Not enough “fantasy” in your fantasy football? Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition can cure that with the addition of new modes, teams and features that can revitalize any interest you had in the two-year old title. The Legendary Edition is available as a standalone purchase or an expansion for those who already own the game.
I liked Blood Bowl 2 well enough when I reviewed it upon its release in 2015. It cleaned up a lot of issues that were present in the original game, while adding enhanced graphics and multiplayer features. While the game was certainly more accessible, it lost some of the elements that made the original so unique.
One of the biggest losses was the detailed “franchise” mode, which, while a little clunky, was also pretty captivating. This expansion tries to remedy that with a new Endless League mode. Endless League allows you to enter your team into a variety of tournaments and short season, spread out across four seasons. This is a satisfying replacement to the old franchise mode and definitely improves on what was here before (one-off tournaments), as it provides a literal endless variety of tournaments and leagues to play through. Keep in mind, players will level up, evolve, gain skills, age and likely die, so maintaining a viable team over the course of multiple years will prove to be a challenge.
Speaking of teams, this new edition adds a few new ones to the mix, including Amazons, Goblins, Vampires and Ogres. Of particular interest to me were the Halflings and the Kislev Circus. The Halfling players are mostly cheap, evasive little guys, backed by their two giant Ent-like tree-men. While the haflings litter the field and avoid all attempts to stop them, the trees simply mash opposing players into the ground.
Meanwhile, the Kislev Circus brings acrobatic linemen and trained bears to the pitch. They use their skills to bounce all over the field, regardless of who’s around them; unfortunately, they tend to get injured quite frequently. And the bears are just cool — until their animal instincts kick in and they ignore your commands.
Another new feature is the ability to create mixed teams made up of players from multiple teams. The game does a nice job limiting this to thematic choice combinations, like all human players or those from the afterlife. The ability to craft customized teams like this is a double-edged sword, but one full of strategic decisions. By mixing races, you water down a natural team’s focus in place of individually skilled players. It’s also tempting to load up on expensive players at the expense of a deep bench. My “anti-fur” team featured a killer line featuring a bear, a yeti, and a dragon; after one game, nearly all of my other players were dead or injured — with no cash left for replacements.
Additionally, you can create “All-Star” teams to use in friendly online matches, made up of only the star players. Likewise, custom teams take the cap of a budget, allowing you to spend as much money on a team as you’d like. A suite of new online options also increases the value of multiplayer, including the ability to pause online games, fill league slots with AI teams and resurrect players (i.e., no lasting injuries or deaths) between matches.
Finally, a new challenge mode offers more single-player goodness. This mode functions like a puzzle game, where you are thrown into a match mid-game and given some crazy objectives. I think this is a worthy addition, but is just a little too far removed from the core gameplay for my liking.
For those who just own the base game, you will see a number of cosmetic and technical improvements thanks to a free update. The developers claim a 10 percent speed increase throughout the game, which, if true, is nice. Blood Bowl 2 can be a ploddingly paced game at times. And while the AI has been “enhanced” I still see the occasional odd behavior when playing computer-controlled teams. For instance, in one match an AI pushed my ball carrier into the end zone, instead of an adjacent empty square. Even if they were playing for additional time, there were enough AI players around to possibly prevent me from scoring next turn. In a separate game that went into overtime, I put the kickoff just outside the opponent’s end zone. For some reason, the AI players ignored the ball, allowing me to sneak down the sideline, pick up my own kickoff, and score to win the game. These head scratchers aren’t especially common, but they can cause you to question how tuned the AI is. I suppose it could be programmed to make mistakes like a human…
Still, all of the new features found in this expansion/version add a ton of replay value to a game I already liked. However, during the first week of release there were a number of glitches and bugs that kept me from enjoying the game to the fullest. One particular bug made text in roster screens and menus impossible to read. I will give the developers credit in that within a week a patch had already corrected that problem. Since then, I haven’t encountered any other major issues.
If you liked the original Blood Bowl or its sequel, I would definitely suggest you upgrade or pick up this new “legendary” version. I double that recommendation if single player is the primary way you enjoy this game — the Endless League mode nearly re-creates the deep franchise mode found in the original game. The new teams and customization options also allow you to flex your team-building might, creating your ultimate “fantasy” fantasy football team.