Football has seen some pretty epic bowl games in its years. Teams from across the nation strive to play in a bowl game. Whether it is in the NFL Super Bowl or the NCAA College Rose Bowl, football can have its dramatic moments. What happens you throw in creatures that might have come out of Lord of the Rings? You get the bloody contest of the Blood Bowl.
Blood Bowl is a fantasy football game based off the creatures and races of the Warhammer 40k universe. There isn’t really much in terms of storyline other than facing off against other races and winning games. Despite the similarities, this is not the successor to Mutant League Football. For those not familiar with the game Blood Bowl started off as a tabletop game. Players take turns rolling their die and see how far they can get before either scoring or getting knocked out. Blood Bowl has more in common with the original tabletop board game that it does with Mutant League Football. In fact the gameplay is even more like the tabletop board game and that the gameplay mechanics are embedded into the video game.
The game contains of seven races to play as: humans, orcs, dwaves, lizardmen, skaven, goblins, chaos and the wood elves. The goal is to score as many points as you can before the game is over or destroy the other team, literally. Pick a race and it will bring you to the player pool where - just like in regular football - you can pick from 11 starters and backups to form a team. If this sounds easier than it looks, it’s not as spending a good amount of time picking and choosing players is important. This is because each player has individual stats that dictate actions such as running distance, strength, defense and so on. Once you have formed a team, its kick off time. Gameplay is a bit difficult to pick up at first, since it uses the same rules that the tabletop versions uses. Dice rolls, resistance checks, defensive/offensive plays and individual character stats play a major part in the game. For example, while one of the players has the ball and tries to run it down field past defenders he will have to pass resistance checks. If his strength and agility points are higher than the defender's, then the carrier is able to dodge the tackle. But if the defender’s strength is higher than the carrier and the carrier fails a resistance check, the carrier turns over the ball.
Blood Bowl’s graphics are decent; they are not the best that I’ve seen, but not the worse I've seen either. The character models are represented in good detail when zoomed in,but the players look the same when the camera is pulled away. The sound effects aren’t too bad, but on the PSP small speakers, you can’t really make out any of the noises the players are making. Now the gameplay itself doesn’t suffer from it, but being able to see the players and hearing what is going does help.
With a game with this much strategy built in I expected the game to have some type of online mode or online tournament play but sadly it only has Ad-hoc mode. The creators attempted to give the game a high replay value, but did so in a bad way. After the main season mode is finished, the game just keeps repeating its self using the same teams and even the same tactics. Playing a game over is never bad, but when that game fails to offer an extra mode of some type or unlockable content then there isn’t any point to replaying the game.
Blood Bowl isn’t a game for everyone. With the complex rules of the tabletop game deeply embedded into the mechanics of the video game only fans of the original tabletop game and Warhammer fans will enjoy this game. However I did enjoy the game somewhat, although it was lacking in online network play and replay value. Those who are waiting for Mutant Legaue Football should keep waiting. Blood Bowl is an average game that still needs a few more things worked on.
- Mike V.