Blood Bowl 2 - AGE Review

For all those that are not in the know, Blood Bowl 2 is a turn-based fantasy sports video game developed by Cyanide Studios and published by Focus Home Interactive. It is a sequel to the 2009 video game Blood Bowl, based on the board game by Games Workshop. The game was developed for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and was released on 22 September 2015. I played it on the PlayStation 4 and felt it really hit the mark visually and the presentation was smooth and clear, with only a few frame drops to report.

Eight races are included in the Blood Bowl 2 base game. These are the Humans, Orcs, Skaven, Dwarfs, High Elves, Dark Elves, Chaos, and Bretonnia. There are also two races that could have been obtained as a pre-order bonus. The Wood Elves can be obtained by pre-ordering the game for Xbox One, and the Lizardmen can be obtained by pre-ordering the game for the PlayStation 4. Whether you are familiar with the inner workings of the Games Workshop's table top game Warhammer or not, the same fantasy rules apply just like in the Lord of the Rings. To explain, Orcs are tough but slow moving and not known for their intelligence, which encourages the more brutal approach and on the other side of the spectrum you have the Elves. Fleet footed, agile and very savvy. With each class having their own strengths and weaknesses, Blood Bowl 2 can become more of a mind game. It is a rather contradictory mash up of the nerd genre tabletop experience and the heavily "jock" populated area of gridiron.

Blood Bowl 2 is played out in two halves consisting of eight turns each. In each turn whether defending or attacking you can take control of each individual character and move them on the playing grid within their capabilities. Of course there are many risks of probability in this process but I will cover that in more detail soon. First and foremost the aim of the game is to outscore your opponent and this is done by possessing the ball in the opponent's end zone resulting in one point. I'll break down what is possible during each turn. Each unit has an individual movement phase, some move further than others if you want to move your unit to a different location. The unit's turn can also be used to attack a unit on the opposing team if it is within one square or if movement is required before an attack, this is known as a blitz play which can only be done once per turn.

As with almost everything Games Workshop related the probability of a dice roll comes in to each action. Given certain strength and defence attributes to each unit, the dice roll can go one of three ways. One white die, two white dice or two red dice. The white dice generally give the attacking player the choice of the outcome, whether it be successful attack or pushing an opponent back or even injuring and maiming the opposition. If red dice are thrown this means the opponent is grossly overpowered and will have the ability to make the choice which often determines the outcome of the players turn. Tackling (or just flat out brutality is more like it) is not the only aspect of Blood Bowl 2 with a significant probability aspect to it. If you are standing within one square of an opponent and you attempt to move, your opponents stats come into play and there is a chance that they will trip or impede your run by knocking you off your feet and effectively ending your turn. The other aspect that is highly affected by probability is passing the ball, a unit that is not a "Thrower" attempting to pass to a unit that is not a "Catcher" will normally result in the negative. One good guide though is all probability percentages are shown on screen to give the player the chance to make an educated decision.

In Campaign Mode, players play the Reikland Reavers, a team in disgrace. It is the players' job, as the teams coach, to raise them back to their former glory. Beyond the standard game play that can be found in League and Multiplayer modes, Campaign Mode includes a number of scripted, one-time events such as a goblin crashing a helicopter in the middle of the field. When these events occur, the player has to continue play around them. It really is the same sort of rags to riches story we have seen in the movies 100 times but it is effective none the less. If anything it makes the game more fulfilling due to the fact you have to put together your own team, maintain sponsorship and keep your stadium in good working order. An aspect that really ties the whole experience together, is the constant commentary from Jim and Bob the Cabalvision commentary team. Their opinions and views change from game to game and their humour is very well written and sometimes just the break from all that thinking that you need.

All in all given my experiences growing up with tabletop gaming and also being a keen enthusiast when it comes to sport, this was a good mashup of genres. Admittedly not having the chance to try my arm at its predecessor, I feel quite pleased with my experiences with Blood Bowl 2 and the graphical presentation was very current-gen worthy. It definitely will have a niche like cult following from all the true believers but I would still insist there is plenty of casual fun to be had with this one. I am more than open to arranging a game with anyone out there who would like to challenge me, the best method of doing this would definitely be to head across to our Facebook page and give us a like and contact us through the page and also the comment section here is constantly monitored so that also is an option. Thank you for reading through my thoughts on Blood Bowl 2 and I look forward to hearing from you all soon.

Cheers Red

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