|System: X360, PS3, PC, PS2, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Canada||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 19, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4 and 2-4 Co-Op; 2-8 Online and 2-4 Online Co-Op||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
Has it already been four years? It seems like it was just last Summer when the Greeks shocked the Portuguese (in Portugal) and became the footballing champions of Europe. I for one will be glued to my set for the majority of the high profile fixtures, but I suppose the majority of Yanks will let this glorious tournament go by the wayside. So too shall it be with EA CANADA'S wonderful soccer title, UEFA EURO 2008. This special edition, mid-year treatment of the world's game, only mildly improves upon FIFA 08, but it provides several unique modes of play that make it the perfect companion to this cycle's European Cup.
If you've played the last couple of FIFA entries, then you already know exactly what to expect from EURO 2008. Gameplay is almost identical, and only the flavor of the title is different. Instead of having to cover nearly every league, team, national selection, and player, the developers were able to streamline the experience and concentrate on the subtle nuances of the European game. I'm sure most fans prefer the all-encompassing FIFA titles, but Europeans, expatriates, and diehard soccer aficionados throughout the world will gush over the attention to detail and unique flair.
Before I popped the title into the console, I couldn't believe this game was actually released in the U.S. It seemed like such a waste. "Are Americans really going to buy a 'tweener' title about European football? Heck, England's not even competing this year (traditionally Americans' favorite European side)." But after having a go with all of the interesting modes and truly getting a feel for the game, I think word of mouth will be strong enough to make it a success.
There are four unique modes of play and one interesting feature binding it all together that set EURO 2008 apart from its brothers. Of course, there is UEFA EURO 2008 mode, which lets you play just the finals, the entire tournament including qualification, or even all of the friendly matches leading up to qualification. If you want Be A Pro (controlling the action via just one player), you can do so in the Captain Your Country mode. This is a stellar choice, as it allows you (and up to three other friends) to create a player and advance him from a lowly B-International to your team's captain and star player. I can't say enough about this mode. I really enjoyed garnering points on my own and then dumping them into sweet skills like dribbling, tackling, strength, and mental state. Moreover, if you play with your friends, you will be teammates but at the same time competitors. That's because each of you will be vying for the captaincy! It makes for some good times.
If you don't have much time, then Story of Qualifying is your best bet. This mode has players relive all of the angst-filled moments that have lead up to the championship. That means you'll be able to hop into recreations of scenarios where the given team has their back against the wall. The amount of time you have to comeback from a deficit or to stave off the onslaught varies according to what happened in real life. Additionally, this mode is accompanied by a few paragraphs that set the stage and succinctly describe what actually went down.
If you prefer to battle it out online, then EURO Online Knockout Cup will do nicely. Heading online to play in the 16-team Knockout Cup will allow you to select a country and try to get them to the final. If you need to quit for whatever reason, you can hop out at anytime. That's because the game will save your progress in the Cup and then let you join with a new set of players that are at your same stage. Pretty cool!