I’m sure if you are a FIFA video game fan you are aware that FIFA 12 has released a downloadable expansion pack that mirrors the UEFA Euro 2012 Tournament. Sounds fantastic on paper and all the pre-game information that was given about the modes, teams, etc. also sounded great. But then you download the game and just like FIFA 12 all your sky-high hopes come crashing back down to earth. I actually have the 2008 UEFA Euro game (sold as a stand alone game) and this one doesn’t really stack up.
I guess I’m being a little dramatic but there are some major flaws that really make you question why you just spent $20 something dollars (1800 Microsoft XBL points) on a game expansion that doesn’t reach the potential that it could have or had 4 years ago.
Let me explain by translating EA Sports comments to fact and fiction of what I believe is actually happening in the game.
“Over 50 European National Teams”
Fact: There are 53 nations in the game that are all actually countries on the planet earth, this is true.
The Fiction: Of the 53 nations, 24 of them are unlicensed meaning the players on those teams are completely made up. 45% of the teams are thus “fake”. So while the Wales National team is a team you can play with don’t expect to play with Gareth Bale or Ryan Giggs. But rather they have Bareth Gale and George Riggs, things along those lines.
Thankfully the “powerhouse” teams are all licensed. So the majority of the teams you would want to play with England, France, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, etc. they all have real players. It’s the nations like Ukraine (the host nation), Wales, Serbia and Russia are not. Sorry no Arshavin.
What is really confusing is that all those players are on regular FIFA 12 via their respective club teams, but apparently they can’t be used on the National team. Get it?
“All Eight Official Stadiums”
Fact: I haven’t even checked but I think there are 8 stadiums.
The Fiction: All these Euro Fields look exactly the same there is nothing unique about them. There is no Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford so it’s not even a talking point, so I’m going to stop.
“Compete as your favourite country in an authentic online tournament mode”
Fact: Yes you can play online picking the country of your choosing.
The Fiction: You cannot play your friends online. The online arena is playing strictly against random people. And we all know that the FIFA online community may be one of the worst in all of gaming. So this is a huge negative. I wonder the % of people who play games against Non-Friends than Friends? I can’t imagine it’s that high. I’d say 90% of my gameplay is against buddies. And this expansion pack doesn’t even allow that. Two words for ya FIFA: Change This.
“The all-new Expedition Mode designed exclusively for UEFA EURO 2012™ enables fans to build and compete with a customized squad against other European nations strategizing their journey through Europe. “
Fact: This is the coolest mode in the game by far and it might be a launching pad for things to come in the FIFA series. As they stated above this is a completely new mode. Technically they had this in the Euro 2008 game but they didn’t have the level of customization that this 2012 game has. What you do is create a player (or upload your Virtual Pro from FIFA 12 if you have one already) and then you create your own nation. Yes this is where you imagination takes over.
You get to select a country name, primary/secondary/alternative colors, design a logo/crest, design home and away kit (with options to pick default threads from Nike, Adidas, Puma, etc.) with what I would consider a high level of detail. Then after your nation is set, your player is the captain and you are teamed with a bunch of scrubs equivalent to a Bronze team.
As you play nations you are assigned a player from the team you beat to improve your squad. The shitty part is that the 1st time you win you get a reserve (basically a Bronze), second time a substitute player (probably a silver guy) and the third time you get a starter and depending on the nation (gold or silver). What would’ve been great is if you got to pick what player you wanted but unfortunately the game makes that decision for you. You do have the ability to decline the player but usually the player is a slight upgrade from what you have.
So it works like that, nothing too amazing except for creating a fictitious country and having an ego of being the star of your country rocking the Captain’s armband. You start in a group and work your way through Europe at a slow and methodical pace. The game lags at many points especially when you are playing terrible teams like Macedonia and Switzerland.
Visit their official webpage at http://www.ea.com/soccer/euro12 for other cool screenshots and videos.
As you can see the graphics are just as good from FIFA 12, the uniforms are updated with most of the 12/13 kits which is a plus especially if you are a Holland fan like I am and can rock Robin Van Persie in the new Nike kit or Ronaldo in the new Portugal one. New boots in the game as well, all little things to make the game a little bit cooler but not enough to justify the lack of online play vs. friends, 24 unlicensed nations and not being able to move through Europe quicker and more effectively by picking specific players.
Below are the Official Uniforms of my Nation: The People’s Republic of Shermany (yes trademarked, don’t even try to jack that one). And yes they are Bret Hart colors, and ode to “The Excellence of Execution” as modeled by my Virtual Pro.