Blood Bowl 2 (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 20.10.2015

Review for Blood Bowl 2 on PC

Sports games have been stuck in a rut for the longest time. With EA holding the license to the primary sports titles and Nintendo not supporting the Mario sports series as much as it once used to, it seems like this rut is set to continue. Now, though, a thin ray of hope shines through in the form of Blood Bowl 2, a game that allows men, women, ogres, elves, and orcs to huddle up around the old pigskin for some good old violence… With sports on the side!

When it comes to sports games, there isn't much in the way of variety. Sure, there is a game for each individual sport - maybe two - but beyond that, the only thing is drafting fictional teams and making home games based off of the trading cards. Until someone heard the term "fantasy football" and decided to make it quite literal, that is. Developed by Cyanide Studios, Blood Bowl 2 takes the great old sport of American football and sees humans, orcs, elves, rats, demons, and every race from the Warhammer universe huddle up on the field for some good old-fashioned violence! Along with something about a ball on the side.

The gameplay is actually quite simple. There are two opposing teams upon the field with a ball. One team must move their ball to the opponent's end zone, all while avoiding vicious and utterly brutal beat downs by the opposing team that is more than willing to land a haymaker on them, or even the referee themselves! Comba- *cough* "play" takes place over a series of turns, in which those involved are allowed to move their units about on the field and delve into heavy and brutal punch-ups. Be careful, though, as just beating them up won't lead to victory, and it may even hurt its chances! One missed attack and the turn ends on the spot, regardless of how many units haven't moved yet, including the designated targe- *cough* "ball carrier."

Screenshot for Blood Bowl 2 on PC

In its most basic form, Blood Bowl 2 is little more than the standard turn-based RPG in that a unit is moved around on a grid, combat is dealt with in a dice-based manner, and balancing out things like levels takes place. Likewise, it also holds a strong sports aspect in that the goal isn't actually "combat" so much as scoring points and the like. However, what is truly stand-out is just how well it mixes the two. As mentioned prior, relying too heavily on combat can result in turns ending early, but tackling an opposing line-backer out of the way can free up a path for a good runner to try and reach the end zone. However, it is also possible to opt to not go for the combat and, instead, risk the ball carrier getting tackled, try to slip a catcher behind the opponent's lines and pass the ball to them, or various other strategies.

To add to that, there is a whole bunch of chaos involved. Fans can riot, the referee can become violent, various spells and abilities will come into play, and some team mates might even die if things get too nasty out there! Dead players are not terribly helpful for the team... Even when tackling opponents, there is the distinct chance that it might be the tackler who gets knocked out instead of the foe. Better pray to the Random Number Generator Goddess and offer the proper sacrifices (usually things of high value) if wishing to rely heavily on this luck.

Screenshot for Blood Bowl 2 on PC

Blood Bowl 2 is actually far more strategic in that the goal is to try and minimise these random elements. After all, relying on luck constantly is a sure-fire way to lose the favour of the RNG Goddess, and her wrath is a near-guaranteed gamer death eventually. As a result, developing good, reliable, strategies to reduce luck is also very important, leading to some great gameplay and some decent balance between the two.

The biggest draw, however, is the fantasy. The teams are not just humans, but, rather, drawn from a wide variety of races. Each one has its own unique advantages and disadvantages; for example, dwarves tend to be very heavy on the block, resulting in them being difficult to knock down compared to their non-dwarven counterparts. The sheer number of other insane things make the game pretty much flat-out enjoyable and unique. There is no experience quite like playing Blood Bowl 2 as there is no other title where the audience can watch a massive brute of a man try to grapple with a demon for control of a spiked ball.

Screenshot for Blood Bowl 2 on PC

That's not to say this is perfect, as some things can be outright unwelcoming to newcomers. Losing a much beloved star, for instance, can be extremely frustrating, and the amount of strategy and turn-based combat might turn off the standard sports game fan, as well. Level-ups are also pretty heavily randomised, which can result in good players ending up subpar later on.

On the whole, though, while the audience that Blood Bowl 2 will appeal to might be niche, it certainly appeals magnificently well; namely, the audience that enjoyed the Warhammer Blood Bowl games. That isn't shocking, really. Even for non-fans, it might be worth checking out, if only to watch a goblin deck a demon for control of the ball and make a sprint for the end zone.

Screenshot for Blood Bowl 2 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

What little Blood Bowl 2 does wrong is more a result of its unconventional mix-up than any technical shortcomings of the game. Combining sports and RPGs is a tricky thing at best, and while Blood Bowl 2 pulls it off well, to say the mix is perfect wouldn't be right. This is fun to play through and through, even if the audience might be limited.

Developer

Cyanide

Publisher

Focus Home Interactive

Genre

Sport

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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