Blood Bowl 3 is an upcoming turn-based fantasy sports video game. The game was developed by Cyanide Studios and published by Nacon. It is a sequel to the 2015 video game Blood Bowl 2, based on the Blood Bowl board game by Games Workshop. It is a good call back to what is known as Warhammer but based on an alternate version of the Warhammer fantasy setting. With a brutal take on American Football replacing the tactical war gaming of the core franchise. Find out how I slogged my way through a sometimes difficult, but fun gory game!
Developer & Publisher // Cyanide; Nacon
Platforms // Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4|5, PC
MSRP & Release Date //$29.99, Feb. 20, 2023
Reviewed On // Xbox Series X
Killer Visuals and Graphics
When it comes to visuals and graphics Blood Bowl 3 is no slouch. The majority of all backgrounds have amazing colors that help make everything pop out at you. I enjoyed how they took their time and went into detail when making the character models look realistic. Not only that but Cyanide stayed true to the Warhammer-like models of the characters. Everything looks impressive from the field you’re playing on, to the backgrounds, and all the characters on the screen. They also did a great job when it comes to the cinematics you get a chance to watch. When you load into the game or in between matches you get to see how great of a job with them.
Blood Bowl 3’s visuals and presentation are superb as well. When you get to see an orc just smack a goblin multiple squares back and you see all the gore, it kind of pumped me up. Several times I had a character knock another one down and then another character gets to move and I could jump up and down to try and knock them out or cause a casualty. Who doesn’t like seeing an elf get pulverized by a dwarf, orc, troll, or many other characters? These great graphics, visuals, and presentations made me want to continue to play more.
Fun Team Customization
When it comes to customization in Blow Bowl 3, the game has a lot to offer for customization. When you want to create a team you can choose between 12 different races. With each of the players for your team coming from their respective races. This adds quite a bit of replayability from the get-go. You get the stats on your strengths and weakness when picking a race, which hints at how your games might play out. This is especially helpful to new players to the Blood Bowl franchise. You also get a star rating on how difficult it is to master the respective races. I picked I started with a 2-star race the Black Orc and worked my way up once I understood the game.
After I selected my race, I had the option to manually pick my players for my team or choose a balanced template. I felt the balance template is the way to go because it is a safe option. Otherwise, if you do it manually you have a million gold to spend on picking players and a lesser experienced person could build a bad or semi-non-functional team. Having these options helped me get off to a good start. I had to ability to go into detail on customizing a team logo/emblem and I did enjoy all the options available. There were also a few options for picking your team’s coach.
Unfortunately, there weren’t many customizable options for the stadium, cheerleaders, dice, or the ball during my playthrough. It seems as if over time you unlock more of these options, but during my playthrough, they were not available which is a letdown. As I want my teams to be as unique as I can make them.
No Free Character Cosmetics
I need to start this section off, by saying since I’m playing early there is no type of battle pass. That said, I didn’t get to experience any free cosmetics for the players in Blood Bowl 3. All the cosmetics I can obtain I have to buy using Warpstones. If you were to buy Warpstones they vary in price from US$2.00-$50.00. This is a letdown as team customization provided diverse options, while character customizations are only available through micro-transactions. The cosmetics range from different heads, shoulders, arms, and bodies.
I will say the options they have that you can purchase do look cool. You could have a fun time changing how your players look. They will add variety and uniqueness to your players. I just hope that the free battles pass and premium battle pass have a plethora of good unlockables. To me though it seems like they want players to buy the cosmetics. This is a big miss in my opinion not allowing people to have some access to player cosmetics!
In-Depth and Difficult Combat
Something I did enjoy in Blood Bowl 3 was the combat. Now a lot of us already like football, so when you combine that with turn-based combat it provides a very interesting dynamic. Cyanide did a great job making all of your decisions matter here. You don’t have the typical turn-based combat where you can sit back and use overwatch ability as multiple people funnel in and die. Each square you move across the field matters. Each decision you make when deciding which Inducements you want to choose pre-game matters. Inducements are items or abilities you can use to help you during the game. You also can hire a star player or mercenaries to utilize as well. All this depends on how much petty cash you have. All these can help impact your gameplay overall and help you obtain victory. It was a great addition to the game.
