Review of Blood Bowl the Video Game

Blood Bowl the Video Game by Cyanide Studios is a faithful recreation of Blood Bowl by Games Workshop and expands on the already solid game play with a new real-time mode. The only frustrating aspect of the game is the unforgiving interface.

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Blood Bowl was developed by Cyanide Studios and the game is available on the X-Box 360, the PC, and several mobile gaming platforms. I happen to have the X-Box 360 version. Game play comes in two modes, classic and real time. The classic mode is Blood Bowl the board game, so to read about this aspect of the game I'll point you to my review of the board game. Let me just say that the classic mode, as far as I can tell, is a perfect match to the board game rules. You can even see the result of the computer's dice rolls as they happen. In fact, I learned a thing or two about the board game from the video game.

The real time mode is a “light RTS” version of the game. Most core rules of Blood Bowl still apply, but all the events occur in real-time. There is a concentration mode, which makes it possible to issue orders while the game is paused, which keeps your head from exploding. This variation, while a little bit more hectic, is certainly a fun version of Blood Bowl. All that is lacking from this mode is hot-seat multiplayer, but the interface design really prevents this option.

Ironically, the one game play mode that I would have really wanted is completely missing. There is no mode that even resembles a traditional football game. Granted Blood Bowl is nothing like a traditional football game, but it would have been cool to see a true sports adaptation of the board game.

When it comes to the capturing the world of Warhammer, Blood Bowl the video game succeeds. The game re-creates the pitches are arenas in perfect details. Ads for Bugman's special brew and other parody products line the fields. The creatures look close enough to the figures for me and the auto-generated names for my Lizardmen team actually seemed to be Lizardmen. Instead of wise-cracking players around a table, you get a pair of fairly entertaining announcers. Normally, these video game announcers have to be serious, but not here. They are offensive, sarcastic, and sometimes provide accurate historical comments about the Blood Bowl world. Too bad like most sport games, the limited vocabulary of the announcers becomes apparent after a few games.

The only thing I don't like about playing Blood Bowl as a video game is that it feels like you are playing against a jerk of an opponent and the interface can lead to mistakes you would never make playing a board game. Let me explain this a bit. Often times, when playing a friend, if I perform an action, my opponent may gently remind me that particular action will occur some sort of penalty that I forgot about. As a result, I will change my mind and perform a different action. While Blood Bowl notifies you of these potential problems, their red square system is not as obvious and once your move is confirmed, you incur the penalties. Also, there is no undo feature, which makes sense, but it's frustrating to accidentally re-roll a favorable die result because you didn't know you hit the joystick. I would have never made that type of mistake in the board game.

Get past the interface issues associated with porting board games to video games and you have a fantastic way to experience Blood Bowl.

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