Blood Bowl 2 is sorta like a sports game, which is great for people like me, who sorta like sports. Based in the Warhammer fantasy universe, the game is a mix of American football, a team-manager sim, turn-based strategy, and a game of chance. You choose from eight different races, each with their own unique playstyles and use your limited funds from playing matches to draft better players. Offline, there is a main story-driven campaign that does a better job at teaching you the rather complex rules of the game than any of its predecessors and a league mode that lets you take your own team from the preseason to the championship. Online, you can build your team and battle and trade with other players.
While the previous games in the Blood Bowl series have had balancing issues (almost requiring a masochistic player), this new installment seems much fairer, though it is not without its moments where your pile of horseshoes and four-leaf clovers don’t seem to help at all. The actual matches have each team take turns moving their entire roster on the grid overlaid field in an attempt to get the ball into the opponent’s end zone. Part of the fun (and frustration) is that no action in the game is guaranteed to succeed. No matter your deft tactics and overwhelming might, there’s always a chance the gnome knocks over the ogre or the star player slips on the homerun drive and knocks himself cold.
Due to its turn-based grid gameplay, the accessibility of the game is good overall. The game is played mouse-only and the high contrast visuals make it easy to position your players. The biggest problem is the subtitles for the dialogue, as its size and limited letterboxing make it difficult to read at times.
The only means of controlling the game are with mouse-only or controller, and neither can be rebound. While the mouse controls can be successfully used with only the left button, the controller uses a wider variety of buttons, including the bumpers. However, while the cursor speed with the controller can be adjusted, the same cannot be done with the mouse. Similarly, the on-screen keyboard does not function, as the game cannot be put in windowed mode, but the keyboard only helps with things like exiting menus or scrolling the camera, both of which can be done with the mouse.
While there are not explicit difficulty levels, the different races all have difficulty levels associated with their playstyles. Otherwise, the game is smooth sailing, mobility wise, as there are no quick time events, precise movements or timing requirements.
The game almost scores a touchdown on hearing accessibility, but fumbles just before crossing the line. Though it can be easily completed without sound, audio cues have clear visual counterparts, and all dialogue has subtitles, the speaker is not identified. The only bit of solace I can offer is that the dialogue doesn’t matter outside of the main campaign, and even that is not the main reason to buy the game.
The visual accessibility of the game varies quite a bit. From the gameplay aspect, it is very good, as everything is in high contrast and the available moves are laid out clearly with no chance of colorblind clashes. The menus, too, are clearly laid out and easy to navigate.
The problem rests in the subtitles. While all dialogue has subtitles, the font is on the small side and the letterboxing is so light as to be non-existent. Often, the background was so bright that it made the subtitles difficult to read.
* Eight different playable races with unique playstyles
* A campaign and league mode, plus multiplayer modes
* Good visual accessibility
* No difficulty levels
* Inability to rebind keys or run in windowed mode
* Subtitles do not identify speaker