STAFF REVIEW of Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition (Xbox One)


Saturday, November 18, 2017.
by Adam Dileva

Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition Box art I don’t play sports game much, if at all, except for the odd few exceptions. That leads me to this review as I took on the duties to check out Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition. I expected it to be a football-like game akin to something like Mutant League Football, but oh boy, I was way off base, as I never realized that Blood Bowl has actually been around since the mid 80’s; just over 30 years actually. I’ve never gotten into Games Workshop board games before either, and these people are known for their Warhammer IP, which is probably why I’ve never really been into their stores and noticed Blood Bowl as a board game before.

This is a digital age though, so naturally, Blood Bowl 2 has been adapted to video game form for gamers to get into. The game was developed by Cyanide Studios and was actually released back in 2015, but now the Legendary Edition has been released with a slew of added content to appease fans while hopefully garnering new ones. Blood Bowl 2 is essentially a mashup of the tabletop game Warhammer and American football, and while I expected the gameplay to perform like a Madden football game, it’s actually nothing like that at all, and more like a strategy game, akin to the board game version out there.

So, what’s been added with the Legendary Edition you ask? At a quick glance, you get the base game as well as the expansion and team pack, all of which adds a ton of content to the base game, and all of which is the content currently released. I initially thought the bulk of the DLC was simply cosmetic, as you’re getting 16 new races in total, but there’s also a ton of new features and modes that’s been included and improved upon since the core game's release.

The expansion (again, which is included) adds 8 new races to the roster: Ogres, Amazon, Halflings, Elven Union, Goblins, Vampires, Underworld Denizens and the Kislev Circus. There’s a new stadium, a new single player mode called Eternal League, a Challenge Mode, and for the first time ever you can create a team with a combination of different races, which adds a whole new level of entertainment and creative teams. Even though it’s based on a real world sport ideas (football), this video game plays nothing like it.


Believe it or not, there is a Story Mode to be found here, which revolves around a human team known as the Reikland Reavers. The team used to be legendary, but they are cellar dwellers now, so the club owner has called for a new coach to bring them back to their former glory, which is you the player. It’s a simple setup but it works, playing over the course of a dozen games or so. As far as I know, this is the same campaign that the base Blood Bowl 2 used as well, but it’s a great starting point to learn the basics and mechanics of Blood Bowl 2’s gameplay that becomes deeper the more you learn about it.

It does an alright job at teaching you the basics, though I would have liked a lot more explanations about certain movements and strategies. It took me a handful of lengthy games to get the hang of things and how to properly strategize given the mechanics. The first game or two are simple to win, as certain modifiers like rolling a die to successfully throw and catch a pass for example, is disabled, as it attempts to ease you into the deeper strategies. Eventually you’ll need to factor in your chances to run or throw while hoping you land those dice rolls in your favor. Yes, remember, this is a video game based on a tabletop game, so a large bulk of the strategy you come up with will also almost come down to chance with die rolls.

New for single player is the Eternal League, which is aptly titled, as getting through it is going to feel like an eternity itself. This mode has you playing as any team, even one you create should you wish, across all four seasons of the year. Each season has a number of events that attempt to change up the gameplay in different ways, and this will force you to adapt with new strategies. Since this campaign is much lengthier than the Story Mode, you’ll be able to improve your team’s players and skills, which will be needed to overcome the constant string of new challenges and teams.

Challenge Mode is also a new addition. In this mode you are given a specific objective or situation and you will need to solve it. It’s almost like a puzzle, as you’ll need to learn specific skills and strategies to figure out the solution. It’s a fun distraction when you don’t want to play a lengthy full game.


Even with the Story Mode's tutorial at the beginning, the game didn’t give me as much information as I hoped in an effort to really learn how to play properly and strategize. I was frustrated in the beginning, not really sure what I was doing or how to avoid constantly getting knocked down, but I kept with it, playing more and more matches, and eventually I started to get it, trying to form my own plays in the process to score.

Kind of like the classic game Mutant League Football, most teams are made up of monsters, orcs, ghouls and more. As this game is based on a board game, gameplay is turn based, allowing you to move each of your members in a set amount of actions per turn before giving the opponent their turn at attempting to score. Nearly every movement has a die roll attached its success or failure. While normal movement can be done without consequence for the most part, unless you’re in range of an opponent, you can tempt fate and roll the dice to attempt to move an extra few squares along the playing field grid.

The same goes for nearly every other action, as tackling or blocking is based on a chance die roll as well. Naturally, some teams and players have specific bonuses as a base or situation, so there’s a lot of strategy when deciding what team will play best into your strengths and play style. Giant hulking linebackers, for example, will have a bonus die when rolling to tackle, giving you an extra chance at succeeding in your roll.

This is Blood Bowl though, not standard football, so expect plenty of knock downs, injuries, and even deaths. I honestly expected a little more blood given the premise and setting, but it’s more just heavy hits rather than brutal attacks. Some teams are more proficient at running plays and dodging tackles, while others excel at the passing game, and some are simply best at trying to run over opponents, hurting them in the process. It took me some time to find my ideal team, but experimenting with each one was interesting as you get to see the different possibilities based on the styles of gameplay.


There’s also a slew of other additions and improvements in the Legendary Edition, like being able to create your own team with mixed races. This leads to some very unique team compositions, some of which are completely overpowered should you build it just right. Small things like being able to customize your cheerleaders is quirky, but fun, and creating tournaments among friends has a lot of potential to be a blast. My biggest complaint is that matches take quite some time to complete, so don’t expect a quick 5-10 minute match when you don’t have a lot of gaming time to commit.

Team management has some depth to it for those that want to truly customize their team to their liking, and while it may not be as deep as other sports manager games out there, it does the job considering its setting, even if it’s a little too much in the beginning. Visually, the game is best described as adequate, but nothing really stands out positively, as I was distracted by the poor lip syncing from the commentator ‘cutscenes’ and janky animations that transition abruptly.

Even when you create the perfect team and develop the best strategies, there’s always going to be a huge chance element to the gameplay that is completely unpredictable. It’s silly to see your player trip on an extended run because your die roll wasn’t good enough with an 80%+ chance to succeed. A large portion of the gameplay is being able to adapt and react to the times that these unfortunate die rolls tend to happen, which are usually more often than not.

If you’re looking for a traditional football video game you better look elsewhere, as this game plays more like a turn based strategy game than anything else, it just uses the football backdrop as its setup. Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition took some time to grow on me, and while I don’t see myself playing it much longer in the future, I definitely appreciate its strategic elements that require some unique tactics based on your opponents. If you’re already a Blood Bowl 2 owner and enjoyed it, the Legendary Edition is an easy sell with the 16 additional races alone, even if many of them require some serious skill to use properly. For those new to the genre, Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition is a great addition if you want to take the time and learn all of its intricacies and develop some strategies to become skillful in a strategy based game, just don’t let its football setting fool you into thinking it’s a regular sports game like I mistakenly did.




Overall: 7.2 / 10
Gameplay: 7.5 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10

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