Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition (PlayStation 4) Review

By Sam Turner 16.10.2017

Review for Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition on PlayStation 4

In this terrible and turbulent world sport is a haven for the soul; a place where people can safely vent their frustrations and let loose their competitive urges. Under the vigilant eye of authoritarian rulebook holders, sport has forever been an elegant playground for people to meet in equality and battle out for victory. Outside of these hobbies, such combative energies would be showered in disgust and repulsion; however, in the arena of sport, there is much delight and pleasure in a fair fight. Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition is the mirror to this traditional view of sport. In Blood Bowl 2 there is no pleasure in fairness but a fair chance to see a lot of pleasurable violence.

Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition is a gloriously violent sport experience. A sequel to the original released in 2009, this is a hobby franchise that ESPN would only be able to broadcast after the watershed. At first glance, Blood Bowl 2 looks like a violent fantasy variant of American Football, but the truth is that it is about as connected to chasing the pig skin as the aforementioned swine is to their fleshy covering.

This is no sport simulation; its real roots settle themselves in turn-based strategy. This is a Warhammer title that has twisted into a sick sport, not the other way around. Based on the original board game of the same name, this not only provides a more accessible introduction to a haunting hobby but also saves the player possible hundreds of pounds in plastic and cardboard.

Screenshot for Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition on PlayStation 4

The central concept of American Football gives Blood Bowl 2 the spine upon which everything else is shredded around. Score more touchdowns than your opponent and win. However, unlike the traditional pastime, there are pretty much no limits to how success can be achieved. Turn by turn, it is possible to manoeuvre players square by square in order to halt the progress of the rival. There are no polite blocks here or safety tackles, instead once characters are placed in the right position there is no limit to the pain and horror they can inflict on each other in attempts to rob the ball or stop a touchdown.

Such basic mechanics as passing, moving, and interceptions remain but what Blood Bowl 2 embraces is that this is a sport that should be as violent as possible. Ogres, goblins, humans and orcs litter the field and brutal tacticians are encouraged to move and decimate their opponents without them even touching the ball. At times, it sometimes feels that all people are doing is throwing players to the ground, yet beneath this pale skin is an experience that embraces its deep strategical roots.

Screenshot for Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition on PlayStation 4

Each team member has their own stats that dictate movement distance, agility, and strength, so making the most of each of their abilities is the key to success. Due to the limited numbers of turns each player takes, it means that brute force will not win a match, but playing Blood Bowl 2 as a bloody version of chess will. The final element that heavily controls the flow of play is the inclusion of dice rolls that determine the outcome of pretty much everything.

Like many of the Warhammer properties, dice take the lead in determining the outcomes of many of the actions. This means that decisions on the pitch have to be planned and deliberate, and in no way reactive - although this does sap the pace and rhythm, to a degree, so making the best of the six-sided rollers is paramount.

The dice work in a simple way and don't have the usual numerals pasted on them. Instead, dice rolls decide what fate will befall the chosen target. Will they simply be pushed backwards or thrown despicably to the ground… or, possibly, will the player's best laid plans go to waste as the force of the attacks takes them out, as well? All of these are possible, yet with clever planning, the odds can be in your favour. Move a player a close to another and the added strength offers another die, which could make all the difference.

Screenshot for Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition on PlayStation 4

It's in this added complexity and depth that Blood Bowl 2 bares it's teeth. Yes, all the smashing and smooshing of faces and bodies is a delight, but learning how to make the most of the turn the player has available to them is a necessity. However, all this mechanical detail is fairly well hidden from sight. Sometimes there are one too many dice rolls and gamers may feel beholden to the RNG god. Also, despite a robust Campaign, which is essentially a glossy tutorial, trying to get a brain around some of the nuances isn't always that easy. It doesn't help that the in-game tutorial is nothing more than a link to a website rather than something crafted for those in control of the action.

The original cardboard incarnation of the sport is a pricey investment, so being able to have access to its ravenous tendencies is a delight that shouldn't be taken for granted. It does suffer from one obvious omission, though, which is the lack of direct physical interaction. Due to the fact that there is no player to directly converse with, Blood Bowl 2 creates its own entertainment by framing the entire game around its own ESPN-style television broadcast, titled Cabal Vision.

Headed up by Jim and Bob, Cabal Vision directs all parts of Blood Bowl 2. The commentators bleed through story elements, they remark on play and, essentially, they attempt to fill in the personality that's missing when not playing the physical game alongside someone else. For the most part, they do a good job at providing the charm to something that could very quickly become bogged down in lore and dreary statistical play.

Screenshot for Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

For fans of the board game, and indeed more slower, seasoned tactical play, Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition offers a unique and inviting gaming experience. It's a statistical conundrum wrapped up in the familiar, which makes learning the rules and expansive options much less daunting. It definitely suffers from dips in pace and rhythm, which at times threatens to suck the life from within. However, the turn-based play is consistently engaging and brutal.

Developer

Cyanide

Publisher

Focus Home Interactive

Genre

Sport

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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