Battlefleet Gothic: Armada is a 2D naval-combat Real Time Strategy based on the defunct Warhammer 40K board games. Surprisingly this transition works pretty well with visually spectacular ships and world. If you’re used to your fast-paced RTS like something in the vein of Starcraft 2 then you might be disappointed but what is here is a fun take, even if it’s not as deep as you might expect.
Personality is strong is Battlefleet Gothic: Armada. There are four races to choose from and each one is distinctly different in both its aesthetic and in how they play. For instance: The orks have busted ships but their strength comes from ramming the enemy’s ships. There are four classes in all: the Human Imperium, the Orks, the Chaos Fleet, and the Eldar. Each one has different abilities as well as very different looking ships.
The game is played on a 2D plane in an attempt to be faithful to the original board game release. This does mean that things never get that complicated. Couple that with the slow pacing of every match and you may be let down with the action that occurs on screen. However, the slower nature means you can enjoy everything on the screen and plan what to do next without frantically figuring out hotkeys. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot going on. Each ship as different systems and when attacking you can directly choose one of them. When an attack is launched the screen starts to fill up with volleys of projectiles and with the beautiful nebulae in the background, it’s exciting watching it all unfold.
The campaign itself is surprisingly engaging. The story is told through great looking cut-scenes. The story also lasts anywhere between 10-20 hours and doesn’t hold back on giving you a proper narrative. For Warhammer 40K fans, it’s features perfect music and exaggerated voice acting that really sends home what type of universe that this game is set in.
In terms of mission types, there are plenty of variety both in the campaign and through Skirmishes. These battle modes show that Battlefleet: Gothic Armada is at its best when letting you get down to the combat alone and using your ships to attack the enemy. These modes can only be from a few to 10 minutes each and this mode allows you to choose any of the races and improve them as you go along.
The biggest discrepancy from the board game though is that length of time. A match can be over in just a few minutes meaning you can knock a dozen matches down in less than two hours which goes directly against the board game design. It means that each fight lacks tension or any sort of building towards huge moments in any given match.
The 2D planes allows for a more accessible feeling and the sort match times mean there is no grand strategy at play here. The compromises at play here though mean that it’s longevity may be hampered but what’s here is an excellent recreation of a board game that realises the unique world of the Warhammer 40k Universe.