GAME NAME: Blood Bowl II
PLATFORM(S): PlayStation 4
GENRE(S): Role-Playing Sports
RELEASE DATE(S): September 22nd, 2015
My two favorite genres growing up and playing the NES and the SNES were role playing games and sports titles. While there wasn’t too many great sports titles at the time, my affection for games such as Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI really grew my love for the RPG genre. Cyanide Studios and Focus Home Interactive have managed to blend the two genres in more ways then the FIFA or Madden franchises could do with their be a supper star modes. The developer has managed to put in the world of Warhammer with the great sport of American football to make a classic tabletop RPG.
Now I know what many of you are thinking as you read my introduction paragraph, “How could this concept possibly work?” Well if you have ever watched the NFL you should know that it is like a chess game, and in Blood Bowl II, this age old moniker has never been more true. You can choose to take the field with one of eight races: Humans, Orcs, Skaven, Dwarfs, High Elves, Dark Elves, Chaos, and Bretonnia. Each of the races come with there own unique look and play style which will have you going through each to figure out who fits your skills the best. The customization and choices aren’t limited to race either. Stadiums are customized as you increase your skill and you can trade and acquire new players a la the marketplace (think FIFA’s loan market).
So now that we have gone over the basics, let’s talk about how this actually works. We need to start off with a general disclaimer, Blood Bowl II will not be a game for everyone. If you don’t like over the top bloody violence, sports games or the biggest turn off to some tabletop RPG’s, then you might not have the same enjoyment I had with my time with Cyanide’s take on the genre mashup. If your not sure, I would say give it a shot as the game comes with a very meticulous tutorial (in a good way) that will help newcomers into the fold and may even help veterans pick up a few new tactics to add to the arsenal. The game of Blood Bowl takes place over two halves in which each team gets 8 turns to try to get some scores. You can do a number of different football plays such as passing and blitzing as you work your way down the field. These are all determined by the roll of dice. Single player affairs will give you unlimited amounts of time to make your move whereas online you will have to make your moves in a timely fashion.
While the online was fun for the few games I played, nothing compares to the brilliance of the single player campaign. The amount of detail that has been throw into the title is remarkable and it just screams of polish. In the campaign mode you take control of the Reikland Reavers a team that has fell from glory (Is this the Dallas Cowboys?) and it is up to you to return them to the promise land. Every thing from the Cabalvision pregame show, to the announcers and also the mid game events, it all feels crafted to be a cinematic experience.
The only issue that I came across while playing Blood Bowl II and this really speaks to the general nature of tabletop RPG’s is that the game requires a lot of chance and luck when it comes to rolling dice. All the actions ad moves come down to a probability and sometimes are less reliant on skill and strategy and more on just dumb luck. Again though, if you are a fan of tabletop RPG’s this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you as this is how the genre goes.
The graphics engine is just downright gorgeous in this title. It rivals The Witcher 3 in my opinion and it has such a clean and cartoony look to all it’s characters. I love the whimsical, tongue-in-cheek humor and the voice acting is superb. If Blood Bowl II doesn’t at the very least get a chuckle out of you with it’s off kilter humor, you might want to check your pulse.
Like I said earlier, this game is very genre specific and may not be your cup of tea. If you are unsure, I would say try it, there is a great tutorial and you never know you may just like it. Now for fans of this type of game, this is a gem. If you are a Warhammer fan or love tabletop RPG’s and football, don’t waste your time by not owning Blood Bowl II.