Blood Bowl (BloodBowl) PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 8.2
Graphics 8.7
Sound 8.0
Value 8.2
Developer: Cyanide Studios
Distributor:
QVS
Review Date:
June 2009
Reviewer:
James Wright

8.2


Blood Bowl (2009)

American Football meets Warhammer is probably the best way to describe Cyanide Studio's latest sporting epic called Blood Bowl which throws gamers into this deadly universe. Apart from sporting and a healthy dose of violence, there is even some RPG and management aspects added to the game to keep things quite original and fresh.

Throwing together a variety of characters from the world of Warhammer, gamers can now experience a sporting game with a difference as Orcs, Humans, Goblins and the like all fight for victory on the field and although these games were quite popular in the yesteryear of gaming, it's great to see a developer run with the idea again.

It should be noted that this game is available for the XBox 360, Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, however this review focuses on the PC version. As a mini history lesson, Blood Bowl was originally created as a board game in 1987 which was a parody of Warhammer and American Football, created by the ingenious Jervis Johnson. Even after all these years, the game is still played today by purists.

Even though the premise behind Blood Bowl is quite far fetched, the gaming core and characters that you control actually make the game quite entertaining. Best of all, those who find American Football a tad slow and boring may change their tune when first see Blood Bowl. It's basically no football game you have ever seen before as it contains Humans, Dwarfs, Orcs, Skaven, Chaos, Wood Elves and Goblins. And yes, the Warhammer weapons make an appearance in this game so watch out for those little Goblins with chainsaws!

The gameplay of Blood Bowl is based on American Football which means each team must somehow get the ball to the opponents end in order to score a touchdown. Of course, the twist is the variety of ways which can be done such as bribing a referee in order to destroy your opponents, violently knocking your opponent down or even using magic. Needless to say, it's quite a violent experience that not only involves sporting tactics but some deadly maneuvers. Thankfully the game contains a great tutorial mode to assist all players in mastering the control system and we must commend the developers for making these tutorials fun and intuitive.

Blood Bowl contains a few of gameplay modes which include campaign (similar to the American Football championship), competition and a one-off match and yes, you can save your games.  The Campaign mode allows you to compete against 60 other strange and bizarre teams in order to become the Champions. The campaign mode also involves management where you need to create your team from the ground up, buy players, hire cheerleaders (classic) and arrange sponsors.

The RPG aspect of the game comes into play because the more games you win, the more experience your players will have which can be used to purchase a variety of abilities and items and in turn is "leveling-up" your character. Apart from the traditional "Football" characters, the gamer has access to "star players" which are professional sporting warriors and can sometimes assist you in winning a match, although their price is quite high.

Control wise, gamers will need to master the keyboard and mouse with the majority being used with the mouse to control your players. The AI is quite good in the version we played and unfortunately we could not test any online or multiplayer aspects of the game in this version either. After competing the tutorial, it was relatively simple in using the mouse and keyboard to pass, block , dodge etc or maim your opponents.

For purists, the game even contains a "Classic" mode that uses the official board game rules, although in our opinion is a little slow compares as it is not real-time but it's a great way to master the game. 

For multiplayer fun, the game supports both off-line LAN play and internet play. However, you really can't beat the internet play (we hope) which allows you to join player-inspired Leagues as you duke it out for a position on the leader board. Similar to the campaign mode where you create your team, you need to watch your players because if they die here, you may have lost your best player. As mentioned this was not available in this version.

Graphically, the title is very impressive on the PC with extremely detailed characters, the textures are amazing and great environments. Just look at some of the screenshots above. On our AMD system with the Dragon Platform, the game ran perfectly on full detail at our LCD monitor resolution. One drawback are the movies which are low resolution but they did look fun. The music sounds like it has been taken from Lord of the Rings and compliments the gameplay quite nicely as does the voice acting.

In conclusion, the version of Blood Bowl we played was rather impressive, however if you despise American Football but love the universe, we do suggest you take a look at the game due to the Warhammer references and items. At the end of the day, it's refreshing to see a developer get out of their comfort zone and Blood Bowl seems to work quite well.






 
 



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