Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 Review

[cheery Christmas tune] [*WHAM*][cheery Christmas tune] [punchy artillery fire][cheery Christmas tune] [*BLAM*][cheery Christmas tune] Wow, we made it to the holidays! I guess there is still time for meteor or something, but still congratulations! Now, last time was disappointing: some good but a lot really bad. So I figured that I started the year with a good Warhammer game maybe I should end it with one too. There are likely two main thoughts looking at this. For one, Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 sounds like the title of a badly translated anime. But beyond that, how come Im not starting with Battlefleet 1? Well, you dont really need it For starters, the game only has four factions for Skirmish and multiplayer. You can get two more, if you buy each of their DLCs.Compare that to 2, which has twelve, and lots and lots of sub-factions. The same twelve from the actual board game. Which I wont be bringing up again, because I never played it. And, unlike Deathwing, they didnt try to change the board game into a different genre, so I dont think its relevant. The first game only has a single campaign the Imperium one. Each ship can very much be its own character, with lots of upgrades and RPG progression stuff for them. Which is cool, and something that 2 isnt as in-depth on. Theres still ship progression, just not as customizable. The trade-off for that is a vastly increased scale. You own three factions: the Imperial Navy, the Mechanicus and the Space Marines. So, joint operations in a bigger galaxy against more threats is a fair trade.Plus, there are three different campaigns now, and a DLC one. So youre not just stuck playing humans yet again. The graphics, the sound, the interface, the gameplay just about everything has been improved over “1”. The only real reason to go back and play it would be for the campaign and story. There are callbacks to it that come up in 2, but you dont need to have gone back and played it they give you plenty of context. If youre a fan of the setting, its definitely a story worth playing, but for the depth and variety in fighting the battles, I think 2 overrides it pretty hard. It could be worth looking into, but with 2, I dont have much to say on it. However, when people say Just go back and play the first thing for the story, thats a sign of a good sequel. With that out of the way, lets get started! Battlefleet 2 is all about strategic ship combat.More specifically, you have a flying gun-brick the size of a freeway. Its named some shit like The Litany of Litanys Litany. Use it to ram. [*WHAM*] Our brothers have fallen! I bet they have. As far as visuals go, this is great for this kind of game. Each factions ship is very detailed, and these can scale up to ridiculous sizes. In the tutorial, you might think the massive Chaos Blackstone Fortress will be the big bad of the campaign. Until the next mission, where it gets smashed down by an even bigger ship. So the stupid size of Warhammer is all there, and it never gets too muddy, graphically. Which is good I dont want my cosmic horrors to be too blurry.All the different factions and sub-factions means there is a good variety of ships, too. All the sub-factions help mix this up even more. Like in the case of Chaos, its pretty easy to see which god theyre aligned with. It is a more dramatic example some sub-factions are just recolors, but every little bit is appreciated. The environmental effects, the weapons and all the effects also look fantastic. Whether its some kind of superweapon going off, or just terrifying natural phenomena, the particle effects are especially good. It looks like something Nvidia would call Intelligent AI Smart Dust, and then, like, shackle it to a $1200 card, but no its just well done art-direction. The maps have interesting backdrops, like nebulas or wreckage or something more dramatic, so, no matter what, theyre not just showing you in black space over and over again. Its what I imagine Homeworld would look like, if it came out today. Then again, I dont want to get too far into talking about Homeworld in THIS video.Its all a lot more colorful than I expected, which I welcome. The visuals add a lot of weight and satisfaction to the combat. There arent many ships per battle, but each one blown up makes me feel warm inside. That also counts Tyranids exploding into blood. I havent seen blood spaceships since ugh The only negative Ive seen here is that this game is performance-heavy.Im not sure if its maps or what, because some fights will be smooth, then others will be a lot more laggy. The game has crashed a few times, too, but Im not sure if thats related. So there are stability issues, and you should proceed with caution. This brings us to how the game sounds. The music sounds like exactly what youd expect from a 40K game. They go even heavier on the vocals than most, but its a good addition! The incredible soundscape of the battles themselves is the best part of it, but its a fitting backdrop. When the music does overtake it, it feels appropriate. [Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Chaos Approaches (variation)] Fury interceptors in flight![Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Chaos Approaches (variation)] [Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Chaos Approaches (variation)] Receiving your order![Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Chaos Approaches (variation)] [Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Chaos Approaches (variation)] [Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Attack Without Mercy (variation)] I am listening![Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Attack Without Mercy (variation)] [Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Attack Without Mercy (variation)] Coordinates acknowledged![Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Attack Without Mercy (variation)] [Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Attack Without Mercy (variation)] Changing course![Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Attack Without Mercy (variation)] [Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Attack Without Mercy (variation)] [Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Chaos Approaches (variation)] Initializing motive power.[Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Chaos Approaches (variation)] [Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Chaos Approaches (variation)] Inevitable![Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Chaos Approaches (variation)] SPIRE: The debt comes due![Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Attack Without Mercy (variation)] AMARKUN: Your words are like the droning of scarabs full of fury, but lacking import.I have delivered warning, as protocol demands.[Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 OST – Attack Without Mercy (variation)] Its well-produced music, and theres a good variety of it. It may not be something weird and new, like Mechanicus, but Id wager its what most people want. Besides, like I said, the weapon and explosion sounds can stand on their own. That is some crisp artillery. [some crisp artillery in the vacuum of space] [thumping shots and booming explosions] Just excellent. The voice acting also sits at a high bar for the most part, and at the same time, its delivering some excellent writing.Though, it is one of those games where whats good is so good that, when somethings below par, it really sticks out. [the actor struggles with “Schwarzenegger impression” syndrome]STERNHELL: those monstrosities. And I find the Imperial Navy has abandoned us. Where is Admiral Spire? Despite it, every campaign has some memorable moments in it. Its the exact kind of thing I come looking for in 40K games. VUCIUS: I regret that I cannot be there in person, but my plagued apostles will only be too glad to usher you into my Grandfathers welcoming embrace. SPIRE: Your rotten form has clung too long to life.Fear not, we shall bring you the release you so richly deserve. VUCIUS: We all wallow in mortal corruption before long, admiral. Wont you embrace the gift of entropy? THRASSYLUS: The lord primarch has promised aid, but there is no guarantee when he will arrive. AMARKUN: Primarch, Zaa? ZAA: Their leader, Great One. Like them, but taller, I understand. Not to be underestimated. KULAG: *screams alongside wet thudding sounds* Thats enough about sound. To put it simply, Id say the space combat is like a more in-depth Empire at War. But, sadly, not everyone has played that, and there are some key differences. The smallest controllable ships are escort class ones your standard frigates and destroyers. Now, there are smaller craft, like fighters and bombers, but you dont control them as directly.They get launched out with their orders from the Big Dick ships. Bombers can be sent out to do a run on a larger vessel, interceptors can be sent out to fight other fighters you get the idea. If you are a micro god, I could see you being disappointed by this. But you know what? When I see how they fight, Im glad I can stay out of it. Most small ships can run silent to avoid detection, or ping their sensors to try and locate enemy vessels. Beyond that, their loadouts and roles can vary greatly, even inside the same faction. Its not just a frigate or a destroyer there is a few of them, and that goes for every ship. However, escorts are limited by the number of line ships you have, so there is no having an angry beehive of small ships. The overall fleet size is limited by ship tonnage. As a campaign goes on, you unlock a higher cap for it. In Skirmish and multiplayer, its a set number. Though this number can get damn high, with a warning (you know the drill). The line ships range from coffee sizes of cruisers, to battleships and finally titans.But titans are saved for special scenarios, so you wont see them all too often. Regardless, each ship has different weapons and features, with skills and stances tied to it. These options can get exotic, to say the least, but it doesnt take too long to figure out what your race is good at, which brings us right to ship fighting. Most ships have rechargeable shields, a hull and morale. There are exceptions, like Necrons not using shields, and regenerating their hulls instead, but Ill be generalizing for simplicitys sake. Besides having a big, dumb blue and green bar, each part of the ship is also accounted for. As I said before, the skills are tied to your ship parts, which, in battle, means they may not work, if its not attached to your ship anymore. No shields if the generators out. Something could break from a torpedo strike, or a lovecraftian monster. Space is famous as being somewhere where expensive things go to break.If light damage is caught in time, there could be skills to repair it, but when things are in the red, life gets harder. This might all sound overly complex and in-depth, but its really not. For starters, a lot can be automated to prevent micromanaging. Set your ships range and orientation and let it go. You can then set the priority of an enemy ship, and whether to shoot at weapons or engines or anything. So, if you are just starting off, you dont have to juggle everything at once.Other decisions are more commons sense. This ship keeps running away I should probably hit the engines. Damage to you just means your options are more restricted. Your engines getting borked means no maneuver abilities. Some ships, like Imperial ones, can crank it to full speed ahead for a short time. Or burn fuel in a high energy turn for elite space drifting, which could allow your vessels side weapons to unleash a broadside. The battles arent just a race to the bottom of a green health bar the capabilities of each fleet also get damaged, and you have to keep adapting to that. What enemy capabilities do you wanna get rid of? What ship is worth a limited special attack? The thing is, were still talking about the physical destruction of the ship, because theres still a yellow bar to mess