Two words: Poland and Ukraine. If you’re reaction is limited to a blank stare and swift dismissal of my undiagnosed lunacy, then my friend, UEFA Euro 2012 is not for you. If, however, you met my sudden geographical outburst with an elevated look of excitement and overwhelming anticipation for Europe’s spectacular soccer showcase then, well…Euro 2012 still isn’t for you. Okay, so what gives? Why no love for FIFA 12’s Euro 2012 DLC from an admittedly obsessed footie-fan? It’s simple really: there just isn’t much to see here.
Prior to FIFA’s latest DLC content EA was in the habit of producing one-off releases of world football’s biggest occasions, which includes a 2010 World Cup edition highlighting the events in South Africa two years ago and the predecessor to Euro 2012, Euro 2008, held jointly in Austria and Switzerland. With UEFA Euro 2012, EA has made the switch from standalone release to expansion download. But while there is nothing inherently wrong with game, there really isn’t anything here to justify 1800 MS points or $19.99 on the PlayStation Store.
Part of the problem stems from just how good FIFA 12 is on its own. The Euro DLC is essentially the same game with a fresh coat of paint slapped on. Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend deputize for Martin Tyler and Alan Smith, and do a competent job reprising their role as main commentators for EA’s Euro-centric FIFA game. Of course, previous versions featured the duo, so again nothing really new here. Another noticeable difference is illustrated in the overall presentation of the game, which invariably comes off rather gaudy. That’s in stark contrast to FIFA 12’s polished menus and slick presentation.
So what does your hard-earned money get you? Sadly, not all that much.
Gameplay for UEFA Euro 2012 remains virtually the same and gathers no real complaints. Once your boots are laced up, you’ll be instantly familiar with the controls including the newly implemented Player Impact Engine (P.I.E) that allows for more in-depth control of your virtual superstars, specifically when it comes to your defensive duties. My only immediate gripe with the gameplay experience was a difference in the games default camera setting. My preferred viewing angle is Tele, whereas Euro 2012 defaults at Broadcast — not really a huge deal, but even when I went to change back to my beloved playing angle I found it still sat rather low to the action, which tended to limited my overall field of vision and stifle my midfield creativity. Not a huge deal, but irritating nonetheless.
As mentioned, Euro 2012 features some minor graphical tweaks. Minor superficial touches like new boots and official stadia for the upcoming tournament are present in all their glory. But as with most sports games the majesty and spectacle of it all fails to truly translate well from controller to console to your TV screen despite EA Canada’s best efforts. Still, Euro 2012 does an admirable job of creating a pumped up atmosphere compliments of lively crowds, massive amounts of colorful confetti, flags proudly waiving around in all their glory, and official tournaments sponsors. It all adds up to quite the carnival.
One of the most obvious (and meaningful) additions of Euro 2012 can be found in each team’s updated roster. Additionally, all UEFA nations have been included in the game. Still distraught over your teams failure to qualify and make it to the showcase event? No problem, you can always correct the course of history, at least in the game, and set things right. Just sub in your nation and you’re on a virtual course to rewrite history that would make Doc Brown proud.
Another new feature, albeit a rather bizarre one, is Euro 2012’s Expedition mode – although conquest mode seems more of an appropriate name. Here, you take to the not-so-war-torn streets of Europe and start out with a rather pedestrian team of nobodies with the overall aim of attacking other countries in the hopes of… you guessed it, amassing a giant mosaic of Europe! Wait, what? It’s all rather bellicose and more importantly, pointless.
You see, for each match you win, you get the opportunity to improve your fledgling squad; beat a team once and you get to snatch up one of their lesser talents; beat them again and you get to nab one of their subs; beat them a final time and one of their superstar players will make a dash for the border and defect to your rag-tag team of multinationals.
On top of improving your team and earning a mosaic piece (every team has three to cough up), each win provides a road into a surrounding nation, offering up even more countries to play against–that makes for 159 matches. And should you lose, you’re neo-Napoleonic quest for European football domination will suffer a serious setback with previous inlets being destroyed.
Honestly, we’re not entirely sure what EA Canada was thinking when it came up with the very “interesting” Expedition mode, but nevertheless it’s here and we doubt many will give it much notice, let alone want to take the time to complete the entire campaign.
UEFA Euro 2012 DLC isn’t bad, by any means. In-fact — baffling mosaic collecting Expedition mode, minor tweaks, and Euro-centric presentation aside — it’s nothing less than a solid addition to the overall FIFA 12 package. The problem inherently lies with how well FIFA 12 remains as a standalone title. It’s not a poor reflection of the DLC, but rather a testament to what a damn fine job EA did with FIFA 12 almost eight months ago. In the end, Euro 2012 DLC does little to warrant its ticket price. If you’re seriously intent on spending your money give it to charity, otherwise save yourself some cash, virtual or otherwise, and wait for FIFA 13.
(This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360 on a copy provided by EA)