Cyanide Studio’s Blood Bowl 2 brings a whole new meaning to the term Fantasy Football. Blood Bowl 2 is an unlikely combination of a fantasy turn-based strategy and football games, that somehow works extremely well. Although there are some kinks to be ironed out, Blood Bowl 2 makes for an overall enjoyable experience.
Blood Bowl 2 is a very different take on traditional football, completely changing the rules. Each team brings catchers, throwers, blitzers, and linemen to the field, and you essentially play offense and defense simultaneously. The games consist of two halves of 8 turns for each team. During your turns you must gain possession of the football, protect the ball carrier, and make your way to the endzone for a touchdown. In a game of Blood Bowl, touchdowns are only worth 1 point and there are no field goals. The opposing team will do whatever it takes to prevent you from keeping the ball, and will basically try to murder every player on your roster. Players can attack, or “Blitz”, the opposing players which will prompt a dice roll. Depending on the outcome of the dice roll the defending player will either get pushed back, knocked down or unconscious, or even die. Unfortunately you only get one blitz per turn, so if you fail to knock the ball out from the opposing player’s grasp it’s back to the drawing board and hope to get lucky on your next turn.
In the early stages of Blood Bowl 2 the game can be extremely challenging, since it is more about luck than strategy at first. The campaign mode does an excellent job of teaching you the rules of the game and tactics that will help you succeed, but ultimately your fate comes down to dice rolls and odds. Every move you make, including picking up the ball has a percentage of succeeding. Players have a chance to be tripped by the opposing team player, slip on the turf and fall on their head, or even fumble the ball when picking it up. Any of these events will cause your turn to end, and give the opponent a chance to change the momentum of the game. Once you progress further into the game and can upgrade players, the strategy becomes more important than luck.
Once you get a grasp on what Blood Bowl 2 is all about, the next step is to create your own team. There are several races to choose from such as humans, orcs, dwarves and elves, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Once you assemble your team you can join either a solo or multiplayer league and earn currency which can be used to buy better players on the market or buffs that will help you come out on top on the Blood Bowl field like re-rolls or bribing the referee. If you plan on joining a solo league, be prepared to have your patience tested. Each player has three minutes to complete their turn, and the computer players seem to take full advantage of the entire time limit. Often you’ll find yourself watching the computer take two minutes to think before even moving a single player. This slows the pace of the game almost to a slow crawl, and can become extremely frustrating if your own turns only last a few moves due to bad dice rolls.
While waiting for what seems to be an eternity for your next turn, you can enjoy all the wonderful sights and sounds that Blood Bowl 2 has to offer. The in-game commentators Jim Johnson and Bob Bifford provide humorous anecdotes throughout the match, and unlike most commentary in sports games, they rarely repeat themselves or sound robotic. The Blood Bowl stadiums are incredibly well done, with medieval style architecture surrounding the field, and a packed house of rowdy fans enjoying the game (and occasionally trampling a player pushed out of bounds).
Blood Bowl 2 is an action packed mix of turn-based strategy, fantasy RPG, and the sport of American football. Despite its occasionally sluggish AI and relentless difficulty at first, Blood Bowl 2 is a game you should definitely experience if you’re into turn based strategy and sports.
Playstation 4 review code of Blood Bowl 2 was provided by Cyanide Studios