Up until now, EA used to release a separate, full-price game every time a UEFA Euro or FIFA World Cup tournament came around. This was both a good and a bad thing, but the general consensus was that it was more bad than good. Fans didn’t like that they were being offered two EA football games in the same year. They would much rather have these tournaments added as expansions to the annual FIFA release, especially in this digital distribution age when publishers are doing all they can to push downloadable content. This year, EA has obliged by releasing Euro 2012 as a downloadable expansion to FIFA 12, rather than as a standalone full-price game.
All fired up
So you’re being charged almost a third for this DLC than what you’d pay for a full release, but this has its flipsides, too. The biggest is in the gameplay and innovations. The Euro and World Cup games were often the first to introduce new features and mechanics that would later become staples in the FIFA games. The EA Sports Football Club from FIFA 12 can trace its roots back to Euro 2008, while flashes of EA’s biggest leap forward in the gameplay department, which came about in FIFA 09, could also be seen in Euro 2008. In the past, these mid-year releases gave us an early glimpse into what was to come in the next FIFA game. Not anymore. With Euro 2012 now an expansion to FIFA 12, all the gameplay mechanics are just as they were in FIFA 12. It’s the same gameplay, just with a Euro 2012 sheen.
Select the Euro 2012 menu option and the game is transformed. From the menus to the flowery tournament graphics to the Tylsdely-Townsend commentary to all the official stadia from Euro 2012, the presentation is unique, festive and a marked change from FIFA 12’s. And it’s no slouch when it comes to game modes. You can, of course, play through the Euro 2012 tournament as any of the 50+ nations, and you can even play the tournament online, where each of your opponents is another human player. But unlike the past standalone games, you can’t play through the qualifiers, which is a shame. You’ll also be disappointed to find that only half the teams are licensed, while the others have fake jerserys and player names; something FIFA players aren’t too accustomed to seeing.
The standout feature in Euro 2012, however, is the Expedition mode, which is quite similar to the career mode in FIFA Street. You start out with a custom team comprised of a rag-tag group of no-name players. One of these players can be your Virtual Pro or a real-life pro. You then set out to challenge all of Europe, starting with minnows like Azerbaijan. Beat a team and you have the opportunity to open up roads to other countries, whom you can challenge. Beat a team, and you can also steal a reserve player from its squad. Beat it again, and you can take a sub. Beat it a third time, and you can recruit one of its first team players. The Expedition mode is a blast; my only gripe is that unlike FIFA Street, you can’t play this mode online.
Story of the Finals is where you’re put into various match scenarios and tasked with coming out on top. It’s a feature that’s been around for years now, and it’s just as fun. And once the actual tournament gets underway, EA plans to throw in real-life scenarios for you to tackle.
Engaging sliding tackles
Euro 2012 is easier to stomach as a 999 expansion, as opposed to a 2,799 disc release. In that amount, you get a fresh, new presentation, the Euro 2012 tournament mode, plus the fantastic Expedtition mode. But you’ll miss out on the ability to play through the qualifiers; you only get half the licensed teams; and you get the same gameplay experience that you got with FIFA 12. Euro 2012 would’ve had our whole-hearted recommendation had it been priced a little lower, but even as it stands, it adds some decent mileage to FIFA 12. And with the various domestic leagues coming to a close, it’s a great way to get caught up in the Euro 2012 hype.
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