Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 Is coming, and we're hopeful

By Brandon Casteel 11 Jan 2019 0

Tindalos & Focus Home Interactive have just released a campaign trailer for Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2, with a confirmed release date of January 24th, 2019 – later this the month.

Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 is one of our most anticipated strategy games of 2019, but there are plenty more.

The sequel to 2016’s short-lived Battlefleet Gothic Armada, Armada 2 looks to try and reclaim glory for the series with new graphics, new mechanics and new factions such as the Tyranids and Necrons. It even has an official place in the current 40K lore, and we highly recommend you watch the trailer In full to see what the single-player is going to be like:

We recently spent some time in the multiplayer beta over the holidays. One of the most exciting and interesting aspects of the game is that all 12 of the factions from tabletop Battlefleet Gothic will be included at launch. Strategy games with numerous factions tend to strike a positive chord with players – there’s a lot of room to personalise your approach to the game, lots of possibilities for varied play against wildly different types of enemy who have unique tools and strategies to take on and (hopefully) overcome.

In some ways though, the number of factions makes us a little nervous. 12 factions results in a lot of units to balance across a huge number of possible match-ups. There’s a lot of area for the game’s balance team to worry about in competitive play, lots of room for overpowered strategies, factions, units, and abilities to rear their ugly head. The number of factions can really be a double-edged sword, and I’m more than a little worried how that’s going to play when the game goes live. Hopeful, too. But, worried.

BFG Armada 2 a

It’s also a lot to learn and keep track of but exploring all of that possibility space was more than a little addictive during the beta. Even as we were frustrated by Dark Eldar fleets appearing from seemingly nowhere and smelting my ships, or as Tau ships attacked from extreme range, or even as we were bombarded from across the map by Tyranid fighter swarms that slowly ate the crew, we had the itch to come back for more.

As with most tactical games, there’s an element of ‘load-out’ building in Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 and trying to design a fleet to account for everything you could possibly come up against can lead you to a situation where your ships aren’t really effective against anything.

BFG Armada 2 b

Fleets are looking quite smaller at the moment – typically between 4 and 8 ships, which is on par with the original game and also recent contemporaries like Battlestar Galactica Deadlock. There’s a lot of options for fleet management: stances, lots of abilities per ship in many cases, but there were many occasions where we wanted just 1 or 2 more ship options to set up more interesting manoeuvres.

There’s the danger that the fleet you put together could utterly fail to work against something an opponent throws at you, which can be really frustrating since you don’t have the ability to change your approach dramatically in the middle of a match in many cases. You’ve got the tools you brought with you and if those don’t work, well… Better luck next time?

BFGA Campaign

Another frustrating element of the game so far is the relatively shallow and unfulfilling way that the play spaces/game maps/victory conditions work. Sure, it’s space. There’s a lot of nothing up in space. But maps that are just a lot of nothing don’t really feel fulfilling. It’s a challenge in space games, and we’re not sure that Tindalos has fully risen to the occasion yet.

Maps have a couple of points of interest: VP zones, that you capture to gain a trickle of VP tickets (destroying and injuring enemy ships seems to also give you VP tickets), gas fields, and asteroid fields. In a few matches, players didn’t even bother making use of asteroid fields or gas fields, rendering these effectively pointless. Not having terrain, even with the inclusion of 3 separate ways to incapacitate enemy ships, and even with ships having teleportation, silent running, stances, abilities, et cetera, occasionally made matches feel less interesting and less deep than they otherwise could have been.

Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 c

Still, we can state with some confidence that Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 is already shaping up to be a great tactical strategy game, an excellent space strategy game (not that there’s many), and generally could beat out much of what was released last year.

Tindalos are demonstrably learning as time goes on, and hopefully they will have the confidence to stick with Armada 2 for the long-term. It will probably still be a bit rough around the edges on launch, but with enough care and attention this will be something worth keeping an eye on for sure.

Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 releases on PC on January 24th, 2019.

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