My experience with Blood Bowl began in 1988, when my gaming group in high school really discovered everything made by Games Workshop. We would spend weekends playing 40k, Warhammer Fantasy Battle, and then started to set up our very own Blood Bowl Leagues. Even as I am typing this review, I can see my Second Edition set sitting on my board game shelf, remembering the time I went 0-10 with a Snotling team. The first Blood Bowl video game by Cyanide Studios felt good, but it was also missing some pieces. Blood Bowl 2 fills in those missing pieces to make the best video game simulation of the board game that I grew up with.
The single player story campaign puts the player into the position of coach of the famous Reikland Reavers. Gone are the days of the dominant dynasty of Griff Oberwald and Zug, the Reavers are sitting at the bottom of the entire league, just having fired everyone that had to do with the team. Your job, as new Head Coach, is to hire a whole new team from Blood Bowl hopefuls, mold them into a terrifying team, and win the Blood Bowl Cup. You begin the campaign by selecting your team from different positions, customizing your players, then off to some friendly games to earn sponsors and more gold.
Jim and Bob, two sports commentators who just happen to be an ogre and a vampire, will offer color commentary and analysis in between games. They also act as a plot device, helping the story along by telling the player what is happening around the league. While I felt that some of these segments went on for a little longer than they should have, Jim and Bob are a very entertaining duo of sports commentators that really add to the flavor of Blood Bowl 2.
The story itself isn’t anything special in terms of uniqueness or complexity, but serves as a great way to offer a structure to the single player campaign. My only gripe is the bonus objectives that were mandatory in some of the matches. Some of these objectives were extremely difficult to pull off due to the randomness of the game (more on that later). Other then some of these objectives, the campaign moved along very smoothly and was absolutely fun to play.
Blood Bowl 2 offers a few ways to play the game, campaign mode, single player vs AI and some multiplayer modes. While the single player mode is great to play, it isn’t the best option for the long run. Creating your league with up to 128 teams is where you will get the most mileage for your dollar in Blood Bowl 2. These leagues are highly customizable and can be set up rather quickly.
Blood Bowl 2 offers a wide variety of ways to build your own team also, including different races, customizable team jerseys, and you can even customize your own stadium to fit your team. The races available are among the classic Warhammer Fantasy races, such as Humans, Orks, Skaven and Dark Elves. With Blood Bowl 2, the Brittonians have been added to the mix. You can also create your roster from the different positions available for your race, such as Blitzer, Linemen, or Catcher. Each position has strengths and weaknesses that will come out during game play. And not all races have each position available, and that fits in with the original Blood Bowl feel. Dwarves just don’t make great throwers due to their height and Elves just are not as rough and tumble due to their delicate constitutions.
Blood Bowl 2 is a turn based sports simulation game, when it all comes down to it. The coin toss will determine who starts the half off with the ball, then you position all of your players during your turn to move the ball down field to score. During your turn, you will set up as many blocks as you can, with the success of each block coming down to a throw of 2 dice. If you happen to become knocked over as the attacker, your turn will end right then and there, so a little luck and planning are needed to get through a turn. There are no downs like regular American Football, but if the player that has the ball is tackled, he will drop it. The ball then can be picked up by anyone and moved down the field. Each half is timed at sixteen turns, and the team with the most touchdowns at the end of the game wins.
During a campaign, each player will gain experience from each game. This will lead to some of your players rising to the ranks of a Star Player and earning extra abilities, but will also be demanding more money to stay on your team. Other not so fortunate players can become permanently injured, or even killed during a match. Replacing these players in between games becomes standard practice for some teams, mine included.
Blood Bowl 2 looks and sounds amazing! I love the overall design and aesthetics of the races and stadiums. The designers really made the game looks like it comes right out of the colorful world of Warhammer Fantasy. Each races has their own specific style and look to them, as does each stadium. Especially during your own leagues, with the customizable jerseys and stadiums. The voice acting for Blood Bowl 2 is just as top notch as the visuals. Jim and Bob are voiced very well, and the commentary during the games is much easier to listen to then Madden or the NHL games from EA.
I liked Blood Bowl, but I like Blood Bowl 2 even more! Blood Bowl 2 feels far more polished and much more of a finished product than Blood Bowl was. The single player campaign is great, but it won’t be where you spend most of your time. It really is the custom league that shines here in Blood Bowl 2, and that is how it should be. Just like the original board game, Blood Bowl 2 truly shines when a group of people get together to schedule weekly games using their own customized teams, jerseys, and stadiums. Blood Bowl 2 is available now on Steam.
[easyreview title=”Blood Bowl 2 Review Score” cat1title=”Overall Score (out of 5)” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”4″ ]