Enter the ‘Theatre of Screams.’ It’s the Blood Bowl Legendary Edition Review

Bringing the Warhammer series of board games to life Blood Bowl Legendary Edition launches to an eager mob of baying fan’s all lusting after the tall elf’s ears as a souvenir.

If history has taught us anything it is that board games generally do not travel well when crossed over to the videogame format. It is with great delight, therefore, that we bring you the review for the simply excellent Blood Bowl in its Legendary Edition guise.

Stomping onto the playing field like 400 lbs of quivering monster muscle, each ‘player’ on our team wades into the ensuing fray with all the gusto and bravado usually reserved by ‘gung-ho’ American marines as they charge a hill to overthrow ‘charlie.’ To say that they played fair would be to embellish the truth slightly, as we tear the ears from a screaming elf before celebrating the fall of the self-righteous ones with a cup of the forest dweller’s best ‘claret.’ After picking up an intense dislike of the ‘holier-than-thou’ elves following their foppish performances in The Lord of the Rings it feel’s good to snap the spine and rip the leg’s off a few whilst screaming to the neighbours  “And that’s for the stupid names you give your cities, you Spock wannabee!”

Blood Bowl Legendary Edition is just the most entertaining ‘sports’ title that we have had the pleasure of reviewing this entire year, all other franchises included. It’s original approach to the gameplay is, very often, blackly comic and on numerous occasions  hilarious. To dismiss it as merely another foray into the habitat of the ‘dungeon-dweller’ is to miss out on one of the most enthralling and compelling pieces of gaming that you will have the sheer joy of taking part in all year.

The premise of the game is a far more sophisticated affair than most gamers will give the title credit for. Yes it could be explained away as simply ‘American Football for the Jilted Generation,‘ However there is so much more going on that just the mere selection of a side and running into a padded defensive back.

The format, though being obviously a bloody form of ‘Rugby meets American Football  goes to the abattoir’ for lunch’ type of thing, see’s some of the best graphic’s with the most innovative gameplay in any sports title to date. Of course there are also vast differences to the US national sport that are glaring even to the untrained eye, the fact the ‘ball’ is more likely to be a skull or limbless torso kind of gives that one away, but you will get the gist of the strategy and gameplay, and in no time at all you will be leading your band of Orc’s or Elves onto the arena floor with a murderous glint in your eye along with the rest of us.

You must first select which of the available races that you wish to play as. Being that there are any number to choose from you will have no difficulty in fielding a team that best suits your needs. We decided to go for the brute strength of The Orc’s, as seeing that there are basically three main components to all teams: Runners, Throwers and, of course, the Powerhouses of the defence and offensive tacklers we thought it wise to go for power over style in our first few outings.

After deciding your race and setting out your team you take to the ‘Theatre of Screams’ to the roars and whoops of delight of the baying spectators that encircle you like a crowd of angry vigilantes closing in for the kill. From here on in the gameplay takes on a more strategic role as you position your players and get ready for the coming onslaught.

The form book goes out of the window in Blood Bowl as  many may assume, as indeed we did, that in a title such as this that those of the larger built bicep’s would naturally be the victor. But this is not always the case, as more often than not it is down to the individuals tactics and strategies that form a game plan which wins the day. As was easily demonstrated to us when we were immediately overrun by the far more athletic and agile Lizardmen, who sprang and dashed and leapt their way to an easily achievable victory over our lumbering musclebound Orc’s. With that, we decided to adopt a more acrobatic prowess to our game, and so in the next series we decided to be the Lizardmen ourselves, only to be pounded into submission by every Orc on the pitch. Family time viewing it was not as we sank to our second series defeat in a mass of blood and snot and rendered limbs.

All in all Blood Bowl Legendary Edition is a cracking romp through netherworld sporting arena’s with eleven new races, nine stunning looking new stadia and a whole host of story and campaign based shenanigans that will keep the player more than deliriously happy for many a month to come. Visually impressive and utterly compelling Focus Interactive have obviously allowed the development teams and designers to have free rein when constructing this non-stop action bloodbath of sporting excellence. Gamers will be in full sporting spectator mode as they scream obscenities at their team before howling a triumphant victory cry to the Heaven’s when the final whistle is blown.

Focus Home Interactive and developers Cyanide have done themselves proud once again with a truly enjoyable alternative take a sports title. One that should be part of every PC gamers collection, regardless of talent on other sporting titles. This game is just not your usual run-of-the-mill 11 on 11 team based ‘back of the net’ caper, this is the kind of game that makes you feel like a winner if you manage to finish the game with a handful of players left alive.

Graphics: Visually stunning and without a doubt far superior to most sporting titles on the market with an eye for the detail that leaves the player often bewildered by the sheer quality in the games make up. Utterly gorgeous, and so smooth you will think that a carpenter has come in to shave of the rough edges and plane out the bumps. No glaring glitches or bug’s and the loading times are non-existent. Blood Bowl Legendary Edition looks great. 9

Gameplay: Completely innovative and inventive take on the bog standard sporting title that will have players wincing at the bone shuddering challenges and giggling with childlike delight as you bite the throat from fleeing goblin. Excellent single play makes for compelling return visits and the online play is as good as anything else out there on the market without being predictable.      8

RePlay Value: With the addition of the extra eleven races, nine new impressive stadia and the massive single player campaign and story as well as the cracking online you will be doing well if you manage to finish this game seeing everything it has to offer before the end of a twelve months period. Great stuff.      8

Presentation: You have to hand it to Cyanide and Focus Home Interactive for this is a title that many developers would like to have attempted, but we feel would not have been able to pull off not nearly as well. The whole thing just looks and feels pretty much perfect as you press your team forward on the road to victory at the expense of your opponents ears, leg’s and elbows. 9

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