Video games based on Games Workshop™ tabletop miniature games have been hit and miss in terms of quality. There have been many good games released like “Space Marine” and the “Dawn of War” turn based strategy game series to the terrible like the “Space Hulk” Game released for the Vita. Being a big fan of Games Workshop™, I will usually give their games a chance anyway. I’m glad I did with Blood Bowl 2. This is one of the best adaptations from a board game to video game that I’ve had the pleasure of playing.
There are various teams available to you from humans and elves to orks and skaven. In the campaign you play as the Reikland Reavers, a human team, who are disgraced and it’s up to the new coach (you the player) to bring them back to their former glory.
If you’ve played a turn based strategy game before this won’t feel too foreign to you but being familiar with the tabletop board game “Blood Bowl” will definitely be a help. To make up for the learning curve to those who are unfamiliar with the game, there is a robust campaign mode that introduces you to the various systems involved. Although the concept is simple, the game has a lot of depth to it.
You will eventually build a team, get a stadium that you can upgrade, and even get your team sponsored. The stadium can be raised through four tiers, with 10 add-ons, for a total of 20 possible unique stadiums. You design the team jersey, pick a name, and even select which type of stadium you will have. There are power ups you could purchase to enhance your game like cheerleaders who keep the crowd happy (you don’t want a Blood Bowl crowd to be angry with you), assistant coaches, and re-rolls.
Your team has a thrower, some catchers, some lineman, blitzers, and possibly a “big guy” like an ogre or troll. One team kicks off and then the other retrieves the ball and sets up their offense. For most actions there will be a dice roll where with some effects like having multiple dice to choose from or a disadvantage like having 2 dice but the opponent gets to choose which roll counts. Risk management is very important to win. You need to balance risk and reward very carefully and it is a good idea to wait until the end of your turn to chance the riskier actions. Before you throw for a pass you want to make sure your linemen are set up and you get your catchers into position.
The game has simple controls and easy to learn commands. There are a lot of options for you to choose from when building your strategy and with a little practice you will be bringing your team to victory.
The real meat and potatoes of the game though is the multiplayer. If you don’t have an online connection then you will not get the full enjoyment of this game however you could still play against the AI which is not that bad. Once you get a handle on the game you will want to create a team and join a league. Whether you want to play in matchmaking or start up a league of your own with some friends you will have a blast. All online play is persistent so if you have a player who gets injured you may have to play a couple games without him. After a while players may even retire if they’ve been playing a long time. There is also an online marketplace where you can trade players with other coaches to improve your team or get some extra gold be getting rid of your less valuable players.
In the base game there are 8 total races available and each plays very differently. For example the dwarf team is all about defense and use the strategy to tire out the opponent while the Skaven are all about quickly getting in the end zone. The beast men of the Choas team are not particularly good at offense or defense but are great at smashing the enem…er….opponent. They may not be able to throw or catch but it isn’t difficult to get in the end zone when your opponents team only has 3 players left on the field because everyone else is injured.
Online leagues will keep you busy for a long time and with all of the customizations you could make to your players no two teams will be alike. Endless challenges will await you on your way to the
The game looks beautiful. Although there is not really a lot of different things to see except for the stadiums and teams, there is a very high level of detail. From the blades of grass on the field to the nose hair of the dwarves, the game just looks stunning. Every hit, every stomp, every knockout is beautifully displayed in a quick zoom into the action. The game doesn’t do anything new graphically and it isn’t going to win awards for the visuals, but never has the Warhammer™ universe and it’s denizens looked so great on a screen before.