Title: Blood Bowl 2
Version Tested: Xbox One
Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Developer: Cyanide Studios
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Genre: Turn Based Strategy, Sports
Official Site: Blood Bowl Game
Release Date: 9-22-15
Where To Buy: Xbox Live, Steam, PSN Store, & Local Retailer
Blood Blowl 2 is the successor game to Blood Bowl, developed by Cyanide Studios. The game is based off the Games Workshop tabletop board game that was released in the 1990’s and has not been touched by them since the release of the expansion pack, Death Bowl around the same period. Blood Bowl is essentially American Football in a fantasy setting where all the rules have been taken away.
The base game comes with Human, Orc, Dwarf, Skaven, Brettonian, High Elf, Dark Elf, Chaos and Lizardmen and Wood Elves as optional DLC teams. The amount of teams I find is very good, they even included the Brettonians one of the rarer races to see being played on the table top. This is an improvement in practice from the previous games, where two versions were released after the original, Blood Bowl Legendary Edition and Blood Bowl Chaos Edition, both were full versions of the game, just with additional teams, these were also sold at full price, meaning that many people had to buy the game twice to access the new teams. The only thing you could describe as ‘dubious’ about the DLC teams release is that both were released as part of a pre-order package or as day one DLC.
The gameplay of Blood Bowl 2 is largely the same as the table top, each player gets eight turns each and the turn is ended when the coach is done, a player is downed or the ball is somehow dropped. The game of Blood Bowl is determined by dice rolls, players can improve their chances through various means, but more often than not, it is the coach with the better strategy who wins. Creating your own team and pitting it against the computer or other players in a league can be challenging, rewarding and frustrating. Nothing is a guaranteed certainty in this game, and your star thrower can fumble to pick up the ball three turns in a row, or your ogre can be killed by a goblin on a lucky roll. The game’s rules are from what I can tell the original rule-set, the teams are also largely the same, which means that the game is quite balanced already.
The user interface is good, everything that worked in the first game worked here. Unfortunately, I found something rage inducing, with Blood Bowl 2, the game is clunky! Selecting something will not always activate it. It could have a delay upon activation, or not even activate at all, which meant that I would make stupid moves that would often make the turn end, due to my player trying to dodge past five tackle zones. Often you would select something, it would activate, but not show up on the screen, This would cause the same problem, an ‘Are you sure?’ message or fixing these issues would vastly improve the game.
The graphics are hugely improved from the previous game, character models look fantastic and are varied, on recruiting a new team member you can customise their attire and their face. The menus look good, and the UI is also very good. There have been some changes from the last game, but nothing hugely significant. Improving and customising your own stadium to give you a real home team advantage is a fantastic addition, making the pitch concrete so that the players take a harder fall if they try to go for it, or giving both teams a wizard for that match.
The online mode allows players to have matches against other human players, or if they wanted, set up their own league or tournament. The matchmaking in the large leagues seems to work well, I was never put up against a far superior team with a starter team or vice versa. The voice acting of the commentators was something I enjoyed vastly in the previous game, and this game is no different, they have brought over the same voice actors, however, I feel that after some time they begin to repeat themselves, often in the same game.
The campaign for this game is forgettable, it’s more like an introduction to the game of Blood Bowl than anything else, you can jump right into making your team if you are already familiar with the game and you wouldn’t really miss much. Blood Bowl 2 is a game full of potential, it is one of the favorite Games Workshop tabletop games that is out of production which has a great ruleset and a humorous side to it. What really drags this game down is the chunkiness I mentioned before, match after match was ruined by the game not working as intended. Multiplayer was enjoyable, everything ran smoothly, from connecting to the servers to the matchmaking. The game is polished well and only one thing really lets it down, it’s a pity that one thing is quite a major interfacing issue.