Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 is the sequel to Battlefleet Gothic Armada which came out in 2016. I didn’t cover the first game as I didn’t feel it was a title I would be interested in. I am not a fan of Warhammer 40,000 games but from the scores it received and particularly on hear say of other games it was an extremely competent strategy game that friends told me I would enjoy. I am not saying I don’t like Warhammer 40,000, its just not something I have ever had time to do.

I installed the early release of Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2, which was very kindly sent to me by the developers and started to play. Within the first few minutes I could see what the appeal was and I would say that it is my type of game.

Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 battle with green lasers and explosions

Knowing my limitations I started with the campaign tutorial and was immediately impressed by the fluidity the game has overall. One of the things that puts me off of table top games is the stop start mentality that the games force on people. I liked the pace of movement immediately, fast enough to be busy but also giving you time to plan a series of moves, time to think about the best approach and as the tutorial finished, I rammed an enormous thing into a “Gigantonormouserer” thing and broke a planet in two!

If you are familiar with the Warhammer franchise then the names of the factions will be instantly recognisable and you may even have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. If like me you are not then you may find my research useful because as you are about to find out, Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 can get very confusing.

There are 3 factions within Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 with campaigns and a further 9 who are available for multiplayer or Battle as it is called, more on Battle later. The factions with Campaigns are:

Imperium

The greatest space-going military force of the 41st Millennium and perhaps in the whole of history. Only its need to safeguard a million worlds of the Imperium prevents it from dominating the entire galaxy.

Imperial Navy Emblem

Necron

Ageless masters of the galaxy, the Necrons emerge from stasis tombs to reclaim worlds lost to the ravages of time and the encroachment of lesser races. Coldly regal and slow to acknowledge outsiders as beings worthy of survival, they will sweep aside all in their path.

Necron Emblem

Tyranids

They exist only to feed, to reduce living matter into thick, nutrient-rich gruel to sustain the hive fleet in its nomadic voyage across the stars. There is no common cause to be struck; no negotiation to be attempted

Tyranid emblem

The other 9 Factions are

Adeptus Astartes

Otherwise known as the space marines they are the foremost defenders of Mankind; the Emperors spear thrust deep into the heart of this foes. These genetically engineered warriors are implacable, unyielding, and know no fear.

Adeptus Astartes Emblem

Adeptus Mechanicus

The guardians of the Imperiums’ fading technology and custodians for the secrets deemed to dangerous or corrupting for the eyes of lesser men. They are stewards of terrifying mechanical might.

Adeptus Mechanicus Emblem

Chaos

Like their masters, the ships of the Chaos fleet were once loyal to the Emperor of Mankind. But the corrupting influence of the Dark Gods has warped them into something fouler, and more dangerous. Now, imbued with hellish energy, they come to take revenge.

Chaos Emblem

Asuryani

Craftworlds are cosmic lifeboats, the last remnant of a star-flung civilisation all but consumed by its own hubris. Forever teetering on the brink of annihilation, the Asuryani fight to defend their existence with ancient technology and the power of prophecy.

Asuryani Emblem

Aeldari Corsairs

Wild-hearted Aeldari Corsairs can be found wherever the galaxy offers adventure and experience to thrill their heightened sense. Reckless and mercurial, they owe no loyalty save for that they choose to give – only a fool would trust them without good cause.

Aeldari Corsairs Emblem

Drukhari

Striking from the dark depths of Commoragh, the Drukhari enter the killing fields of realspace in search of captives to slake their abominable desires, and fuel their quest for immortality. Expect no mercy, the for the Drukhari have none to offer.

Drukhari Emblem

Orks

Living for the violence of war, the ceaseless contest to prove themselves “da strongest”. Once an Ork Waaagh! Gets underway, there can be no hope of peace until every last greenskin is slaughtered. Even then, they will return soon.

Ork Emblem

T’au Protector Fleet

A purposeful extension and overhaul of the T’au merchant fleet. As the T’au Empire expand, the increasing scope and scale of threats to the Greater Good demanded that dedicated warships be created.

