|System: X360, PS3, PC, PS2, PSP|
|Dev: EA Canada|
|Pub: Electronic Arts|
|Release: May 19, 2008|
|Players: 1-4 and 2-4 Co-Op; 2-8 Online and 2-4 Online Co-Op|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone|
Finally, binding the entire experience together is what's known as Battle of the Nations. This is less of a mode of play and more of a companion feature. It adds a significant sense of accomplishment by having players select their favorite team, binding that team's country to your profile, and contributing all the points you accrue while playing the various modes into one giant pool. Every day these points are tallied, and the players and nations in the top positions are awarded with points that will be used toward crowning the ultimate champions. This overall competition will be decided on June 30, 2008.
As I stated previously, gameplay is almost identical to a FIFA you may already own. Don't expect much innovation there. However, details such as European winter weather, home and home series tactics, manager antics, and the inclusion of the eight official stadiums are nice additions. Because qualifying spans several months and even seasons, you'll frequently be faced with blowing rain, sopping turf, skipping balls, and a torn up pitch. This is one of those subtle, EURO-centric flavors that make this game special. They don't stop there, however.
Bad teams, i.e. Lichtenstein, Andorra, San Marino, etc. will almost always play for a tie. As such, it is not uncommon to see these teams pack their own defensive third with ten players behind the ball and leave a lone target man to break on the counter. This makes it very difficult to score on the higher difficulties. If you're playing through a campaign, I suggest playing much longer halves against the little sisters, or you're liable to leave the match with a poor result.
Finally, to spice things up just a little bit more, the managers and stadiums are authentically rendered. The expressions and mannerisms of the coaches are uncanny! I especially liked the bulldog-like scowl of Spain's manager, Luis Aragones. The way he paced up and down the touchline while waving his hands in disgust at a terrible call was quite engaging.
As you can imagine, the graphics were very good. The player likenesses are fantastic and the overall presentation is wonderful. The music selection definitely has a grating, European quality to it, and the commentary is par for the EA SPORTS course.
When all is said and done, UEFA EURO 2008 is an excellent soccer title that is definitely worth the $50 price tag for true fans of the sport. If you are looking for a more general soccer title, I would suggest picking up a used copy of FIFA 08 or waiting for 09 to make an appearance. However, if money is not an object, go ahead and pick up EURO 2008 and follow the tournament in style!
CCC Editor / News Director