Sunday, 25 October 2015

Blood Bowl 2

There’s something about table-top games that try to make their way into the digital world. It can either be an unmitigated disaster or just not quite get there in comparison to the real thing. Blood Bowl 2 falls into the latter, but it still is a really enjoyable game but it actually falls short because it sticks too close to its board game roots and ultimately becomes a decent yet frustrating game. 

Developed by Cyanide Studios and out now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4,  Blood Bowl 2 has one person that gets in your way: Lady Luck. Set in the Warhammer universe,  Blood Bowl 2 features orcs, dwarves, humans, elves, trolls and more that all come together for two things: sport and blood.

The easiest way to describe  Blood Bowl 2 is that it’s a turn-based American football strategy game. Each team and players have different stats that specialise in certain tasks. There are teams with low armour but are agile like the wood elves, but there are also Dwarves that are good blockers and orcs that deal damage; Utilising teams to run your play-style will take time.

If you’ve never played Blood Bowl whatsoever, it is a complex game, and one that requires patience and a strategic mind. It's a game that can always see probabilities and possibilities in order to succeed. You can spend most of your turn not relying on the dice roll to succeed and then knowing when to take high-risk moves that matter. The campaign is probably the best place to start to understand the systems in place, and the many ways a team can win a game. The first couple of matches act as a tutorial and ease you in. Then, once that’s complete, a lengthy and rather excellent campaign is there for you to enjoy. You take control of Reikland Reavers, a team of humans that have fallen on hard times. You must build them back up to their best. A lot of effort clearly went into it and create some genuinely funny moments.

Past this, there is a great league mode that will really test your skills. I mentioned earlier that games can be won in multiple ways. One of those ways is by focusing on physically knocking out the other team and walking in a touchdown. You can also go one step further and take out a player when they’re down. This can lead to injury or even death, making every player that little bit more important to you. It’s honestly heart-breaking to build up a player, upgrade them and then be taken out in a match, and then needing to rebuild a player in that position again. These leagues can be played both online and offline, but expect to be reading into strategies and setups online of you want to win online.

The one major downside to the gameplay is that almost any action you do though requires a dice roll. Hell, even a long run to a ball requires a dice roll. On a couple of occasions, a player running to the ball resulted in him falling and knocking himself out. This is really frustrating as the random number generator can kill your turn far too soon. Any fail state ends your turn so you must be really careful to do the smaller things first. When things don’t go your way, even with careful planning, it just makes you want to walk away and never come back. Just like the monstrosities on the screen, it can get quite ugly.

But it’s still a fun game that’s been handled with care, something the players must do with the ball; I mean, it has spikes attached to it! If you like your strategy sports titles, then  Blood Bowl 2 is different enough to suck you in even if you’re not a big fantasy guy and sports guy but enjoy one or the other.

Blood Bowl 2 runs a decent play with 3/5.


Jason Redmond

Blood Bowl 2 at CeX

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