Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock delivers a fantastic strategy game that provides hours of tactical combat and edge-of-your-seat encounters. That it is also a great representation of the Battlestar Galactica property is just an added, but very welcome, bonus.
It is something of a surprise to me that a television series as popular as Battlestar Galactica was in the mid-to-late 2000’s has not spawned better quality games, especially when one considers how popular 4x space strategy is as a video game genre. But Deadlock takes advantage of this entertainment gap and pulls the two together in an excellent blend of resource management and tactical combat.
In many ways, resource management feels tacked on in some strategy games. A way to pad the play time or try to make you multitask, but the mechanics are often sloppy at worst or perhaps just uninteresting at best. However, there is a bit more risk and reward to be found here as the way you leverage resources into a unit can have a profound impact on your ability to progress, especially if a particular ship that you decked out gets taken down, and with it all of those glorious resources you scavenged. On a thematic level, the resource management works with a Battlestar game as well, given the nature of the source material and the narrative of survival.
However, despite the solid resource management, the combat is where I still had the most fun. It is a hybrid turn-based model similar to what we have seen in other titles where both sides issue orders, and then you sit back and watch it play out. You then hit a certain point where both sides are issuing commands and then the scene plays out in a lather, rinse and repeat formula that had me frequently wondering what would happen next. It’s a mix of strategy and cinema that befits the source material.
It helps that the combat has a couple of flavors to it as well. A big part of the show were the fighter ships, and in many sci-fi strategy games, success revolves around bigger and bulkier ships with more firepower and endurance. There’s certainly a place for that here as well, but the little guys zipping around the field of battle are important as well, and it keeps Deadlock’s pacing brisk as a result.
There is a lightweight skrimish mode you can play online, but I didn’t find a ton of value in that. The vast majority of my time was spent with the campaign, which serves as a sequel of sorts to the show’s events. While this is not a big budget AAA game, I came away pretty pleased with the detailed ships and the overall visuals of being in space. I would not go so far as to say the graphics were really impressive, but they get the job done pretty well. It is worth noting the end game replays as you complete a stage and the game offers you a more cinematic look at what happened. This was neat, though I admit that the novelty wore off on me well before I reached the campaign’s conclusion Faring far better is the game’s music, with a soundtrack that really plays to the mood of the game and source material.
Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock has a handful of shortcomings in its relatively thin modes of play and average visuals, but by and large manages to distinguish itself in other ways. The combat is excellent, with a cinematic vibe that gives you the feeling of commanding an impressive fleet always on the edge of both victory and defeat. Resource management is simple yet important and compliments the the tactical combat system that is easily the high point of the game. Strategy fans should find a lot to like here if they enjoy campaign modes over multiplayer, and I suspect Battlestar Galactica fans will be pleased by the homage to the source material as well.Score: 8.25 / 10