with. Because, sure, you could try to slow an Orks ship down, but theyre persistent. Full speed! [roaring of overcharged propulsion thingies] Each ship has a hardy crew, but the worse things look, the more they start to seek new management.At zero morale, the ship might flee the battlefield, or do whatever, because theres a mutiny afoot. This could happen while the ship is still relatively healthy. Killing their leaders flagship, who can restore morale, is a good start. You can also use abilities to terrify the enemy crew, or take the more direct route. By that I mean sending troops to bard to murder them. They can cause all kinds of chaos, maybe start some fires. Though, yeah, killing the crew is the main goal here. As a ship loses crew, everything it does takes more and more time: reloading weapons, using engines everything. This gets more severe, until, eventually, everyones dead.Then there is a nice husk of a ship to take apart. And no, typically, you dont want to leave it floating. Because it could seem harmless, but people can board troops right back onto their own empty ships. It will be slower, but still more guns you shouldnt have to worry about. Ugh, there they go again So managing crew and morale is just as important as a health bar. A mass execution really gets co-workers back on track. Make death work for you. This guy wont make it, but I wont waste it. The spirits obey. [*BAM*] [*BLAM*] Mechanicus vessel non-functional. Perfect! This whole setup is fantastic. There are so many elements to keep track of, with, usually, pretty even sides, that the battles are always stimulating. The variety of factions helps stop fights from playing out the same, because what tactic works on one will not work on another. My biggest issue with it is movement. Its not bad, but its charted in a stiff way. Lines can show where your ship is heading towards, but they wont plot the exact path theyre going.As in plotting out the turns and what theyll actually have to do to get there. Which isnt a huge deal, but it would be nice to have, especially when ships can get so close in fighting. You do have the option of slowing down time to be very exact, but still I also couldnt find a formation move of any kind, which was also strange. Second some maps have hazards, like exploding space jellyfish, solar flares or space whales. Along with obstacles, like gas clouds to hide ships in, or asteroid fields. But I would have liked if some maps had space terrain? I dont know how to put it. Big asteroids, or wreckage, or something that blocks the map off. Just as an option, since most of the maps are so open. Its a 2D plain anyway, as its not like the game uses full 3D space combat. Once again, not sorely needed, but it would add some good map variation. So, all good in the fights.Now for the campaigns. You could expect the campaigns to be a back-to-back series’ of skirmish missions. I thought for sure thats what I was in for. Instead, the Imperium campaign alone was over 25 hours. AND its a light 4X game. Nonono, this will be concise. For starters, the campaigns can also be played in online co-op. Youre given a lot of information starting off, but its not as complicated as it might seem. Fleets can be moved around the map, and you can capture systems inside them. Then you can develop and build on them, but only in a set way. Each planet has its own special lore and properties, and youre not gonna mess with that. Youre running an armada, not government housing. You can check what planets have, and how they affect your economy or your fleet. If its something that looks good, you can upgrade it, but only twice. Of course, a big system could have a lot of planets, and some planets are much more useful than others. A system could be a place where you could build a big space station on it, to help you out in battles.Or a shipyard and only the bigger, more elaborate shipyards can make the biggest ships. As the campaign goes on, the map expands. It almost becomes a quasi 40K Total War. It even has the shitty auto-resolve battles. Feels like Im right at home. There are side missions to complete, and battles have bonus objectives, and as you complete them all, you earn renown. Its a fancy level up. You earn a new technology each time, but thats tied to ship rank.As ships survive missions, they naturally get better at what they do. They give bonuses for it already, but the tech tree lets you enhance that even further. So, in combat, it could be worth making a ship disengage to save your crew. But the fire escape stairs through hell wont be free: they could come back with some trauma or a daemon problem But, come on, who hasnt this year? It is a risky, time-consuming maneuver, and by the time you use it, it could already be too late. So it is worth keeping special ships alive. The tonnage rule applies to the campaign too. That stops sending a death stack in every ship counts. Theres also a doom timer going, which makes things harder when youre not completing missions.There are ways to reduce it, and it does reset after completing a task, but if it fills all the way up, its game over. Its not crazy short its mainly to prevent serious turtling. This goes for all the campaigns, too, and theyre not horribly different on the map side. The Necrons are almost identical to the Imperium, except for how they move around the galaxy. The Imperium and everyone else uses space lanes to get from cluster to cluster. Everyone uses lanes inside of them, too, but these ones are different all connected. Instead, Necrons have a designated gate system they can jump between. They always appear and disappear from one location. There it is! Theyre very different in battle, but not too far in campaign.The Tyranids do take things farther instead of capturing worlds, they vo- devour them whole. You even get the special technology by eating planets. Systems can also be pre-seeded for invasions, thanks to crafty gene-stealer infiltration. Structures can be weakened for the impending invasion. Another debuffs stack up too, culminating in the place