills in the wait. They fixed most of the major glitches and problems that I experienced at first. Some things are still wonky and or slow, but I trust them to get it fixed. If you are wanting to enjoy a real graphics marvel, this probably isn't for you. The detail and graphics themselves are very good, for a beta, but I spend my whole battle zoomed way out to see all the action. If you are lucky you do get some good cinematic endings to each fight, usually something blowing up or a ship escaping or something. battles tend to be very quick 5 minutes being pretty standard. I don't think I have had a fight go 10 minutes.

B- So I have to say that this is one of the best betas I have ever gotten to play. I love BFG and this is a pretty good video game adaptation of it. Yeah the game got delayed, but I'm not all that upset about it. The devs have been pretty transparent about why they delayed it (they listened to feedback) and the fact that they are running the 10% off pre-sale price for a few months after release is brilliant. The graphics are good for what the game is going for and they improved as the beta has progressed. I have had a lot of fun playing the skirmish and I can't wait to get my hands on the campaign and full release. In the future I hope the game does well enough to see the addition of the full BFG fleet list. Would I recommend this game? Yes, even in beta form. Stay tuned and we will bring a full review when the game officially releases here in a few weeks!

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