Who says you have to grow up? Here at SI.com's Game Room, our staffers review the latest sports video game titles to hit the market and welcome your feedback.
3/30/2007 12:00:00 PM
Review: UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 (PS2)
By Lang Whitaker
First, you need to know something: I bought my PlayStation 2 back in the fall of 2000, shortly after I moved to New York City. It has survived a move, a fire and innumerable scratched, flawed discs. There is surely enough pet hair inside of it to fashion a luscious toupee for Jeff Van Gundy. It has been left on and running for upwards of 12 hours at a time. And despite all the grenades I've thrown at it, my seven-year old PlayStation 2 still works like a champ.
A few months ago, I bought an Xbox 360. I can't remember what I paid for it, but it was over $400. I've used it regularly, and was starting to really enjoy it, until I turned it on a few days ago and instead of being greeted by the usual green power light, I was assaulted by an angry red light. I mentioned this problem to SI.com gaming guru Adam Levine, and he responded, "Yes! The red ring of death!" Apparently Adam had been through a similar experience. He recommended I check the warranty because I was probably still covered. But I have no idea where the warranty is, and besides, if I pay that much cash for something, I expect it to last longer than three months, under warranty or not. Thanks, Bill Gates!
UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 (PS2) :: EA Sports
All of this to say, I've since re-embraced my PS2. So when EA Sports' new UEFA Champions League for the 360 showed up at my office, I kicked it to the side and went out and bought a copy for the PS2. I am now officially old school.
The notion of a Champions League video game is a little strange, considering EA just released FIFA 07 a few months ago. Besides, to most Americans the Champions League has no real cachet. (If you don't know, it's kind of like a super tournament with the best clubs from all over Europe.)
Because this game is focusing on the Champions League teams, league play isn't emphasized, though it is included. The managerial mode is called The Treble. You choose a team and guide them in chase of various titles. Through the season, you're dropped into situations which can be terribly frustrating. For instance, I had to begin one F.C. Barcelona game at Getafe down 1-0, with something like 15 minutes remaining and Getafe ready to take a penalty kick. Good luck with that one. A few weeks later I lost another game and the Barcelona board of directors sacked me. Joan Laporta, I hardly knew you.
UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 (Xbox 360) :: EA Sports
Since you're just playing bits and pieces of the games, the Treble Season zips right along. In between games, the team management maniacally requests over and over that you improve the team, even though Barcelona was already stacked. I was able to add Gabriel Heinze and Obafemi Martins. And I still got canned.
Besides online play, there's a series of famous historic situations from Champion's League history that's entertaining to work your way through. Apparently the Xbox 360 version has some sort of trading card mode that has received positive reviews. The red ring of death that Bill Gates unleashed upon my apartment have kept me from finding out for myself.
There are noticeable differences in the way Champions League plays in comparison to FIFA 07. The controls are the same and the visuals are very similar, but the players seem to somehow move smoother than in FIFA. Through balls work best, and if you time it right (or maybe just always play with Barcelona) you can zip the ball all the way down the field with just a couple of through passes. (Also, corner kicks are much easier to complete than in FIFA, which is a huge improvement.)
I still haven't won the Champions League in Champions League, much less The Treble. But I can already see a lot of this game in my immediate future. And it feels good to know my PlayStation 2 won't let me down.
Ratings System (1 to 10)
Game Play: 8
There are still some balky player animations, and it's hard to get guys to turn sometimes. There's also some passing issues where the player will move the ball to guys you're not aiming for. But on the whole it plays really well.
The scale of the players is perfect, and I like the weird patchy grass in some of the arenas.
This is where Champion's League earns its keep. I've played several hours already and I've barely scratched the surface.
My son has the 360 and his "ring of death" happened 6 weeks out of warranty....$179 or something to fix a $400+machine. What a joke! So we play FIFA07 on the PS2 but now you have me interested in getting the UEFA version...So about being fired..the soccer mgmt world can be brutal.
I am huge Soccer fan and as well a big ps2 fan. Now recently i have been mastering the gameplay of fifa 07 and have few complaints. Ive played with Chelsea and made far into league play, but now this game Lang talks about the Uefa Champions League sounds awesome. Lang get rid of Heize and pick A.Ferdinand and John Terry, you'll win the cup. Here's a tip to all fifa soccer players, on ps2 with free kicks. When your less than 5 or so yards from the 18 yard box, just tap the shoot button and it will go in! Good luck all!