Although there are many turn-based strategy titles on PC, they are few and far between on console; titles like Civilization Revolution and the X-com series are some of the only games that most console players would be able to name, although there are few other gems in the genre out there for us console players to get our inner Commander juices flowing.
So where does Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock fit into this space on console? Well, the answer is all over the place in a good way). Developed by Australian dev team Black Lab Studios, Deadlock expands upon the much-loved Battlestar Galactica universe in a prequal setting to the TV series which showcases the First Cylon War (A long war between humans and the cybernetic humanoid Cylon race.) Although the story within Deadlock never goes into great details from this era, fans of the show will be very happy to be able to play their part in a much-referenced but never really visited time zone of the series’ lore.
As you begin the main campaign you are given three difficulty options to play through, Lieutenant, Commander and Admiral. Once you have selected your difficulty, the campaigns backstory is presented to you laying the background to the early days of the Cylon Rebellion and their attacks on Picon City and other locations throughout the twelve colonies. Under the command of Admiral Lucinda Cain, it is up to you to push back the rebellion whilst commanding and building up the entire colonial fleet.
You are then taken to your war room aboard the Daidalos; A huge spaceport which acts as your command headquarters throughout the campaign. Here you will plan your missions, build your forces, recruit officers and more as you pick your battles in an RPG style open world map which consists of the Colonial Systems and the areas of space in between. Once you have familiarised yourself with your maps you are then taken into your first few battles which acts as your basic training missions, here you will take control of two manticore class ships in a small battle that teaches you movements and the turn-based mechanics as well as showing you how to repair your ships when damaged.
It is not long before you have control of your first Jupiter class Battlestar, if only temporarily for now. You plan out your moves stances and everything else for each ship individually on a tabletop style, 3D battlefield and then watch the dogfights play out in real time over a fifteen-second play which has no interaction once your decisions are made, so plan carefully. Battles consist of engagements of all kinds that will keep you on your toes at all times and the mix of ships at your disposal all have a variety of firing abilities, from broadsides to guided missiles, to attacks from the bow and stern, which gives you almost endless routes of attack for future playthroughs.
Once you complete any mission and have viewed your stats, you can watch how the whole battle played out in great cinematic replays. This may be one of Deadlocks best areas as movies are played out in very much the same way as the large-scale battles from the TV series, a great addition, especially for fans of the show or even for you to watch and learn how to further improve your own tactics.
You carry on playing through the early missions earning Tylium for building new ships, Requisition points for recruiting new officers, blueprints for other units and weaponry to upgrade your existing units until you are let out onto the battlefield on your own. There are not many missions through the main campaign itself although Deadlock has RPG elements that do shake up how you play a little, from influencing colonial economies by deciding which side quests to accept, to moving around the map between battles whilst actively avoiding, or looking for smaller skirmishes between main missions. Taking part in smaller skirmishes will grant you more upgrade materials and lets you further hone your skills for the larger battles ahead.
Where Deadlock comes a little undone is the reasonably short campaign for experienced commanders. Taking around ten to fifteen hours to complete may not seem too bad for the price, but considering once you are finished the main story, you only have single player skirmishes on just four maps to keep you going with no Xbox live multiplayer to play with friends, although multiplayer was an option on the PC release. It feels even more scarce in content when you realise that there is a paid day one DLC pack out as well, full of items that you feel should really be in the base game.