Uefa Euro 2008 (EA)
Tuesday, April 22, 2008 12:00 AM
Right, before we start I'd just like to say that yes, this is exactly the same, gameplay-wise, as Fifa 08. Same slightly stodgy player movement, insane free kick accuracy (from AI and human players) and all the other little niggles present in the "main" game.
This, of course, is the tournament cash-in version, released in the hope of capturing the imagination of a public driven into a frothing frenzy by tabloid hysteria. Crowds of handkerchief hat-wearing, string vest-sporting Ingurlund fans up and down the land are the target audience for this little number.
However, as we all know, not one of the home nations qualified, with England failing comically under the "leadership" of Steve McLaren. Uefa Euro 2008 therefore will therefore appear in a consumer climate not exactly geared to celebrating the central European footy extravaganza.
While Austria and Switzerland breathe a sigh of relief and put the riot police on other duties in England's absence, Electronic Arts will be fearful of a backlash in the shops. You see, few will want to celebrate England's failure to qualify by playing this game, especially if they own Fifa 08 already (or Pro Evo, of course).
Nevertheless, the game itself is as Fifa-ry as they come. High production values, glossy graphics and the excellent Be-A-Pro mode are all present and correct. The music, to me at least, gets more execrable with each new game, but at least you can switch it off pretty quickly before you vomit blood.
One new feature is the online-linked Battle of the Nations. Select your nation and performances both off and online will contribute towards an overall daily leaderboard specific to your country.
When the real Euro 2008 competition finishes, the in-game nation with most points etc. is crowned the winner. Most people won't actually care about this, of course, and may well have totally forgotten about it by the time the winner is announced.
As for other changes from Fifa 08, they are mainly cosmetic. If you have a common surname, like your good reviewer here, you can have Clive Tyldesley berate your feeble efforts in the Be-A-Pro mode as if you were one of the players. This isn't a "new" feature, of course - I remember it being in a few NBA Live games, for example - but it is pretty fun nonetheless. Certainly better than having "Number 69" read out each time you touch the ball.
Scenarios allow you to relive a few What-If moments from the qualifying campaign, including England's hilarious demise at the hands of Croatia. Completing these challenges unlocks other things and so on - the usual drill.
As for the game itself, it is as competent as Fifa 07 and 08, with very little changing. After the pleasing revolution of 07, it is sad to see EA yet again releasing virtual patches every 6 months or so. Passing is still better, for me, in Fifa than Pro Evo, with the tackling a little better as well. Players do seem rather slow at times and shooting is still decent.
Good players will rack up cricket scores against each other, of course, as attacking is certainly easier than defending, but all in all it is a solid football sim. Just the same one you've played a lot already, only without England in it (yes, I know they are there, but.ah, forget it).