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Updated: May 16, 2012 17:32 IST

Conquering Europe

Videep Vijay Kumar
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Euro 2012
Euro 2012

FIFA 12 gets its first downloadable add-on in Euro 2012

With the European club football season drawing to a close, interest will invariably shift to the upcoming European championships in June. Poland and Ukraine serve as hosts this time around, with Europe's sixteen best international squads all set to battle it out for supremacy over the course of three weeks starting June 8. For impatient souls, however, Electronic Arts has a nifty little piece of downloadable content which piles on to your existing copy of FIFA 12. EA Sports' UEFA Euro 2012 isn't a full price title, and it's incredible that the DLC route wasn't taken earlier.

Euro 2012 is an entirely optional, non-essential add-on for FIFA 12 that's available for less than half the cost of a full-priced game (1800 Microsoft Points or INR 999 on the Playstation Store). Normally, event-specific releases sported additional features and tweaks to gameplay that weren't necessarily well-received, while certain gameplay additions made their way to the next annual release of FIFA (the penalty system from World Cup 2010, for example). Fortunately, Euro 2012 escapes the ‘FIFA 12.5' labelling by being the same game as FIFA 12, with a few cosmetic additions. The lack of gameplay tweaks or added features is a good thing, so if you're a club football-only sort of person, you can give it a miss entirely. On the other hand, none of this means that the game lacks new features.

For starters, you can play through the entire UEFA Euro 2012 competition from the group stage controlling any one of the sixteen different sides that have qualified for the tournament, in the real-world stadiums of Poland and Ukraine. And like EA's previous releases, the game captures the atmosphere of an international sporting event with contextual commentary and a great roster of international footballers. Surprisingly, however, some of the squads don't seem to be licensed (24 of them, to be precise, including hosts Ukraine), while the team kits are generic. It doesn't affect the main tournament mode as such since the squads in that mode are largely authentic, but it has more of a weird impact on the “expedition” game mode. In Euro 2012's “Expedition”, you pick one star player to captain your team of nobodies (you can customise the team kit and crest as well) comprised entirely of reserve players from Europe's lesser sides. You start off playing other lesser teams. Beat them thrice and you're rewarded with a random reserve player, substitute or first team player for each victory. You can then build ‘roads' to other surrounding nations but lose a game and you lose a road. Once you've got a few wins under your belt, you'll be able to add Europe's best players to your squad. It's an interesting idea and the expedition mode is unquestionably fun, but the lack of squad licensing is a big downer.

Other new additions include a broadcast camera angle which is closer to the pitch, and as a result, to the intense ground level action, and a slick new interface which includes great looking screens for everything from team management to game settings. It has been claimed that the gameplay is identical to FIFA 12, and while it is true to a large extent, the pace of the game feels a little slower (due to different pitch conditions and ball physics, perhaps?). However, Euro 2012 doesn't feature some of the game modes that were quite popular with its hardcore fan base. First, it lacks a qualification mode of any kind, and you cannot select players for your 23-man squad either, being forced to make do with what you're given (a roster update will be forthcoming, no doubt). Second, the popular ‘captain your country' is conspicuously absent as well. And it's this lack of content that makes Euro 2012 difficult to recommend. The ‘expedition' mode is interesting, but isn't even a tenth of a per cent as interesting as FIFA's own ‘career' mode, and the ‘official' UEFA license isn't worth much without fully licensed teams. The fact that it's a moderately priced DLC is something it has going in its favour, but only the most loyal of FIFA wins will see value in it.

Keywords: video games

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