NHL 16’s enhanced movement and puck control, along with its new tutorial system, makes the sport more accessible than it has been for years, and this dedication from EA Canada to create the ultimate ice hockey title has paid off spectacularly.
Dave Moran described NHL 16 in his review as:
NHL 16 has certainly returned to form with this excellent title, players new or old will instantly feel comfortable with how the game plays and with a good selection of teams and modes to play through you’ll be well entertained this year.
Indeed NHL 16 has received precisely the kind of enhancements that it needed to once again become an ice hockey fan’s ideal digital facsimile of the real thing, allowing it to glide into second place in our Sports Game of the Year awards.
for me it’s all the little changes that make FIFA 16 great.
Says Dave Moran in his review of FIFA 16, and it is indeed these small enhancements that EA Canada continue to make each year to FIFA that keeps it on top.
Finally women’s teams have made an appearance, passing is more crucial than ever, the physicality and animations are smooth and accurate, and the whole experience feels that much more realistic and tactical, as Dave goes on to say:
I spend a lot of time passing the ball back to defence to restart an attack, it feels so much more realistic and tactical.
And because of the continued efforts to make the FIFA titles more realistic, and representative of the beautiful game, it’s no surprise that it take this year’s first place ribbon as TiX Sports Game of the Year.
Competition is a compelling thing, and sports give us a safe, entertaining and regulated way to participate and spectate as two teams or individuals compete against one another. Games Workshop’s Blood Bowl is based on these same principles, minus the safe part, instead murder, loose refereeing and brutal violence – from both the teams and the crowd – allows Blood Bowl to truly earn its name. And with this ultra violent take on gridiron amongst a high-fantasy setting comes a fascinating and even more compelling competition, one where frustrations can be unleashed on opponents with bone crunching tackles and cerebral tactics and strategies for a highly satisfying challenge. Indeed the board game Blood Bowl is a superb game, and fortunately the digital version portrayed in Blood Bowl 2 is as well.
Blood Bowl 2 allows you to take a team to the field from a selection of eight races – a couple more if you pre-ordered – and play a facsimile of American football with a heavy dose of blood soaked mayhem. Each half is made up of eight turns, with each team moving characters around the pitch with the goal of retrieving the ball and scoring at the other team’s end zone. This is anything but simple, but thanks to the brilliant core mechanics from the board game paired with the visual and audio splendour of the videogame, it’s a wonderful challenge with some excellent humour and potential for emergent gameplay.
Your movement is limited by your character’s stats and a grid that lies on the field during a turn. Within this movement grid is a safe area you can run within or you can risk it and ‘go for it’ adding a square or three of movement to your run but having to face the possibility of a trip knocking your character down for a turn. Indeed the majority of actions you can take are determined by an element of chance, often dictated on the grid as percentages. A ‘go for it’ run often has a success rate in the 80s, meanwhile, if an opponent is opposite you at any point during movement then you also have to deal with dodging their attacks, which sit in the 60s. Positioning your players next to each other also boosts stats and lowers those of nearby opponents, and this all comes together to help you strategise on creating clears runs for the ball carrier or blocking them, which is the crux of the experience.
Positioning alone isn’t your only weapon though, a tackle, which essentially boils down to a fight between players, is another way to temporarily – and sometimes permanently – take a player out of action. When knocked down a player is no longer a threat, if you happen to stun them then they’ll miss a turn as well, meanwhile, an injury takes them off the pitch until they recover, and a death removes them permanently and hurts the team further along in the league.
Tackles once again play off chance, with your player’s stats and abilities modifying your odds. Dice are rolled on-screen to determine the result of a tackle, with more dice thrown in for larger discrepancies between the players’ strength stats. Abilities such as block can prevent your player being knocked down, encouraging you to think tactically about which players you use to attack and defend. Further strategies can be built on the other abilities and specific rolls your players have within your team, with some players more suited to catching a pass whilst others are better suited to blitzing opponents. Taking it all into consideration and the element of chance that seemed so prevalent can be minimised, yet enough of it remains to keep the game unpredictable and fun whether you’re winning or losing.
