Blood Bowl (Xbox360)

Welcome to the world of fantasy football!

For those who don't know, Blood Bowl is videogame based on a board game made by those wonderful people over at Games Workshop. Developed by (in my opinion) one of the greatest board/war game designers ever, Jervis Johnson. It is a game which crosses American Football and Games Workshops own Warhammer universe into a massively violent and enormously fun sports based board game. Two teams made up of warriors from various races face each other over the astro granite and have one simple objective, score more touchdowns than the opposing teams by any means possible. As you can imagine teams made up of Orcs and Elves and Goblins etc. are going to find some pretty violent ways of doing just that. The original game used a unique semi turn based system which allowed the boardgame to be exciting and dynamic and above all fun. I challenge any group of gamers familiar with Blood Bowl not to find an afternoon playing it with mates one of the most fun things you can (legally!) do with little lead miniatures.

Now the videogame was originally developed for the PC and then ported to the 360 and upon playing the game you immediately run into proof that the port was done either in a rush or by a half arsed team. Long load times, tiny illegible menus, slowdown etc. This game is not complex but it seems to make the 360 labour away during what should be simple tasks. I do not expect any title to visibly drop frame rate on a console game, let alone one with graphics as simplistic as Blood Bowl!

Other problems are also apparent. The amount of character customisation appears minimal. You can not even pick your team colours! Also the range of animations and the (admittedly very funny) commentary gets repetitive very quickly. There is a definite lack of polish to this product.

On the plus side there are lots of different ways to play the game with lots of different one of competitions, games and a career type mode where you can lead your team from low division no hopers to the glory of the Blood Bowl.

On a whole what we have here is a good but highly flawed product. It is a perfectly realised adaptation of the Blood Bowl boardgame but the developers have missed a great opportunity to take this videogame version a step beyond the boardgame it digitally recreates. For fans of the original game it is almost an essential purchase and to anyone who even has the slightest interest in the boardgame but doesn't want to spend £60 on it and then have to paint all the figures I would also recommend it but it just wont hold much appeal to anyone who buys it on a whim.

I believe that certain features that are in the PC version have not made it to the 360 version. This makes the port even sloppier however according to the official blood bowl game forums an update is heading to the 360 at the end of February as well as the Dark Elf DLC (although this wont be free like the PC version but this is more a Microsoft thing than anything to do with the game developer)

All in all this is a great game of you are already a fan of the board game, If you can find it cheap (like I did) go for it but if you have a decent PC you would probably be better off getting that version.

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