My favorite is using the star player. Since I created my team and chose a balanced template the star player helps out a lot. Can’t preach on how many times bad die rolls or enemy players were just stomping me. Then I maneuver the star player just right and helps me recover and a few times score a touchdown. Moving in and out of tackle zones add a great aspect, because football fields only have so far you can move around in. So you only got so many spaces to spread out, and move around. You will have to move through tackle zones occasionally provided the opposing player gets a chance to knock you down or tackle you.
Taking Players Out Of The Game
Once you knock someone down you get to do one of my favorite things in-game and that uses the “Foul” ability. This ability can help KO a player which takes them out for a limited time. Usually, they come back in the next couple of turns when it’s your team’s turn. Or it can cause a causality with takes them out the rest of the game. Being to take out one of your opposing team’s players helps makes things easier. It can also help out with whatever strategy you might have thought up.
Something about knocking an orc down and stomping on his body is enjoyable. This is another instance where the visuals come into play. One thing I will say that plagued me during combat is bad die rolls. The die rolls are pretty much how all decisions are made and if you roll a bad one, it ends up being a turnover and ends the turn. I lost many games due to just not rolling well. Die rolls are crucial and it was aggravating at times.
Perfectly Written Dialogue and Great Audio
The thing I enjoyed the most about Blood Bowl 3 was how well-written the dialogue was. Not only the banter back and forth between characters, coaches, commentators, and everyone else was hilarious and helped me enjoy the game even more. I kid you not when I tell you there were a couple of times when heard something and couldn’t help but burst out laughing. That is just how funny Blood Bowl 3 can be at times. The audio is very exquisite and has a lot of impact to it. The sound effects of bodies being slammed around and hitting the ground resonated and felt heavy.
While playing you hear the banter between everyone crisp and clear. The crowd cheering throughout the game pushed me to turn the tides during tough matches. All in all, the audio design was top-notch.
Lack Of Game Modes
It is clear that Blood Bowl 3 is focused on online and local multiplayer. In the campaign, you get access to about 6 campaign missions. Each story mission contains a few matches where you want to win with the ultimate goal to face the best team in that particular campaign. All the while earning sponsors, that can provide better pre-game Inducements to help you in your matches. One of the 6 campaign mission sections is the tutorial, so it’s more like 5 different small campaigns you get to play in. The lack of game modes was underwhelming and it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Local and Online Multiplayer
Blood Bowl 3 does some good here in allowing you to play “couch co-op” with a friend. I did test this out by myself for this review and everything worked great. So when I have a buddy come over that might not have Blood Bowl 3, we can play together locally while he tries it out. I love this in an age where most developers ignore local co-op. I still have a lot of friends that hang out in my free time that don’t all like similar games. So this is a good way to bring them into Blood Bowl 3 and the series, especially my Warhammer friends. Now for the online multiplayer which I’m not a huge fan of right now.
Obviously playing before release makes it difficult as there are fewer players available for matches. However, that wasn’t the biggest issue. Instead one of the problems lies with having to join someone’s league. I have joined 3 leagues and waited for the person that made the league to start it, and they never did. I waited once for about 45 minutes even for one guy. Hopefully, the league situation works itself when the game releases and more people are online. Quickplay multiplayer seems fine. Very seldom it might move slowly, but nothing game-breaking or anything. The developers do have future plans and updates to roll out in the first few seasons.
Final Thoughts Blood Bowl 3
Blood Bowl 3 has many things going right for it in my opinion. The in-depth combat system provides layers of difficulty that you can’t just breeze through games. It is very well written and with the voices that come from the characters, you can tell that they would speak or say the stuff they do. Graphics and visuals look great, especially in the cinematic scenes and when it comes to the game gore. Team customization is good with hopefully more unlockables on launch. Player customization is locked behind microtransactions. Having local multiplayer brings about a camaraderie that’s been missing for a long time. The lack of free player customizations, game modes, and a bad online league experience does plague the good things the game has to offer.
If you can get past the negatives and like this style of game, check it out. Blood Bowl 3 will be available on Nintendo Switch, Steam, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.