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6/05/2008 11:28:00 AM

Review: UEFA Euro 2008 (Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP)

UEFA Euro 2008

Image Credit: EA Sports
Things We Like
Captain Your Country Mode: I am a sports video game narcissist, meaning I love creating athletes within games and playing as the athlete to advance through their careers. The Captain Your Country mode in EA's UEFA Euro 2008 allows you to create a prospect, assign him to a country and then attempt to play your way into the line-up for a Cup contender. While you try to accumulate points to improve your player and earn a captain's armband, you also are trying to beat out three other hopefuls. So if I called for passes from Peter Crouch knowing full well I was only going make him turn the ball over (and decrease his ranking)... well, it's just part of the game.
Deep Gameplay: Besides Captain Your Country, you can attempt to qualify a smaller European country for the Cup, play a friendly, play through a bunch of specific scenarios, or even just play the Cup's final rounds. Even though the game is based around just one tournament, there's more ways to play the beautiful game than you'd expect.
Improved AI: Perhaps I'm just imagining this, but the technical play of the game seems much improved from EA's previous soccer offerings. Bad teams concentrate on defense, but sending offensive players through on runs attracts defenders and creates open space, more so than in any previous version of FIFA that I can recall.
The Beautiful Game: Using my PS3 and playing on an HDTV, Euro 2008 is a gorgeous looking game. The colors are brilliant, the weather is severe, even the sound effects have been bumped up. They've also introduced manual scoring celebrations, so after your guy scores you can either point to the fans, point to yourself, do a somersault, whatever. Even the coaches have been tightened up. England is still coached by Steve McClaren in the game, but his sideline wardrobe changes from match to match, from bespoke suits to sweatsuits.
Check out UEFA Euro 2008 in action:
Things We'd Change
Natural Selection: The very nature of the game, being based around Euro 2008, dictates that the only teams and players involved are those from Europe. So even though this is a different (and better) game than FIFA 08, if you're a fan of a team or player from anywhere other than Europe, you're out of luck. At least until EA drops a Copa America game.
Hands Off: For a sport that asks its competitors to eschew the use of hands, UEFA Euro 2008 has a bevy of maddening controls, including a bunch of multi-button combos that are required if you want to make your player execute some fancy footwork. You can play the game without learning these multi-button maneuvers, but it seems counterproductive to play the game at anything less than its full capacity. Or maybe EA could just make the controls a little simpler.
Lag: A few times I played online and found the graphics lagging, and more than once when playing alone against the computer the game mucked up during the cut scenes, rendering out herky-jerky replays and sideline shots.
Bottom Line
For years now EA has dropped spring versions of various soccer tournament games-like the World Cup games-which are basically just copies of the previous year's FIFA game with different teams and stadiums. UEFA Euro 2008, however, actually feels like an improvement from FIFA 08, and the Captain Your Country mode is light years better than the Be A Pro mode in FIFA 08. I just wish all the options and modes in UEFA Euro 08 were available in FIFA 08. Maybe by the time FIFA 09 rolls around we'll see everything come together and form the soccer game we've all been waiting for.
Gameplay Graphics Audio Online OVERALL
9 9 8 8 8.5
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