Games Workshop is at it again with the sequel to the ultimate sportsball game! The original Blood Bowl was a PC hit inspired by the extremely popular board game made by Games Workshop. It has all the elements of Football you could want, plus death! You smash your way down the field, often trying to inflict as much damage as you can to the enemy team while trying to score a touchdown. This isn’t a Madden clone by any stretch of the imagination, as you will hit the field with giant rat ogres or walking trees. Every bit of the Warhammer Fantasy flavor shines brightly as two forces clash for trophies and bragging rights in this winner-smash-all competition.
How Does it Play?
Dice play a large part in this adaptation of the popular board game.
At its heart Blood Bowl 2 is a top down strategy game complete with a grid and simulated dice rolls. It boasts a complete campaign, which is admittedly a long tutorial to get you used to the many game mechanics in play. It strips it into easy to bite segments and slowly layers the actions needed to complete the match until you’re playing against challenging opponents with no help at all.
There is also a league mode where you can build a team from scratch and take it either online against live opponents or play against an AI tournament ladder, both of which are fun and engaging. As you progress in this mode you can hire, fire, promote, or bench the players on your roster as you see fit. The individual players gain levels and abilities you choose, the stadium you play at can be upgraded with bonuses, and you as the coach level up and can buy bonuses for the team. The progression on all fronts is very fun and rewarding.
The matches take place over 16 rounds, with each team having 16 turns to make a play work, or shut down the opposition. The turns are timed, but once you get the swing of things you never feel rushed. Moving players is easy to do with the blocked grid system in place. When forces collide on screen Blood Bowl 2 really takes off. Blocking and attacking are easy to do, as the game is adapted well to the controller on a console. The dice mechanic adds a good bit of tension to the plays as there is always a chance you as the attacker will go down, forcing a “turnover” and ending your turn in the round.
There are different types of players, from throwers to catchers, linemen to blitzers, the way you play is up to you as you build your team. The big power players are the most fun, but can also be the most problematic, as they often have a 50/50 shot of being too stupid or too mean to move (literally!) which can make or break a drive.
After all the pieces are in place, the dice warmed up, and the field adequately trimmed, the matches can take around 45 minutes to an hour, but it will feel like 15 minutes most times.
Bringing the board to life, the fun quirkiness of Blood Bowl rings true.
How Does It Look?
The game does a great job bringing the different races of the Warhammer Fantasy universe together with a really good looking art style to go with them. From the tall, sinewy wood elves, to the brutal orks, everything looks just as you expect it. The game’s menus are pleasing to the eyes and functional. The real visual treat is when the game is on and the players are on the field.
Every hit looks like it hurts, and when the stadium swings into view during the cut away beat downs, it really pulls you into the action. The games overall graphics aren’t going to win awards for breaking industry standards, but they are pleasingly average.
A little grimy and rough, but that could just be the Orks...
How does it sound?
From the moment you load the game up and the announcers start setting the tone, the game doesn’t disappoint for what it is. The crowd cheers as the players get beat up and bashed. The cheerleaders cheer every touchdown. The referee blows a shrill whistle every time you try to stomp on a downed opponent and get caught. The game’s audio really makes you feel like you’re at a sporting event, even if it is a fantastical blood bath.
For what it is, Blood Bowl 2's audio does a great job.
Can You Control It?
The controls are very intuitive, which is important for any strategy game that finds its way onto a console. There are moments where the action gets intense and you may accidentally hit the wrong button, but overall the controls are easy to master, as much of what you’re doing is selecting a place to go and a die to use. If you’ve played any other strategy title on console, you’ll pick this up quickly.
Standard controls that are comfortable to use.
How does it FEEL?
It feels right. It feels like what any fan of the board game or the original PC title would want out of a sequel. It executes what it sets out to do extremely well, with only minor hiccups, though never anything game breaking. Overall, it makes you feel like you’re coaching a rough and tough group of blood bowlers, out to take the heads off of the opposing team.
The Feel: 1.8
For any Warhammer fan, this is good, for any strategy fan, this is good. If you're both, this game is great.