Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock - The Review
For those who are not familiar with Battlestar Galactica, it was first released back in the 80s which was based on the original film and series. In early 2003 the series got a reboot for PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox as single player campaign game. Since then we have seen a few small games made by various studios, including in 2011 the release of Battlestar Galactica Online as a free-to-play MMO, which was based on the 2004 TV Series remake.
Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock, unlike past games, is a 3D tabletop strategy game which puts your wits to the test to ensure you make the right choices to win each fight. Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock takes the player into the heart of the First Cylon War, to fight 3D battles. The player takes control of the Colonial Fleet from the bridge of the mobile shipyard, Daidalos, and free the Twelve Colonies from the Cylon threat. It plays a lot like a twist between star trek online and Xcom games with turn-based gameplay but can see the real-time fighting going on as you end each turn.
The game begins as the first Cylon war kicks off, 30 years after the 2nd civil war between the 12 colonies due to political instability and infrastructure they had created. During that time the Cylons were created to help man further in making their lives more efficient. However, the Cylons became aware and we begin by retaliating as Picon (One of the 12 colonies) was attacked. The tutorial battle is quite basic with only two ships to battle allowing you to learn the controls and mechanics of the game. However you are forced to play out each turn the way the tutorial wants you to, but it does give you a detailed walkthrough of how everything works, allowing you to settle into the game very quickly.
Just after the tutorial, you are guided to Picon to deliver there Jupiter class battleship, which is powerful, however, you don’t get to keep the ship for yourself. You have to manage the battles as well as micromanaging of your fleet to ensure you have coverage across the four galaxies while having a top-notch fleet on your main commander center, which acts as an extra support for your ships. Some missions give you access to extra ships with different characteristics including better defence or hangars with fighter squadrons which can give you an edge against larger ships as they can defend ships and intercept any missiles threatening your fleet.
Yaw and elevation also play a big part in the battles with different shield capacities on different sides of the ships giving you tactical options to bring down the enemy faster and reducing your casualties. The game mechanics are unique in you have to change tactics on the fly. You can change your posture which allows you to maximise your defence or attack for up to +4 ratings which reorganise your subsystems. For example, if you choose the attack option your defence systems are reduced and given to your guns and other offensive systems or by doing the opposite and getting stronger shields and armour.
However, this can change in the course of the battle as your ship becomes attacked your systems reduce shields and firepower as the battle rages causing you to make desperate retreats to ensure your fleet survives the battle. At the beginning of each battle you are allowed to set up where your fleet jumps in and their positions which can give you an edge in being closer to enemy ships when you begin, this is a great feature in my opinion as it gives you so many more options to make you feel like you are completely in control as fleet command officer. Another feature was if you didn't manage ships correctly they can collide with each other causing destruction of your ships, but you can also turn this round to your advantage and do a kamikaze run into enemy ships. I learned the hard way crashing my flagship into a cruiser class vessel causing significant damage to my main fleet that I spent so much on.
As you progress you get access to officers which can bolster your flagships stats, however, be careful where you assign your officer as they are the only ones who can accept story missions and resource missions. Officers have a perk system which can bolster your ship's defence and attack or focus on increasing your fleet size for the fleet they are assigned to, giving you another strategy to take into account when planning which enemies to battle.
Throughout the campaign, you're presented with multiple Cylon attacks on colonies that are random and your decisions affect how they react, the more Cylons you kill for the colonies the more resources they provide for you and other things, however, the harder it is to manage all colonies. In the beginning, defending is harder as there is usually 2-3 Cylon attacks, which you can’t manage all of them before their attacks.
Shipbuilding is turn based too, so if your fleet starts shrinking, building ships can be handy at key moments, sometimes building a few extra ships can help too, as over time you will need to create new fleets to defend each quadrant of the 12 colonies. Ships can also be rush built to speed up building if you need the ship straight away, however you do need to manage resources and make sure you have the supplies. As you progress you unlock new blueprints for stronger ships giving you more options and playstyles to use in your battles.
Moving on to the maps some detail has been put in to create realistic battles, which is in constant flux. You will find destroyed shipwrecks, asteroids, planets in the background and in story missions space stations and other facilities that don't play a big part in being big problems for your ships as they are stationary objects and are unable to follow the path that is has, instead are shown in red to move it away from the object whether you turn or go high or low as you have more movability options in space to most other strategy based games. When ships are destroyed they are also added to the scenery and stay throughout the battle, however I am let down by how you rotate the background the stars and scenery always follows as if the picture just follows your movements; which is stationary and doesn’t include many blinking stars that give you a sense of immersion. The asteroids too have a lack of detail by looking 3D in the background but only being 2D, however on the plus side the lighting effects on the scenery is great in shadowing the side which isn’t facing the distant sun and is done really well. Finally, the detail on the ships is promising, but at a closer glance show some detail, while the rest is blurry and out of focus like a 360 game, I felt a bit let down considering this is an Xbox one game and only shows set areas of the ships like the weapons and engines. Story graphics are good with it being narrated and captioned as the characters inform you of the situation, but the captions were also glitchy during my playthrough with some of the character artwork being cut off and a few words unreadable by the on-screen captions.
Overall what the game lacks in graphics makes up for in gameplay and how advanced it is for a strategy game, with real-time replays on the best part of the battles and watching the battle in real time as each move is played out. The story is very informative during missions and immerses you into the Battlestar Galactica Universe. This is a hidden gem of strategy turn-based genre games that offers not only a challenging factor but fun experience throughout with no two battles turning out the same. Its definitely a game worth sinking your teeth into if you love slower pace gameplay and want to enjoy the lore and get deeply involved with the story. If you are a fan of this genre, then this is the game for you, as is by far up there with such games as Xcom and Age of Empires to name a few.
I awarded the score I did, and not a point lower because by putting a few hours into the game, you can pick up the game quite quickly and becomes very enjoyable. What few bad points there are, only being small minor things to do with graphics; Battlestar Galactica offers a unique experience worthy of sinking your time and money into.
Overall Score: 8/10
Developer: Black Lab Games
Publisher: Slitherine Software
Release Date: 8th December 2017
Price: £23.99 - Digital
File Size: 4.1GB
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Steam.
Xbox One copy provided for review purposes.