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Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition Review

Whether you already love Blood Bowl 2 or haven't even tried it, this is the place to be for the the most informative review of the brand new Legendary Edition, which includes all of the original content AND a raft of new features including endless campaign mode, 8 new teams and a whole lot more.

Blood Bowl 2 Review

Introduction

Surely if you're here, you do know what Blood Bowl 2 is right? No? OK, well let's begin with the basics. Blood Bowl 2 is the second iteration of the classic Games Workshop board game to be digitized by Cyanide Studio, and let me tell you now, I am biased, because even before the Legendary Edition was launched, I thought it was brilliant.

Blood Bowl 2 Legendary Edition is effectively both an all inclusive "Gold Edition" in that it includes both the original base game and all of the DLC races released to date. That's not the end of the story though, because BB2: LE also includes 8 further additional races, the ability to play as mixed race teams in some events, and an entirely new Endless Campaign for solo players. There's actually a lot more (some of which is cosmetic) but the main thing is, BB2: LE includes a whole raft of content over and above the base game.

Blood Bowl 2 Legendary Edition is out now on Steam, Xbox One and PS4.

The Kislev Circus have a bear!

Story

There are effectively a couple of ways to play a campaign mode in BB2: LE. and believe it or not, there is indeed a story mode, although it is one carried over from the original Blood Bowl 2 base game. In this story mode, players control the Reikland Reavers, a legendary human team that has seen better days, and must guide them to glory.

The other mode is the Eternal League, which is a brand new mode that, erm, has the potential to last forever. In this mode, players can take any team (or create one to begin afresh) and will play through four seasons each year, each of which will comprise of a number of events of your choosing. Your team remains consistent throughout, and players can age (and retire) or gain skills and improve as games progress.

The Eternal League isn't especially revolutionary to new players (who will have seen similarly expansive modes in FIFA, for example) but it is a big deal for returning BB2 fans, and it means that if you are a solo player, you will now have much more to compete for.

Whilst I didn't replay it just for BB2: LE, the base campaign revolving around the Reikland Reavers is a lot of fun, and it offers a fairly lengthy game over about ten or eleven games. It does a decent job of introducing the style, humour and gameplay of Blood Bowl, and it remains an excellent starting point for any newcomes to the game.

Vampires now feature!

Gameplay

Gameplay remains the main attraction in BB2: LE, and where this version is concerned, all Cyanide have really done is layer more and more interesting features for players to explore. Mastering the game is hard, and when you begin a game, it's important to realise that you'll probably lose a lot at first, and because each game is long, it can be frustrating.

Stick with it though, and BB2: LE is extremely rewarding. The game is a digital representation of a board game about an ultra violent interpretation of American Football. Each team consists of eleven varied players (plus one or more subs if you're lucky) that must move around a board based on rules – their movement allowance, where other players are located and so on. When you decide to tackle (or block, as the game refers to it) an opposing player, you roll dice, and how likely you are to succeed depends on the strength of each player (plus variation for adjacent team mates or other skills.) Similarly, when you pick up the ball, you roll a dice based on your player agility, again modified by any skills.

This makes each game of BB2: LE a series of puzzles made up of multiple turns. You never want to roll disadvantageous dice early in your turn because that will result in a turnover, and yet if you don't pick up the ball, or remove that opposing player, how can you hope to score?

All of this is complicated by the fact that players can be knocked over, knocked out, injured or stunned, and there is a whole reward and level system for players that are proficient in hurting others, just as there is for scoring points with the ball. Bashy teams as they are known, excel in damaging other players and removing them from the game, and as a result, they score (assuming they can pick the ball up) by beating up the opposing team until they can't mount a useful defense.

Injuries, deaths and player advancement are all elements of gameplay that are especially important in league, campaign and multiplayer modes, and playing online is where BB2: LE comes into its own. There really is nothing more satisfying that testing your wits against another human player, and whilst it can be frustrating to lose a key player to death or injury, it is just as likely that you'll be dishing out the punishment – after all, it's just part of the game.

New stadiums are included

Graphics and Audio

BB2: LE does seem to have some additional animations and graphical tweaks in comparison to the base game, although it isn't a revolutionary change. I may be wrong, but there seem to be more player skins and a few new animations. 
Regardless of what is or isn't new, BB2 was always a fine looking game in the context of what it is. Remember, this is a board game, so it isn't especially flashy in any way, but the character models, stadiums and supporting graphics do suit the game world, and the detail and humour that permeates the original Games Workshop product is as strong as ever. For the sake of speed, I turn off the block animations, but if you do leave them on, there is a palpable weight of impact involved, and it is accompanied by a satisfying crunch of bone and armour.

On that note, sound is also quite good in BB2: LE although it never reaches especially great heights. The game features the Vampire/Ogre combo of Jim and Bob on commentary duty, and whilst repetitive, I still enjoy their whimsical banter. The sound effects (as I said before) are crunchy and powerful which is also nice, whilst the music is fine in menus, and has an appropriately dark yet comical tone.

Legendary Edition teams can be quirky

Conclusion

Whilst I do admit that I am biased, I think BB2: LE really does offer exceptional value. Within the game there are now 24 distinct races from which to draw your team, plus the opportunity to mix them where appropriate. Whilst many of the teams introduced in BB2: LE are expert level, quirky or just downright unplayable, that simply means there is more to discover once you become a proficient player.

Whilst BB2: LE is indeed a board game, it also works well when you think of it as a turn based or tactical strategy game, because that is kind of how it plays. It's never been the perfect board game (and therefore it is not the perfect digital board game) but it does have an excellent mix of luck and judgement that allows players to minimize randomness to the extent that the feeling of control remains.

Board game fans, or fans of the original BB2 should certainly invest in BB2: LE, and fans of tactical combat looking for something with longevity and humour might also want to consider it. If you're simply wondering whether or not this is a game for you, then there has never been a better time to dive into the world of Blood Bowl.

PROSCONS
+ A huge amount of content+ Not for everyone
+ Plenty for new and returning players+ Each game takes a long time
+ The definitive digital interpretation of Blood Bowl
+ Very strong online community
8.6
Great

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