Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock was a surprisingly good game. It featured one of the best and deepest tactical simulations of spaceship combat in the genre, and while it never really delivered on anything outside battles, it managed to make them very enjoyable.
Support post-launch is thankfully ongoing, and all content so far can be used on the campaign and skirmish modes, giving commanders new ways to tackle Deadlock’s tactical battles. Black Lab Games released the first DLC roughly four months after the game came out, and with the upcoming launch of The Broken Alliance expansion, we’ve decided to take a look at the DLCs and a short post-mortem of the game’s current issues. Check it out!
Reinforcement Pack DLC
Support post-launch is thankfully ongoing, and all content so far can be used on the campaign and skirmish modes, giving commanders new ways to tackle Deadlock’s tactical battles.
This small DLC is priced reasonably and packs quite a punch, adding four new ships and an ordnance type for both Colonial and Cylon factions. On the Colonial side, there’s the Berzerk assault carrier -- a small artillery platform capable of providing fire coverage -- and the Janus heavy cruiser, a powerful armoured dreadnought.
Both ships are extremely handy in engagements, providing some much needed support. The Berzerk comes with three guided missile launchers by default, allowing it to deliver a devastating salvo in a moment’s notice. The Janus, meanwhile, is a surprisingly fast tough old bastard who can get into the thick of it and come out the other side in one piece, and it’s Viper fighter squadron provides some much needed range and versatility.
The Toasters get access to the Phobos cruiser and the Cerastes gunship -- the former a hacking-focused boat, while the latter’s a fast defensive vessel. Both are surprisingly well-rounded, driving home the overall superiority of the Cylon’s formidable ships against the aging, diverse Colonial fleet.
The Phobos is focused on hacking, but thanks to its missile tubes and hangar, it fulfills its role as a cruiser pretty damn well. It also possesses the ability to do highly accurate short-range FTL jumps mid-battle, which almost certainly led to broken keyboards and defenestrated monitors somewhere in the world.
In the meantime, the Cerastes acts as a fast defensive-focused vessel, slightly bigger than the Nemesis and much more resilient. It is not very good at trading blows with the big guys, but it’s arsenal of point-defence turrets place it as a very powerful anti-squadron ship in the lineup.
Almost all ships can use the new mines, adding a bit of an universal tone to round up the DLC. Those work as mines are expected to work, releasing an explosion, cluster payload, or EMP blast onto any hostiles (or unlucky friendlies) in its vicinity. The close range that most battles inevitably devolve into makes the new ordnance surprisingly useful, and its use is the most effective when one can successfully predict the movement of enemy ships.
All in all, a very good and well priced piece of downloadable content.
The Broken Alliance
Deadlock’s second DLC follows on the footsteps of Paradox by including a free update that adds a few things to the game. Aside from revamping the blueprint and campaign menus, the free patch also adds new damage models to every ship, meaning your vessels no longer look pristine even after 20 minutes of engagements.
In a similar note, you are now able to activate an optional campaign feature called Persistent Damage, which carries capital ship’s damage from mission to mission unless they are repaired. The feature also keeps track of the number of missions and confirmed kills each ship has, creating an interesting little record of your Colonial Fleet’s performance during the First Cylon War.
The paid DLC focus on the politics of the BSG universe, adding eight new missions that are interwoven with the base campaign’s. It also adds new ships, further expanding the options for tactical engagements first benefited by the Reinforcement Pack.
The Colonial powers get access to the Celestra-class support boat and the Minerva-class Battlestar -- a very capable ship and a precursor to the Mercury-class -- while the Cylons get the ridiculously large Argo carrier and the Hydra-resupply vessel.
The Celestra and the Hydra are purely support crafts, with little to no offensive capabilities of their own -- however, they can both reinforce the armour/hitpoints of specific ships and resupply their missiles, lending some much needed aid during prolonged engagements.
Meanwhile, the Minerva is a powerful, nicely designed ship that comes equipped with two squadrons of Vipers and dual missile launchers by default, making it a very well-rounded option and meaningful presence in the battlefield. The Argos carrier is a large spiky-shaped behemoth with a large array of missiles and hangars, and an even larger health pool. However, its armour and self-defence armament are pitiful, making it a glass canon that can wreck a whole fleet in a split second, but can be taken out surprisingly fast if cornered.
To round up the capital ships offerings, two new squadrons are added to Deadlock in Broken Alliance: the Human Assault Raptors, made to take out big ships with their rocket pods; and the Toaster Scorpion Sentry, a defensive drone that can shoot down fighters and missiles very effectively as long as it is stationary.
Similar to XCOM 2’s War of the Chosen, Broken Alliance’s integrated missions kinda blend in with the main game, making them feel like a natural part of the campaign. If you enjoyed Deadlock and want more, Broken Alliance is a no-brainer.
So where are we now?
Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock is a pretty good game, but its main issues really drag the whole game down with a passion. While the game’s new features are certainly welcome, they do little to address Deadlock’s most egregious shortcomings.
The base game still has serious glaring quality of life issues, from target assignment to ship controls. Enemies are not assigned codenames, meaning every one of the 15 Nemesis corvettes are named simply “Nemesis”. Giving orders to multiple units, like Viper squadrons, remains utterly unoptimized, micromanage-y, and frankly, it is a pain in the ass. Every time I go back to Deadlock, I tend to slowly lose my patience with the game due to the unintuitive UI and controls until I finally just stop playing it altogether.
While the expansions successfully add several new interesting options to Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock, they utterly ignore some of the game’s long-standing issues since launch. Let’s hope the next updates fix some of the worst offending game design problems, instead of just pilling new ships on top of a flawed structure.