The crowd like to get in on the action occasionally and will cheer on teams, which improves their stats, or storm the pitch knocking out and stunning random players. Push a player out-of-bounds and the crowd will descend on them, injuring and sometimes killing them. Additionally, tackles you perform or suffer from can injure or kill you. Meanwhile, negative abilities like an ogres stupidity can strike and take out your powerhouse player for multiple turns. It’s terrifically intractable, and can turn a one-sided game on its head at the snap of a neck.
Figuring out how to form strategies and understand the rules and UI is aided by the single player campaign, which sees you coach a team from rags to riches in a Mighty Ducks kind of fashion. Each game gradually introduces new elements and shows you the ropes as far as team management goes off the pitch, with buying, selling and transferring players as well as improving stadiums. It’s a fairly lengthy campaign as well, largely due to matches tacking a long time to complete. 16 turns can run for a good 40 minutes or so, which, when playing against the AI, can get a little frustrating.
For the most part the AI is smart and aggressive but doesn’t seem to be concerned with the number of turns left, often setting up a touch down play that would come to fruition a turn or two beyond what’s available. Certainly human opponents offer a better experience, and thanks to leagues and persistent teams Blood Bowl 2 offers a superb multiplayer component, one that’s especially enjoyable amongst a small group of friends playing in a private league.
Indeed Blood Bowl 2 is a brilliant sports title, one that brings together cerebral strategy with mindless violence in a beautiful Warhammer themed package. It’s a fair few races short of the monstrous amount from the ultimate version of the previous game, the animations frequently repeat, and the commentary can get on the verge of insufferable, but the satisfaction of beating an opponent into the ground and running the ball into their end zone with a superbly formed strategy is utterly fantastic and can overcome the minor issues splendidly.
Blood Bowl 2, the sequel to the video game adaptation of Games Workshop’s famous board game that combines American football with the fantasy world of Warhammer, launches tomorrow – September 22 and you can view the launch trailer below.
It will give you a good taste of what you will find in Blood Bowl 2 – an explosive cocktail of turn-based strategy, humour, referee bribing, sports skills and brutality. Also enjoy Blood Bowl 2’s new graphics engine and high-flying realisation faithfully portray the fury and intensity of classic Blood Bowl matches.
Lead the famous star team Reikland Reavers back to glory, in a new solo story campaign supported by the hilarious commentators Jim & Bob from Cabalvision. Each match is unique, with unexpected and surprising events constantly renewing your experience.
Blood Bowl 2 kicks off on September 22, and the High Elves and the Orcs are at each other in the latest trailer. The sport, set in the world of Warhammer, is a mashup of American Football and the tabletop battles of fantasy creatures – the latest trailer marks the final tease before the game’s September launch.
With E3 just around the corner our good friends at Focus Home Interactive have revealed their line-up including presentations of the games by the developers + hands-on sessions. In addition to this they’ll be some exciting new announcements, which will be showcased behind closed doors. If you are heading to E3 this year below you’ll find the list of the games you will be able to take a look at, or even try at the Focus Home Interactive booth (West Hall 5312), next month.
Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition (PS4, Xbox One, PC), the multi-award winning RPG developed by Larian Studios arrives on consoles, with a load of new features and enhanced graphics.
Blood Bowl 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC), developed by Cyanide Studio, smashes Games Workshop’s Warhammer and American football together, in an explosive cocktail of turn-based strategy, humour and brutality.
The Technomancer (PS4, Xbox One and PC), a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic RPG set in a cyberpunk world from studio Spiders, that will bring you to the hazardous red planet.
Mordheim: City of the Damned (Consoles (but which ones?), PC) is the videogame adaptation of Games Workshop’s cult classic tabletop game. This is a turn-based strategy game that blends RPG elements, fast-paced tactical combat and intricate unit customization in a time wrought by chaos and rivalry.
