Broken, gimped, unprofessional craftsmanship, zero QA, half-assed... what am I leaving out?
Let's start with my first impression. The commentators and music are boring, repetative, and grate on your nerves after the first fifteen minutes. No problem; go into the options and turn them down, right? Well... sort of. For some reason, the game will not remember your sound settings next time you fire the game up. So, to not be driven insane by the *obnoxious* voice acting, you'll have to turn the volume down every time you fire up the 360.
I suppose the TV's mute button will do the trick, too, but is it unreasonable to expect this game to remember my sound preferences? Every other Xbox game that came before it is able to do this. The PC version can do it. Besides, I don't mind the game sound effects... it's just the other stuff that I prefer to turn off.
Second insight into the game - while reading the tutorial (basically a never-ending slideshow of text) amid some unforgivable gramatical/spelling errors, I found a an ASCII smiley/winky face.
Since when have emoticons become permissable in technical documents? My university English professor would have graded me with a :-F if I'd included emoticons in my reports. It made me laugh, but not in a good way.
I'd say that little winky served as the perfect metaphor for the 360 version of Blood Bowl. It's just plain unprofessional and half-assed. I wanted to love this game because a close friend of mine always went on about the original board game. We were both going to pick up the 360 version in order to participate in a league, upgrade our characters, replace the dead ones, customize them visually... maybe even paint them ourselves? There were so many things this game could have done right...
THE 360 VERSION IS 'GIMPED'
Let me be perfectly clear. The 360 version is vastly inferior to the PC version in several important ways. Here's what I mean:
1. There is no league play on the 360!
2. There is no way to level up your characters in online play on the 360 version!
3. The only way to level your characters is by playing against the AI.
4. You cannot choose a team color on the 360 version. You are either red or blue. And even that will change from one game to the next.
5. You cannot customize your character with upgraded equipment on the 360. At least I don't think you can.
6. No free DLC, possibly no DLC period. The PC version gets an extra race and supposedly more coming down the pipe.
Okay. First things first. I didn't buy this game to play by myself. I bought the game to play against my friend. I have no desire to play single player. It's just not fun, imo. But, unless I want to always play with a level 1 team that doesn't suffer lasting injury or death, I'm forced to play against the computer to gain experience. Many folks who have purchased this game for the 360 claim the box includes false advertising with regard to the missing XBL league feature.
As per a forum post on the official message board, Microsoft is somehow to blame for all the 360 version's missing features. Aparently, MS requires a multiplayer match to load and start playing within a set amount of time and the developer could not make that happen without removing the player experience (SPP) and customization features. Forgive me for sounding grouchy, but to me this sounds like sloppy coding on the developer's part. I've never heard of a single other game having this problem.
Additionally, MS has certain server requirements for any games featured on XBL and again, the developer could not meet those requirements, so they said goodbye to online leagues.
Needless to say I felt pretty ripped off in purchasing this game for $50. The PC version is the same price and has greater functionality, more features, and the promise of upcomming free DLC. The Xbox360 version is like a bad joke. A bad joke where you pay someone $50 to kick you in the kidney.
All these complaints aside, the Blood Bowl board game, serves as a very fun, unpredictable strategy game that requires a lot of patience to learn. The true shame here is the 360 version nailed the fundemental core of the game but missed, quite horribly, the foundations upon which that core is built. League play, community, and team progression. Simply unforgivable.
As a post script:
Blood Bowl can be played in turned based mode or real-time mode. I have never touched real-time mode as it just sounds like an affrontment to the original TBS board game. My question is WHY? Why try to make a TBS game into something it's not? Why not drop that idea entirely... nobody's going to play RTS Bloodbowl anyways... and instead invest the $$$ saved in real server hardware that meets MS's specification? Or maybe it could have been appropriated to contract a veteran game programmer that could get a multiplayer match to load in under 2 minutes?
Avoid the 360 version. Do yourself a favor and either opt for the PC version, or the original board game.