This game takes me back to my youth back in the Y2k period. We used to get New Age Gaming magazine in print in those days, which is what I used to collect on a monthly basis… religiously. In one of those magazines, there was a featured article on a science fiction space strategy game. I can’t remember the exact name of it now, but it had the word “Home” in it.
Even though I was a console gamer back then, and this was released on PC, I really wished I could have played it. The graphics as presented in the magazine looked fantastic, and fighting in space sounded awesome.
Fast forward to this past holiday season. When I saw the trailer for Battlestar Galactica Deadlock, I could not wait to get my hands on it. Not only is it a space science fiction battling game, but it is also available on the PS4! It takes me back to that old wish of mine, which Slitherin Ltd and Black Lab Games have made come true.
BSG Deadlock is set in a time before the Battlestar Galactica tv series, before the First Cylon War which was a war between us humans and the cyber-human race. You are in the early days of the Cyclon rebellion, where the Cyclons are attacking Picon City as well as other settlements and systems in the twelve colonies. Your mission: build up your colonial fleet and fight back against the rebellion.
Your missions are given to you in a briefing room as the main stage setter, although sometimes things will happen during missions that may alter the course of your objective. The story is very interactive in that nothing is cast in stone, and things can change at a moment’s notice. Something that is truly terrifying when you have an armada of fleet floating through space.
After you’ve set up your mission, location and resources in the command centre, it’s time to head out. You start off with a Jupiter class Battlestar. This is where the real action happens. You are flying through space to your objective, and more often than not someone will attack you en route. Things change in an instant, and you have to have your strategic head screwed on straight if you want to survive. Reallocate resource, change weapon types, focus or disperse the attack of your fleet… do whatever you must!
I loved the story and the ways things shifted mid-battle. It was enough to keep me playing and wanting more. Which was why when it ended I wished there was a longer story.
I’m going to go straight off the hatch and say that if you don’t like strategy or turn-based games, don’t bother getting BSG Deadlock. I usually have a preference for real-time strategy, but turn-based strategy suits this game perfectly. The last time I played a turn-based strategy game was Heroes of Might and Magic V. And boy, it’s been a while.
Playing turn-based on a console can be demanding. BSG Deadlock attempts to make it easier on you with tutorials from the start, but even that will not prepare you for what is to come. And that’s why I am glad this is turn-based. At the beginning, there were several minutes of frustration as I tried to figure out which button did what, even though it was explained to me before. Getting used to the controls takes some getting used to, but once you have it… you’re invincible.
And once you have it, keep playing BSG Deadlock until you’re done. During the holidays I took a break from game reviews and articles, and so hit the game up again last week. I had completely forgotten which buttons did what, so turned to the controller guide. Few more minutes of practice, and I was back in the war.
BSG Deadlock plays out like a boardgame in space, of sorts, while providing 3D surroundings. You can fly around any of your fleet that you have selected and even get up close. The most intense part of the gameplay is the versatile strategy you need to have. One moment you think you have everything under control, the next something surprising happens and you need to switch. Many a stage was replayed to try a new strategy until I found one that worked. Which is what I really loved about it.
As you play through the early stages, you will be obtaining Tylium so that you can build new ships, requisition points to recruit new officers, upgrading weapons and using blueprints for new units. You can use the command centre to look for side quests or smaller missions in between the main ones to help you upgrade.
So as a fan of real-time strategy, I am glad to have a turn-based strategy game on my PS4 to test my abilities. And test it BSG Deadlock does very well.
GRAPHICS AND ATMOSPHERE
Oh my goshness… this game is supremely beautiful. Just staring at the surrounding stars, clusters and galaxies is really an amazing experience. And the detail the design team put into every ship, weapon and action is amazing. You really feel like you are fighting in space, which can be slightly intimidating at times.
As mentioned before, you can swerve your camera around in 3D with the ability to zoom in and out. I preferred being zoomed out and seeing my entire battle field. However, sometimes when many ships are clustered in one battle zone, I did need to zoom in to see what I was doing and to make sure I selected the correct ship to attack or defend.
When you are in the thick of things, you can feel you are at work. Ships are being destroyed, your fleet diminishes and many times all hope feels lost. Your screen overlay contains so much data, you need to know exactly where to look at what to get information to act on as quickly as possible. While sometimes overwhelming, the GUI is sufficient to get you through the hardest times, even if is means accessing a different set of options at times.
BSG Deadlock can be real tough at times. So much so that you will want to just switch it off until your fried brain wants to try again. But that doesn’t take away the enjoyment of it. Even though playing a turn-based strategy game on console can be tedious, once you become used to it, your master of the universe.
It deserves a well-earned 8/10. I sincerely hope they bring more BSG or at least more space fighting games to console.
Disclaimer: AIR Entertainment received a review copy from the publisher for reviewing purposes. This review is the author’s own opinion and not influenced by the developer in any way, as per our reviewing Code of Ethics.
SHAUN M JOOSTE