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UEFA Euro 2008

Score: 85%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Canada
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4 (Co-op 2 - 4; Online 2 - 8; Online Co-op 2 - 4)
Genre: Sports (Soccer)/ Sports/ Arcade

Graphics & Sound:

Graphically, I'm a bit surprised by EA Sports' UEFA Euro 2008. It's not that this soccer title looks bad, more that is should look much better on a system that could easily handle it. Since most of the game is played from a great distance (to see more of the field), I'm not talking about the gameplay visuals here. I'm disappointed, instead, with the cutscene-style close-ups and the fact that with every camera switch, the players pop onto an empty field like ghosts appearing out of thin air.

As far as audio goes, Euro 2008 has your typical sports commentating, and more specifically, your typical soccer color commentary comes through in style. A plus with soccer commentary is that it usually doesn't lag behind the action, and this is also the case with UEFA Euro 2008, aside from the occasional quick possession changes that can occur. The in-game sounds are standard as well, and the Menus contain music that doesn't seem too terribly repetitive.


Gameplay:

The game's hook is definitely within its online components and use of the Internet to further the playing experience. Unlike other soccer titles, UEFA Euro 2008 allows the user to play games that affect the entire world's country's ratings. Choose your favorite country to represent, and as your win/loss record changes, it is combined with other users, and standings/records are created for online representation for the Battle of the Nations feature. As long as you're connected to Xbox Live, your performances from offline games will affect the global market.

UEFA Euro 2008 plays exactly like any other soccer game you've played before (especially past EA titles). There are a few new moves to report, including the Skill Moves using the Right Analog Stick and Left Trigger. While these moves are great additions to the soccer-playing interface, they take a bit of time to master. Still, I'm likely one of the worst soccer game players in the history of man, so your performance may differ.

In general, the gameplay of UEFA Euro 2008 is pretty repetitive, but there are a few modes of play for your entertainment. Other than your standard Kick-Off (quick match), Euro 2008 also features its main mode, UEFA Euro 2008, in which you can play through the tournament, including the option to start directly with the finals, or play through an entire tournament from start to finish.

Other modes include Captain Your Country, Story of Qualifying, and Euro Online Knockout Cup. As the name implies, Captain Your Country puts you in the shoes of your favorite player (or created player), and allows for multiplayer opportunities, as you and your favorite team strive for your place in history. While a novel concept, this mode lacks entertainment value (in the single-player version) because soccer is very much a team sport, and controlling a single player just isn't all that easy when victory may rely on a single goal.

Story of Qualifying isn't a new feature for sports games by any means, but it can be a great way to challenge you with different scenarios. Whether you need to play as Spain and hold off your rival from getting that tying score or you need to mount the most outstanding comeback in history and overcome a 9 to 1 deficit, there is a challenge for everyone; some being extremely difficult. The Euro Online Knockout Cup is set online in a persistent world setting. Unlike other sports titles, you do not have to remain online and play back-to-back games to stay in this tournament. You can actually come and go as you please, and as long as there is a competitor online that is at the same level as you in the tournament tree, you'll have a match waiting for you. However, as you continue up the ladder, it is noticeably slower finding opponents, if you do at all.


Difficulty:

Soccer games in general are not that easy for this reviewer and UEFA Euro 2008 is no exception. The difficulty that I have is generally with scoring. Since games are often determined by only a goal or two, scoring when you're given your opportunities is essential, and learning to defend maybe even greater. There are new controls for you to master as well, which can certainly help in your offensive efforts. Playing against the computer-controlled teams can get somewhat repetitive as well, while playing against your buddies will offer more entertainment value. Once you learn how to score, you'll also enjoy the game that much more. The one thing that still bothers me about this (and other) soccer titles is the automatic switching that occurs while on defense. While you can still manually switch (to an extent), it is highly annoying and it will be a great day in gaming history when the default controls don't auto-switch. I've been begging for years... is anyone listening?

Game Mechanics:

Controlling the players on the field is quite easy at its base and moderate as you learn the Skill Moves and other advanced controls. While these basic controls can suit anyone, scoring is still a very difficult thing for that not-so-soccer-savvy gamer (like me). Defense hasn't ever been given the same quality of controls as offense in soccer games, and unfortunately, UEFA Euro 2008 is no different.

Soccer fans will undoubtedly fall in love with UEFA Euro 2008 for its gameplay and online components, but it certainly could stand to have more game modes and features. The truth is that most of the game modes are just more of the same, and it's been that way for a very long time for fútbol titles. As it is, UEFA Euro 2008 would be a great game to pick up for fans that don't currently have a soccer title, but may not be worth it if it will be your second or third game of the genre.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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