T'au Protector Fleet emblem

T’au Merchant Fleet

In the early days of their space-borne expansion, the T’au made little distinction between trade and conquest, for both offered opportunity. The heavily-armed and armoured trading vessels served them well in early conflicts, blazing a trail of expansion that has never since guttered.

T'au Merchant Fleet Emblem

The lore then, is really heavy, its thicker than the butter on a fat mans crumpet and it is just as off putting to the uninitiated. It permeates the campaign which is to be expected however when I entered Battle my mind shattered.

Firstly you select the faction you wish to play as, then you pick the sub-faction, there are as many as 11 sub-factions (in the case of Chaos) to choose from, then you pick two Admiral Specs, these are special skills that you can use to turn the tide of a battle, after this you select two upgrades and then you can choose your fleet. You can select from several premade fleets or you can create your own. There are limitations imposed. Each ship has a number of points assigned to it. You have a finite amount of points to use so must design a fleet that will be effective within your allotted points.

Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 massive ship crashing into a planet

I would liken, Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 to an Englishman travelling in Japan. You see buildings and people, you see things you recognise but almost everything is different. If a battle is lost you don’t surrender or yield, you Capitulate. Capitulate means to surrender or yield but it’s not used in common parlance today and I think that sums up the language in game.

Once you get past the lore and start to play the game what you are left with is a solid RTS game that will give you plenty of pleasure.

The battles are wonderful to look at and the game really does reward you for thinking outside of the box and approach each battle tactically. For science I sent all my ships after the enemies Flagship, each time I was obliterated. I kept all my ships together and attacked the enemy ships one by one, picking them off quickly, in every game I lost the match to points. I was impressed that to win a fight, you really do have to think smartly and the game gives you the tools to do so.

Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 ship flying past planet

Little things like being able to choose which side of your ship you attack with and being able to drop a stasis weapon to secure a ship in place at the exact time your fleet closes in to annihilate a troublesome foe. There are some heart racing moments and at times very tense moments towards the end of a battle where it seemed like all hope was lost and then you would pluck victory from nowhere or times when victory was all but assured and then I would lose on points because I was not thinking about the big picture.

The visuals are one of the highlights for me. The ships are detailed and each faction has its own style, ships feel like they have a weight and the background of space is impressive. Weapons fire and destruction effects are striking and far more detailed that I would have expected. The ships themselves become less effective as the battle passes and if the battle is particularly long there is a marked difference in how your ship behaves and feels compared to its first foray.

“The lore is thicker than the butter on a fat mans’ crumpet”

Matt Ince

The AI is smart and, particularly for an RTS, responds very well to my actions. Ships will often avoid attacks and if there are several ships heading towards you they can actually be dispersed via a volley of torpedoes which in turn allows you to plan ahead.

Firing a volley towards an approaching fleet will make them split up, this means you can isolate a group of them and attack with a well placed flanking squadron.

I have yet to play a co-operative match but the options are there to try and whilst I have also not won an online match yet I have come close on several occasions and there is something so much more exciting battling a human foe that I can see Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 being a game I come back to again and again.

Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 huge fleet moving through space

In Summary

The lore makes this a hard game to get into, you feel lost and out of touch with everything, even now, after many hours, I cannot get my head around it however, it really doesn’t matter, the core of the game is that of a solid RTS game. Gameplay is excellent, graphically its one of the best examples in the genre and as a bonus, if you are into Warhammer 40,000, you will be able to understand why you are fighting.

  • 84%
    Gameplay - 84%
  • 92%
    Graphics - 92%
  • 81%
    Sound - 81%
  • 79%
    Longevity - 79%
  • 82%
    Value - 82%
83.6%

Summary

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 is a very lore heavy game that could be off-putting to some and that is a shame because this really is a game you should check out.

MinkiSan
I am a dad to two small children, I am tired, really tired.

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