being taken over automatically. They are more of a locust swarm, but they still have reasons to hold systems. Now, mechanically, these campaigns are all fine, but, as things start to scale up, they become more clunky. It seems like the interface didnt account for the game ever being at this scale. Managing multiple fleets and sectors is awkward to do, and its easy to forget something. It looks like a 4X, but it is a lot more leased in. For example, you can barge in and invade an enemy system whenever you want, but on their end, it could take between one to several turns to give you time to prepare.Because the mechanics arent fleshed out enough to account for proper fortifying. Its in a weird spot where they could flesh it out into a proper grand campaign style of game, but its not there, so parts of it are awkward to interact with. Which brings us to the issue with the DLC. VRYKAN: Mankind languishes in a tumultuous galaxy. VRYKAN: Its potential shackled by a corpse on a gilded throne. Its a strong opening, and how are they gonna follow that up? VRYKAN: There is little glory in escorting transport ships, while the Aegis Ocularis burns! VANE: Patience. Like a fortress, glory must have solid foundations. This escort mission is but the first step on the path. Why would you start with an escort mission? What year is it? I Forget it, back on track. To give some more context: all the campaigns have great stories. Id say the human one with Admiral Spire is the most substantial, but the other ones are good too. When your story begins with the Mechanicus and Necron team up, something interesting is bound to happen. And they do there is a wealth of characters and events and twists and turns.Its not the kind of story Id want to talk about in a play-by-play fashion, but its a fun ride. The Imperium wants control of the area back. The Necrons are awakening their dynasty, with all the internal political struggle youd expect. ZAA: I merely counsel caution. Arrogance is a poor shield. The Tyranids are out to eat everyone, which isnt a very compelling narrative on its own, so instead you follow the galaxy reacting to them. TYRALEAN: Holy Emperor, I can hear them in the walls! Theyre well-written adventures and a fine framework to hang skirmish battles on. But they probably could have cut down on the amount of systems, and it wouldnt have hurt the game too much. In contrast to this, the Chaos campaign is much more of a slog.On the map, they mainly play like the Imperium, but they also have a Chaos god mechanic. Certain planets can be dedicated to a god, to gain their favor. Using favor, you can summon a fleet dedicated to that god, each with their own different thematic special abilities. Or you could use favor to affect an enemy system, similar to the Tyranids. Sounds good so far. Well, the first issue is that Khorne and Nurgle blow the other two out of the water, so the choices are less compelling. Outside of battle, your system effects are pretty bad, and you have lots and lots of invasions to deal with. To be fair, the campaign difficulty can be heavily customized, outside of the stock options, so you could tweak the map to be less oppressive. There are fun missions to play. One of the first ones is the Alpha Legion hijacking a cruiser. If it was all in the base game, I wouldnt think much of it, but its a value issue.Chaos is already in the base game you can play them in Skirmish and multiplayer. So youd be paying $13 only to play them in campaign. That doesnt seem worth it to me. If you got a whole new race and their campaign sure. But for one already in the game I dont think so. Overall, its still a great game. I had fun in singleplayer and multiplayer, and there is cross-play for matchmaking. However, cross-play wont work for invite-only stuff, like campaigns or custom skirmish battles. The stability and performance is an issue, which I hope is addressed, but the game hasnt been patched in a long while.Its also worth mentioning the game uses Easy Anti-Cheat. Most people dont have an issue with it, and I never have personally, but I was on the other side of that for years and years with that piece of shit Punkbuster. So this is a warning for those of you who have had a bad history with the program. I FEEL YOUR PAIN. After negotiating, it will be 60% off in the pinned link for a while. Though, with recent events, well see how this kind of thing goes in the future. That will be enough Warhammer for a while. There is a new year coming with a lot to cover.Ill see you then! Genuinely thanks for watching! Its Its been rough Still, next year could get better! So I might as well try to think forward, and not about everything. Because Christ Matt Oburn: Are there any other 2D adventure games [you] wanna do that [you] consider to be cursed? O-oh yes, theres one in particular that Ive looked at for years wanting to do something with, but its kind of unstable. Its also blatantly unfinished, so I was shocked that it got a Steam release at all a few years ago. But yeah, I absolutely have plans for it. Its on the same logic level as Druids, but somehow edgier. Kid B: With MCC on PC, would [you] want to cover mainline Halo games? There is Halo stuff I wanna cover, but not really those. Also, Id rather not have to finish Halo 4 from what I played Theres one total conversion mod Ive been waiting on an update for, but that will likely be the first big Halo thing. Artega: What genre or setting is underused by game developers? Oh, man, uhm I wanna say urban fantasy.I know Persona and some Japanese games have gotten big, but that genre hasnt caught up out here. The only games I know coming out for that are, like, Vampire Masquerade 2 and Harry Potter. I think Harry Potter still being around in general says a lot about that. But thats a story for another day. Have a great holiday! By the way, if you do cutscenes in, like, a motion graphic style, never ever do this COLONEL McFACE: Go! Make your studies. He was fine from far! Why would you do that?.

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