From Nacon publishing comes the next entry, Blood Bowl III, created by Cyanide Studios. Released on February 23rd this year, players get another shot at taking their teams to the top. You can pick up this strategy-RPG game on Xbox and PlayStation for £34.99 with the Brutal Edition for £49.99 or grab it on Steam for £24.99. A Switch port is currently in development, with a release planned sometime this year.
All’s fair in blood and Waaaagh!
I was never good at sports games like Madden, Fifa or PGA tour. But I am good at a few strategy games, so Blood Bowl looked like my shot at being good at some sports without actually being good at them. A mixture of the NFL and Warhammer franchise, I look forward to bashing some skulls in with Da Boiz.
Players can choose to play either offline or online. Online requires an account. Which will allow online matches and to keep track of world stats. I played offline. I would get my butt whooped otherwise. Firstly players will run through a lengthy tutorial that gives a good depth into how the game works. Players can create their own team from the various races in the Warhammer Universe, for example, the Skaven, Humans, Nurglings and personal favourite Orks. I had access to two additional DLC races, The Imperial Nobility and Black Orks.
Different races have strengths and weaknesses that players should check before choosing. After choosing a race and team name, Players can select to have the team filled out automatically or select players manually. Teams get a budget of one million gold to spend. Players can purchase an apothecary that saves players from death once per match. Cheerleaders provide bonuses to kick-off events, and dedicated fans will increase the winnings at the end of games. Once the roster has filled, players can customise the banner, dice, outfits and the team’s motto.
The campaign takes the form of competitions, each held by a particular coach that the player’s team will need to beat. The first was called The Pirate Crew, and their coach was Kiroth KrakenEye. Players need to face three teams before going against the lead team. Matches start with players spending gold on buffs like rerolls on actions or adding temporary cheerleaders for the game. Once buffs are selected, the referee will flip a coin (players don’t pick) and choose who kicks off the game.
Sixteen players take the field, with eleven on each side and five as back-up. Some characters will have passive abilities that will aid them throughout the match. Abilities can assist by letting players dodge better or, when being knocked down, will take less damage. The game plays with dice, which players will find really fun or very annoying.
Actions players can use
During each turn, players can move each character on the field. Movement allowance (M.A.) determines how many spaces a player can move. Small-sized characters can usually move up to seven squares, while larger ones can only move five. If a player is standing right next to an enemy, they can perform the block action. A die will roll and gives the player a specific outcome. An explosion icon represents a pow action that allows the player to knock the enemy down. Once an enemy is down, two dice will roll to determine the armour value. If the roll succeeds, the enemy can either gain an injury or be KO’d for the remainder of the match.
Players cannot attack and move without performing the Blitz action. Blitz is only usable once per turn and only on one player. When close to an enemy, an eight-boxed square will appear around them, representing the tackle zone. If players are stood in it and want to leave, they will have to roll for agility to see if they make it. If a roll fails, the character will fall on the floor and have their armour value rolled. During the game, if any fails happen during a dice roll, this will abruptly end the player’s turn and vice versa.
Graphics & Audio
The visuals for the stadium are great and filled with some nice details. Fans are cheering, and the cheerleaders all look unique, depending on what team they are representing. The music is reminiscent of an old medieval festival but mixes in some modern sports music, giving players a treat for the ears. Cinematics looks a little janky, but it’s something I could ignore. The pitch during the game was weirdly empty, with most of the detail being in the stands. The witty dialogue in Blood Bowl gets stale very quickly and ends up frequently repeating.
Matches can take about an hour or more to finish depending on how well the dice roll. It had taken me several hours to beat the first competition against The Pirate Crew. If trying out different teams and strategies is your thing, this will give you loads of replayability. I didn’t play online for various reasons, with making an account being one of them.
Blood Bowl’s customisation doesn’t seem to exist at all. All players are visually the same, with only paid armour being any different. No options for different hairstyles, colours or scars, with all the characters looking very much copy and paste. The game seems very slow, with the A.I. taking ages to take their turn, and with no speed up, this gets annoying. Playing humans is extremely unlucky, as they will fail almost all their dice rolls. When the match ended with a tied score, the A.I. would randomly win even though I had more players on the pitch, and most of theirs were incapacitated. I didn’t really enjoy playing this as it got really confusing with all the dice rolls. A lot of the time, the game seemed to favour the A.I.
I give Blood Bowl III the Thumb Culture Bronze Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.