Warhammer 40K is perhaps one of the best known franchises among a certain segment of sci-fi fans over the last 30 years. The 40K universe is set in the forty first millennium with tension between the totalitarian Imperium of Man, the Orks, Eldar and Daemons. The universe began and still is based around tabletop figures and is played with dice and elaborate rules and dioramas. It’s make the jump to books and comics and even a CGI movie and has produced a surprising number of of moderately successful games. What it’s never done is really break through to the mainstream and be a massive hit.
Battlefield Gothic: Armada takes one element out of the 40K universe – big impressive space ships and space battles and makes it into a real time strategy game. The game is due to launch soon but the multiplayer beta started on Thursday for anyone who preordered. It’s got a limited subsection of what’s going to be in the full game including limited access to two fleets, the tutorial and 1v1 skirmishes against the AI and other players but it’s running and we’ve got access.
The game is a real time strategy and has you controlling fleets of ships. This is exactly what you’d expect positioning and movement, general and specific orders, short term buffs, ship selection crew selection, ship upgrades, temporary and permanent. Most of these are still very simplistic and reset every time you restart a session.
There’s still a number of bugs being reported in the comments on Steam so don’t necessarily expect a perfect experience. I’ve only run into one – for some reason I can alter my viewpoint down and right with S and D but A and W do not move left and up. The arrow keys and mouse work perfectly to shift perspective but it’s an odd bug.
Price: £26.99 (10% saving until the 23 March)
Included in the box: Battlefleet Gothic: Armada full game, multiplayer Beta-access, Space Marines Fleet DLC (available after full game releases)
About Game Workshop, Focus Home Interactive (publisher) and Tindalos Interactive (Dev)
Game Workshop is the owner of the 40K universe and Warhammer and is best known for their tabletop gaming and books.
Focus Home Interactive is the publisher based in France and has been involved in a number of well known games over the last few years. This list includes The Walking Dead, Cities XXL, Farming Simulator and many more.
Tindalos Interactive is the developer who is based in Paris. They’ve made several scifi themed games including Stellar Impact and Etherium which are clearly precursors of Amanda . Tindalos also have a second specialty in 3d modelling.
Most of the content isn’t yet available but the beta does give us a good idea of how accessible the game is going to be.
Most of the gameplay is on a virtual tabletop which has a large static image behind it. The angle and view is adjustable and rotateable and there is some control of view distance, texture and view distance.
I did not note any areas where color blindness would be a problem but some of the buttons are a little unclear as to their function and whether they are on or off. The game can be paused or slowed at any time for more detailed examination.
Armada has an audible component with dialogue, alarms and background music but there are visual indicators available for all audio notifications. There are four volume controls – general, sound effects, music and voices and they are individually mutable.
All dialogue is subtitled and subtitles are on by default.
The game can be entirely controlled via the mouse or via the keyboard but is best played with a combination of both. Keyboard shortcuts are re-configurable although there are some bugs that need to be worked out.
The single player tutorial available in this beta takes you through three missions. The first is very simple – move through a minefield, approach a station and then combat with a single ship. I found this very straightforward and well laid out.
The second has you hide and ambush an enemy ship with three ships of your own – simple and straightforward.
Finally the third gives you a fleet to control and cargo haulers to defend. This was a little more confusing and took me a couple of goes to get the hang of. This was less because of the controls and more to figure out what the best tactics were to use. Realizing that slowing time was essential and that the the enemy ships could and would ram you.
The 1X1 are much more variable. The AI is smart enough to give you a run for your money and human opponenets are very variable. I was able to get into matches fairly quickly and while I had a few cases of opponents vanishing into disconnects the bones of the system seems sensible and works well.
Battlefleet Gothic:Armada is available currently for £26.99 which gives you access to the beta, the full game when it launches and the Space Marine DLC which will be available after launch.
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 10 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX compatible
Processor: AMD FX-8350 X8 (4,0 GHz)/Intel Core i7-3770 (3,9 GHz)
Memory: 8 GB
Graphics: 2 GB, DirectX 11, AMD Radeon R9 270X/NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada once you’ve stripped away the pretty extras seems to be a well written and enjoyable table top strategy game moved to the PC. The beta shows a lot of promise and if you’re a tabletop or 40K fan you’re going to want to get in now for the extra DLC and reduced price. For every one else keep an eye on your feeds for when this one comes out – there’s the making of a good game here.
The review is based on beta access to the Multiplayer of Battlefield Gothic Armada played 10th March to 13th March 2015 kindly provided by Tindalos Interactive. This article was first published on 13th March 2015