UK REVIEW--UEFA Euro 2012 marks the first time EA has released a FIFA tournament tie-in as downloadable content. Finally, there's no need to get gouged on another full-priced boxed product just so you can see England actually win something for once. It's just as well, too, since Euro 2012's content is rather thin on the ground. The usual array of licensed stadiums, kits, and new commentary certainly capture the atmosphere of the tournament, but there's little else to do outside of chasing silverware or playing the mind-numbingly dull Expedition mode.
The centrepiece of Euro 2012 is, of course, the tournament itself. You pick one of the officially licensed teams, get drawn into a group, and then jump straight into a game. All the setup options in FIFA 12 are present, so you can manage your lineup, formation, and tactics with ease before each match. An assortment of nicely detailed new stadiums decked out in UEFA purple along with excellent new commentary from FIFA stalwarts Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend also lend an atmospheric touch to the action.
The feel of that action remains identical, so there are no new tweaks to get to grips with. The great strategic play of the tactical defending system, the smooth animation from the physics-powered Player Impact Engine, and the subtleties of precision dribbling from FIFA 12 keep each match fast-paced and full of drama--it's a satisfying and fun game to play. It's disappointing, then, that after making your way through to the finals and taking your chosen team to glory that the trophy celebrations are somewhat anticlimactic. Sure, there are fireworks and a bit of trophy kissing, but it's all rather brief. You can't help but feel that after all your hard work, you and your team deserve a little bit more before being thrown back to the main menu.
Aside from the main tournament, Euro 2012 features a brand-new mode called Expedition: a cross between football, Risk, and a card collecting game, if each of those things suddenly became incredibly boring and unrewarding. You start off by picking a star player from a country of your choice, with the rest of your squad made up of random reserve players. That squad then sets off on a journey across Europe, hoping to beat numerous home nations along the way. But you can't just challenge anybody you like. To challenge teams, you must build roads, which are awarded only after beating your first team.
Also awarded to you is a player from the opposing team, whom you can use to replace one of your own players or reject entirely. Beat that team again, and you're awarded a player ranked slightly higher. Beat them yet again, and you're awarded a star player. It's a repetitive way to build up your squad--and it's also the only way, given that your players don't improve over time. Your final reward for beating a team is a piece of mosaic. Beat all 53 nations three times each and, joy of joys, you have a completed picture. It's hardly the best incentive for playing through so many matches, and it doesn't take long before your brain has turned to mush due to the banality of it all.
More compelling are the online modes, which come in the form of challenges and an online tournament. Challenges work just as they do in FIFA 12, where different match types and rivalries are fed through to a central hub for you to play through, albeit with a Euro twist. The hub is sparsely populated at the moment, but expect a lot more content to filter through once the tournament gets started in the real world. There's also standard online play, which lets you take the Euro tournament online or play friendly exhibition matches. They add little to the standard online modes of FIFA 12, but they are enjoyable nonetheless.
And really, that's all the Euro 2012 DLC is: a fun, well-presented FIFA skin that adds little to the core experience. If this were a full-priced retail release, there'd be hell to pay for EA, but as it stands, this isn't a bad way to spend your cash (1800 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live or £15.99 on PlayStation Network), particularly if you're eager to take your team to glory in Europe. Just, for the love of God, don't try to do so in Expedition mode.