Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition - Xbox One Review

I have historically been tough on Games Workshop licensed title and with good reason. Warhammer has been around for nearly 35 years, Warhammer 40k just turned 30, and the sheer amount of detritus that has been released for PC or consoles bearing their monikers is astounding. From the absolute disaster that was Eternal Crusade , the bland, buggy and boring Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide, to hopelessly helpless Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon each and every title released has been terrible. Total War: Warhammer was a rare bit of excellence but it was followed up with the much anticipated, and generally alright, but not great Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War III. Needless to say, one of the most beloved high fantasy franchises, and the quintessential grimdark fantasy franchise have been represented in video game by titles that are , with rare exception, nothing but disappointing at best.

I think that the most shocking aspect of Blood Bowl is that it has been around since the mid-80's, with the first tabletop release being in 1986. I guess that goes to show how much I paid attention to it when walking into a GamesWorkshop retail store (when they still existed in abundance here in the States), though I was admittedly staring at the gorgeously painted models, so I had eyes for little else. That said, Blood Bowl  had a similar effect on me … I simply passed it by because there are other titles in the Warhammer and Warhammer 40k franchise to disappoint me (based on when Nick reviewed back in 2011 it is probably a good thing that I skipped it). With the Blood Bowl 2 Legendary Edition release on Xbox One I was mildly interested, which is a bit of a shock given it is sportsball, but the fact that Fall is right around the corner and I live smack dab in the middle of two of the most beloved NCAA football team schools, probably has something to do with my decision to take on the review for Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition, so without further ado, here it is …

Blood Bowl 2 is an acquired taste, sort of like how stinky tofu is an acquired taste, except where you have general health benefits and a weird texture with stinky tofu, with Blood Bowl 2 you have humor that is trying too hard, tactical, turn-based football that is pretty shallow, and graphics that would honestly work better on mobile devices than on a home console. In fact … I would probably actually like Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition more on an iPad or Android phone more-so than I do it on the Xbox One.

Why do I not like (yet another disappointing Warhammer title) Blood Bowl 2? I think the best way to describe it is that it is like that feeling that you get when you are walking down the stairs at night with no lights and you think that you have one step to go, but you misjudged and do that awkward stumble when you realize you have hit the actual floor/ground. Blood Bowl 2 is just. like. that. The individual features like managing your team roster and supporting members (like cheerleaders, Apothecaries, and Coaching assistants) can be, admittedly quite fun. With actual gameplay the PREMISE of it is really neat and is actually a really good virtual representation of (what I have seen of) the tabletop version that spawned the video game. However it feels shallow, like there is something missing. The few actions you can do (like blitzing or passing or punching) do not seem to provide enough meat so the good folks at Cyanide Studios thought that some hokey-pokey flavored flat humor could fill out the bones a bit. It did not work.

Though managing your team can be fun, since it feels far more like a simple, themed team management aspect from one of the more modern NFL team management teams, but with traditional RPG stats (Strength, Agility, etc. etc.). Building a solid team can be super rewarding, unless you start losing because you suck at tactical games, because then money is hard to come by. That said, it is pretty fun to customize characters, giving them beards or whatnot, and playing with their skills a bit, the real meat-and-potatoes to Blood Bowl 2 has nothing to do with actual gameplay, but rather the overall simulation aspect of managing the team. I just wish there was more … SOMETHING … since it feels empty.

The actual tactical, turn-based game play could be nice with more actions and longer turns, but overall it is incredibly basic (which is why I am a strong believer that this title would be far better suited to the mobile platform). Coin toss and a few of the other intro bits to a game happen REALLY fast and even after a dozen games I have no clue what happens in the run-up to the start of the game … Some brakes are needed on some of the animations because holy smokes they are speedy. I do have to say though, that with the Legendary Edition the best addition is the solo career mode, because multiplayer is just not my thing (too many years being subjected to the Battlefield/Call of Duty/Counterstrike/Team Fortress multiplayer base really just ruined the experience, so now I play only with the closest of friends or family). That said though, there were a number of tweaks, like communication options for players in the online community, as well as an option to create their own leagues and competitions shows that, somehow, Blood Bowl 2's half-million players on PC and Console are incredibly passionate about their Warhammer football.

The crowning achievement for me with Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition on Xbox One is that it is one of the VERY few recent Warhammer titles that I was not utterly disappointed by. Mind you that is largely in part due to the absolute zero expectation that I had for the title so when I found the depth of the team management tools, the little quirks of customizable features (like Orc cheerleaders, which nobody in their right mind should waaaaaaaaaargh), to be highly enjoyable I was a bit taken aback. With the simulation aspects clashing with the relatively flat and shallow gameplay and hamfistedly-juvenile humor, Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition is a mixed-bag that is more a paid update for existing fans than a bonafide-must-purchase title for fans of the American Gridiron that are looking for a break from EA Sports' monopoly on the NFL franchise titles.

Game Information

Xbox One
Focus Home Interactive
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
PlayStation 4

Provided by Publisher

Article by Robert


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