Space Hulk Deathwing (PS4, Xbox One, PC) by Streum On Studio is a First-Person Shooter experience of Games Workshop’s classic boardgame Space Hulk, set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada (PC), developed by Tindalos Interactive, is the real-time strategy adaptation of Games Workshop’s tabletop game, that stages the dark, deadly and intense space battles from the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
Farming Simulator 2015 (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox360, PC, Mac, Vita) joins E3 after its recent release on consoles. Developer Giants Software will tell you more about the future edition, and will unveil the first official Farming Simulator wheel controller, created by Saitek. You can read our review of Farming Simulator 2015 here.
Act of Aggression (PC), the new real-time strategy game on PC from Wargame creator Eugen Systems. Act of Aggression draws inspiration from the Golden Era of RTS titles, with a unique near-future techno thriller ambiance. Watch the teaser
Vampyr, the RPG from DontNod, will unveil its first teaser trailer at E3!
Blood Bowl 2, the sequel to the video game adaptation of Games Workshop awesome board game has just launched its new website and first gameplay video. For those who don’t know, Blood Bowl is American Football meets the fantasy world of Warhammer, and each team fights it way to victory by any means possible, legal or illegal.
The newly released video shows us the core gameplay mechanics of running, passing, blitzing (my personal favourite), catching and blocking. Depending on the player these simple actions can take on a whole new level with each player having 75 skills that they innately have or learn through a leveling up system, the more the player plays the better they get. It also showcases the brand new graphics engine being used by developers Cyanide Studio and the attention to detail that they are working on to make this a crisp, modern and fresh looking title. Top this off with hilarious commentary from Jim Johnson and Bob Bifford, Blood Bowl 2 is looking a great addition to the Xbox One.
If however you want to know more about the game then why don’t you check out the new website that has just launched. Here you will find a treasure trove of information and various links and feeds to keep you updated, that’s off course on top of us providing you with all the latest information as soon as it becomes available.
This years Game Developer Conference is from March 4th to 6th in San Francisco and with less than a month before it all kicks off, Focus Home Interactive; an independent French publisher, have today revealed a line-up of titles and new announcements which will be showcased (behind closed doors!) during the show.
Blood Bowl 2 developed by Cyanide Studio, combines Warhammer and American football together, in an explosive cocktail of turn-based strategy, humour and brutality. Blood Bowl 2 is set for a Spring release this year.
From developer Spiders comes The Technomancer. Set on Mars and in the same universe as Mars: War Logs, this dark sci-fi RPG is currently in development for Xbox One and other platforms. You can read our review of Mars: War Logs the surprise Xbox Live Arcade RPG hit title of 2013 here.
Farming Simulator 15 is coming to Xbox One. Developer Giants Software will be meeting press to discuss this surprise hit series and reveal its plans for console release later this year. Read our review of Farming Simulator when it was released for Xbox 360 back in 2013 here.
Maybe not everything in the above list is your cup of tea, but is there something you are keen to see more off? After the success of Mars: War Logs I am really excited to see The Technomancer released.
Ah, American Football. The smell of muscle rub, the helmets, the Orcs. Wait? The Orcs?
That’s right, folks, Blood Bowl is back!
Focus Home Interactive and developer Cyanide Studio have produced a new “KickOff” trailer showcasing the game’s curious fusion of American Football and Warhammer’s fantasy characters.
Orcs, Dwarves, Elves, Skaven, Humans and Beastmen give every last ounce while being encouraged by the cheerleaders. The aim of the game is still the same, score a touchdown, or cripple everyone in sight. That’s got to hurt.
This second iteration of the game has a brand new graphics engine which has been specifically developed to show off the brutal atmosphere of a Blood Bowl encounter, all lovingly commentated on by the comedy duo, Jim Johnson and Bob Bifford.
Along with the trailer, there is a tentative Xbox One release schedule of Spring 2015.