Battlestar Galactica Deadlock - Ghost Fleet Offensive Review25 Feb 2020 0
Battlestar Galactica Deadlock - Ghost Fleet Offensive Review
Released 25 Feb 2020
Ah, here we are again, knee deep in toasters. After a whole base game campaign and multiple DLCs, the eternal fires of war between the Twelve Colonies and the Cylons still wage on. Bad news for the Colonials, but great news for the rest of us who get to watch their pretty ships blow up stuff in the dead of space. Following Operation Anabasis, Sin and Sacrifice, The Broken Alliance and Resurrection -- the last of which added the Jupiter MK II Battlestar and Galactica's TV war room from the TV show -- Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock branches into canon territory once more in the new Ghost Fleet Offensive expansion.
The eponymous operation was actually referenced in the Blood and Chrome webseries, and it depicts the Colonial Fleet's tactical feeding of misinformation to the Cylons. The move involves declaring a whole operational fleet lost then artificially pinging it at a location to draw Cylon forces away from their space stations. Once the Toaster ships are scrambled and the facilities left undefended, the not-actually-lost Colonial Fleet led by Commander Silas Nash strikes deep behind enemy lines to wreak havoc on the Cylon’s infrastructure.
The DLC tells that whole tale and its twists through 10 new story missions, intertwined with regular side missions like in the other campaigns. Deadlock is in no way a casual game, but the Ghost Fleet Offensive's intrinsic risk makes it a more challenging experience. In the very first mission you face off with a Basestar reinforced by 5 other ships, and it mostly ramps up from there.
As is Deadlock's standard, the expansion also brings new ships to the fight that can be used throughout the game. The Colonial Orion Recon Frigate is the closest Battlestar Galactica comes to a space submarine, sporting a cloaking stealth field that renders it invisible. The system relies on a battery that lasts two turns moving at full tilt and takes around twice that time to recharge, so the Orion needs to be precisely positioned to make the biggest impact on the battlefield with its torpedoes. It is also extremely vulnerable, so putting it anywhere near the enemy's firing arcs is a very bad idea.
The Colonial Defender, meanwhile, is purely a support ship. Packed full of marines and equipped with Raptors, the Defender's main role is to bolster friendly craft with boots on the deck during boarding or with its special technical support capabilities during normal space-to-space combat, though as with any good tactical option, it can be used offensively in the right situations.
The single new ship on the Cylons' side is the Medusa, a command ship lined up with point defense systems and multiple-ship boosting capabilities. Its lack of offensive armament is notable like the Defender, but its direct support role keeps it a priority target throughout various engagements.
To make up for the single Toaster craft, new munitions were added to the Cylon arsenals in the shape of Cluster Nukes and Virus Mines. The former is a nuclear multi-missile system capable of targeting up to six individual targets, making it the space equivalent of a MIRV (and extremely rage-inducing when used against you). Meanwhile, the latter is a close-range ECM field generator that both hacks subsystems and disables fighter squadrons, bringing all the annoyance and frustration of Cylon hacking mechanics right to your doorstep (in case you haven't noticed, I hate the Cylon's armaments in this game -- which I'm half-sure is the intent of the developers).
Considering this is the fifth major DLC for a game based on a license, I'm honestly a bit surprised Black Lab Games continues to find interesting content they’re allowed to add. Deadlock has long been one of -- if not THE -- best game on Slitherine's catalogue, and Ghost Fleet Offensive continues the trend of adding more tactical options when assembling your fleet and facing the enemy. The new story missions are not a bad thing, either, forgoing the quick rush of a skirmish for the persistent effort of damaged ships and veteran crew, along with the brilliant idea of transferring saves between campaigns. Fans of both BSG and Deadlock have been well served by this expansion, and we can’t wait to see what’s coming next.