Blood Bowl 2 – Legendary Edition is a turn-based strategy title mixed with American Football developed by CYANIDE and published by Focus Home Interactive. It tells the story of the Reikland Reavers, a down-on-their-luck football team, that use to be the best human team in the world of Blood Bowl. They are now seen as a washed-up team that performs horribly and they wind up losing all of their sponsors, but this year will be different! You will rise out of obscurity as a newbie team captain and make it your duty to make the Reavers great again. Are you up to the task? Can you make this team shine again? All these questions and more will be answered during the next Blood Bowl match; hopefully, it isn’t a massacre.
The gameplay mechanics of this title are easy to understand but can be extremely hard to master. The overall concepts are simplistic to anyone that understands American Football. You get the ball, try to make it to the end zone and score, then you stop your opponent from doing that same thing. You just rinse and repeat that process throughout the entire game. Now if this was a Madden title I would have just explained everything, but Blood Bowl 2 brings some interesting aspects to the gameplay.
These aspects can be a bit confusing at first, but eventually become second nature as you make your way through the campaign. Each match of Blood Bowl is broken into two halves with eight turns a piece. During each turn, both teams get to move every available character a set number of spaces. These characters can be used to block or take opponents, run to an opening in the field for receiving, or pass the ball if it is in your possession. Once all possible options are executed, it will end your turn and move on to the other team. There is a bit of luck involved in most of the actions you perform in this game, but it mostly comes down to the confrontation with the other team. When you try to knock out another player, the game reads the strength level of both of the players that are about to get into an altercation. You then proceed to roll a set of dice that will determine the outcome. If you have a higher strength level than your opponent, you will get two or three dice and therefore have a better chance to knock them out. However, if you are a little weakling, the luck might not be on your side and you will probably be the one on the receiving end of a beatdown.
Besides the campaign, Blood Bowl 2 provides various online and offline modes for their players to enjoy. These mainly come in the form of one-off matches against your friends or other denizens that might greet you on the other end. Similar to other sports titles, this adds a boatload of replayability. However, I don’t see this game having the same appeal as Madden and the following is much smaller. This makes it hard to find other people to play against. This title also provides a game mode known as the Eternal League, available after the release of the Legendary Edition. The time that I spent with it was pretty cool but was a lot to grasp in the time that I spent with it. You take control of your team and go through the various duties of a coach or manager. This includes recruiting players, signing endorsements, and even canning your star player if he steps out of line. I see this as being the area you will mostly spend time in if you are extremely interested in this title. It definitely is the meat of the game, but it takes a while to fully understand everything that is going on and might take a while to get yourself up and running.
The visuals and soundtrack of Blood Bowl 2 are rather impressive, but each has their own downfalls as well. To start, the visuals are what you would expect from a Warhammer-inspired football title. You get all the fun of running and passing the pigskin across the field mixed with the gore and violence that you would expect from a hack n’ slash. The game can be pretty violent at points as players can actually die from collisions on the field. The term gore is a conceptual term when it comes to this title. Usually, when I see the ‘Blood and Gore’ classification in the ESRB rating, I assume that there will be blood and dismembered body parts everywhere. This is not the case in this game, but when players get knocked flat on their ass everything is up in the air. The slow-motion effect displays the body flying throughout the air as drips of blood, sweat, and probably tears expel from them. The body then proceeds to lay on the ground in a mangled mess to explicitly display that that person is in a world of pain.
The soundtrack and dialogue present in this title were a huge hit or miss with me. The sounds of the game were outstanding and really amped up the experience of playing a football-inspired game. The roar of the crowd paired with the explosive power of the hits made the game that much more immersive and really helped get me interested in the game. There wasn’t an elaborate orchestral score, but the soundtrack was average enough for me to take notice of it. The dialogue, on the other hand, could have been better and I did not enjoy watching the cutscenes. These scenes were the same thing every time as it presented a pair of sportscasters making comments about your upcoming match. Their banter is very bland and the characters don’t really have great personalities, and that leads to some cringy moments when they tried to make interesting comments. The game had its moments; however, the story and dialogue were not as good as they could have been.
Blood Bowl 2 was originally released in September of 2015 and had various updates to improve the title since release. In September 2017, the Legendary Edition was released and provides the original title along with all its DLC and some new content exclusive to this version. The Legendary Edition added eight new races plus an assortment of new Star Players and cheerleaders. It also brought two new game modes to life, Eternal League, and Challenge Mode. While League is interesting, the Challenge Mode presented itself as the cooler game mode. It pits the player in bizarre situations that must be solved in a single turn. It gives a bit of critical thinking to how you are going to score that touchdown or knock the teeth out of the linebacker that just pisses you off. I played a match with most of the new classes and I found them all to be unique in their own special way. However, my favorite had to be the Underworld Denizens due to the strange nature of the team. While none of them have high strength or armor, it just makes beating the opponents so much more rewarding in the end. Plus, they just look so damn creepy, it’s great!
In the end, Blood Bowl 2 was an enjoyable game that unfortunately wasn’t implemented well. I did enjoy my time with it, but it left no lasting impact on me. I didn’t get the urge to go back to this game after I had put it down as it couldn’t fully grasp my attention and I just didn’t enjoy playing it near the end of my time with it. This title does provide a lot of content, but I felt that it is a bit too pricey. The Legendary Edition is priced at $45 USD and the original is still around $20 USD. If you are still on the fence about this game, I would honestly say to hold off. I don’t think the game is worth the price tag on it as it is overall lackluster. It is not much more than an average football game, after all.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 6.5/10
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