Blood Bowl is as good as it gets when it comes to fantasy football. Well, because it’s quite literally a football game based in the Warhammer Fantasy Battle universe, and allows you to play alongside teams of Ogres, Vampires, Orcs, Elves and more. And it’s gets really bloody!
For those unfamiliar with the series, Blood Bowl is a turn based game, where you play American Football, with teams from the Warhammer races. There’s a bit of dice roll involved, and with it comes some element of chance. However, the game also has tons of depth when it comes to strategy, and ultimately victory goes to the better team. You position players in your team, and then move them once every turn executing actions like passing, blocking, tackling and of course running towards the opponent’s goal. Players also have special abilities and stats tied to them, which allow for player specific moves.
Positioning is key here, and it’s emphasised by giving stat boosts depending on player placements. You also need to pay attention to what moves the opponent is making, and be able to gauge what moves they might make next. You will always be required to play close attention to what’s happening in-game, and it might actually take a few matches before you are familiarised with the full range of options available and depth to the strategy involved.
There’s a fairly decent and lengthy campaign, which essentially acts as a tutorial, but it’s replete with excellent commentary that has a lot of witty humor to it. It’s very rare that I pay any attention to commentary while I play sports games, but with Blood Bowl 2 I was all ears because the writing was genuinely entertaining.
Arguably, there are some dice rolls that feel frustrating, but that always comes with such gameplay elements, and most of the frustrations can be alleviated by taking the time to understand the game. Sure, Blood Bowl 2 is not perfect, but it’s definitely fun. The Cabalvision offers some insight into how an action you are contemplating could play out, and this little addition itself is a major relief.
While you can play against the AI, the multiplayer is where the real value is. You can play lengthy leagues, where player injuries and even deaths are permanent. It’s fascinating to see these events and their consequences unfold across matches, and the persistence really pays off in favor of the game. The AI, while passable, can never match up to what playing against another person can offer.
There are other improvements to the camera controls and UI which are really welcome. However, I really wish they would let me speed the opponent’s moves. Some of the animations are also really slow, and waiting for it to get over can become tiresome.
Blood Bowl 2 is really enjoyable, despite some of the flaws. It makes some significant improvements over its predecessors, like the good campaign, improved controls, and overall lower barrier to entry. The writing and humor really stand out, and Cyanide’s efforts here really show. I hope they can fix some of the issues with future patches, but none of that ever really comes in the way of you continuing to enjoy the game once you’ve gotten into it.