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Fit for the big match? Taking a look at EA Sports title UEFA Euro 2012
EA Sports present their latest addition to the FIFA juggernaut in the form of the UEFA EURO 2012. A Downloadable add-on for FIFA 12, available for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Clean Sheets takes a look…
Barely a month after releasing FIFA Street, EA have asked fans of the series to dip into their deep pockets once more for the £15.99-priced DLC for FIFA 12, ‘EURO 2012′.
Based on this summer’s upcoming tournament to be held in Poland and Ukraine (good luck, Roy), this is the first time that EA have decided to release a DLC for a major tournament rather than a standalone game.
It begs the question why FIFA Street wasn’t held back until the summer of 2013 (with no World Cup or European Championship in place) in order to be given a full helping of EURO goodness this time around?
Of course that would of made too much sense.
Nevertheless, moving on, what do we get for our £15.99?
EURO offers consumers five different game modes to sink your teeth into. Kick-off – a bog standard head-to-head match, EURO 2012 – the tournament itself (thankfully eh?), Challenges, Xbox Live and the newly introduced Expedition.
Let’s get the disappointments out of the way early. There are 56 European sides included within the download – ‘What’s up with that?‘ I hear you say – but unfortunately only 20 of those have officially licensed kits and some, Wales for instance, don’t have the correct player names.
You’ll be running down the wing with Gareth Belth, pulling the strings in midfield with Aaron Rumsay and finishing off the chances with Craig Belmont. It feels like we’ve gone back 10 years and we’re playing PES again. EA claim that the licensing issues were unavoidable but even with the likes of host nations Poland and Ukraine lacking their official strips it does leave a sour taste.
Moving on to the positives (for now), the presentation – as you’d expect from an EA title – is excellent. All the menus and in-game graphics have been suitably painted with the official EURO colours and it sets the scene for the action impressively.
Additional tournament specific commentary has been introduced with Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend guiding you through your journey (We especially liked Clive reminding his buddy Andy that he had never played in a European Championship – it was a Geoff Shreeves type moment).
The gameplay is obviously taken directly from FIFA 12 so there are no complaints here (although them quick throw-ins get more and more annoying don’t they?).
Offline, the tournament delivers exactly how it should. The niggle is that the DLC doesn’t give you the opportunity to pre-qualify for the event which would give you the ultimate satisfaction of making it to the EUROs.
You can also play the tournament online, something which was introduced in the EURO 2008 title and continued in 2010 FIFA World Cup. However, the difference here is that the match-making from previous tournament titles has not been utilised in this DLC.
For instance, you could end up playing Germany three times in the group stage (which is exactly what happened to us). Instead of taking your previous opponents into account, the match-making system tries to match you up with a team of a similar star level.
As for online itself, that’s it. There’s no Head-to-Head or Online Team Play.
The new game mode in this DLC is Expedition. The idea is that you start off with a team of complete unknowns from countries such as San Marino, Kazakhstan and Georgia plus either a player of your choice from your favourite nation or your Virtual Pro.
At the hub of the game mode is the map system which is intended to be based on the board game of Risk. From here, you challenge nations and if you win you’ll receive a player from the team and a road to another country. The trouble is, if you lose you destroy the road created to the country and must play the team prior to the one you have just lost to.
For example, starting off with Kazakhstan, if you win your first match and create a road to Belgium but then lose to the Belgians then you’ll have to beat Kazakhstan again before you challenge Belgium again. This is all a bit tedious and rather annoying when you have a team of 60-rated players.
This mode has a bit of a viscous cycle and, as such, we suggest that you try attempting this at one of the easier difficulty levels. To get a better team with better players you must beat the bigger nations but that can be very difficult with a poor team on one of the harder difficulties. Patience is very much the name of the game here.
The Challenge mode is difficult to judge considering that it will only really come in to play once the tournament starts and users are presented with scenarios from different matches at the finals. One thing this mode is crying out for though is an online leaderboard. It would provide a greater incentive to players rather than just the standard reward of XP.
And there you have it, that’s what £15.99 of your cash will get you.
UEFA EURO 2012 was never going to bring the playability of a full game and what we have been given is certainly a scaled-down bite-size addition of this summer’s tournament.
The offline event of the tournament – despite lacking the qualifying stages – is probably the highlight of the package with online frustratingly held back by match-making issues. Expedition is EA’s attempt at trying to add some longevity to the download but the sheer frustration at making one step forward only to take two back is infuriating.
In summary, EURO 2012 does OK. It delivers the tournament in a glitzy fashion with some new sound bites to boot. There’s just not much else to shout about and the hefty price doesn’t help either.
Final Score; 6/10