Now that the Premier League season has drawn to a close with one of the most astonishingly entertaining and stunning finishes in recent memory, the focus of the soccer world is turning to European Championships. Although Manchester City fans will undoubtedly be celebrating their triumph far into the summer, and perhaps longer than that, a much bigger stage is being set.
FIFA 12 has provided a go-to option for soccer (or football, if you’d like) fans for quite a few years now. However, thanks to a recent scare regarding account hacking, some folks haven’t been fond of popping that disc into their tray with online play in mind. Regardless, FIFA 12 offers soccer fans one of the most complete and polished digital experiences made available in quite a while, providing a great off-season fix.
However, the summer inevitably drags on and fan bases become starved for any morsel of information they can get their hands on. They wait and wait until the start of the next season nears, bringing with it yet another version of FIFA, which will inevitably grace their consoles. In the meantime, most gamers take to Xbox LIVE or PSN, in an attempt to get their fix. Now, even if you’re afraid to take your game online, Electronic Arts has taken its DLC offerings to the next level with the EA Sports UEFA Euro 2012 expansion.
The expansion is priced quite expensively at 1800 Microsoft Points, and requires the main game. For newcomers to the series who want to pick up the game for this expansion, the entry price of eighty dollars may prove to be a bit steep. Though, for players who already own the main game, the twenty dollars they will drop on this expansion will provide them with a plethora of new content that should keep them coming back for more right up until next season begins.
The UEFA Euro 2012 expansion includes real-life teams from the popular tournament and, of course, their players. It also includes a mode that is new to the FIFA stage: Expedition. Expedition is an interesting new mode that should give both new and returning players something to play around with. Of course, the main workings of the game remain intact without any changes, so any quarrels you had with the title will still be there after you buy the expansion, and anything you liked about the core game has remained entirely unchanged. If you enjoyed playing online, then you’ll be glad to hear that it also allows you to take the tournament online, where fellow users will act as challenging opponents.
For the new mode, Expedition, you start out with a group of players that are sub-par at best and far from anything special. With your team of average Joes, you travel around Europe, challenging other nations. If you win, you can choose one of that team’s reserves to take with you during your travels. If you can defeat the same team twice, you’re allowed to pick one of their subs to take with you on your journey. Then, if you can defeat them for a third (consecutive) time, you get to claim one of their first-team starters as your own. As you beat teams, roads are built, allowing you to challenge other countries for a chance to snag their players on your quest for domination.
This mode proves to be quite addictive, as it fuses everything you love about the Football Ultimate Team modes with the frantic challenge of trying to snag the best players from others teams. This is all presented as you battle your way to a spot in the elite class of European soccer. Although this mode isn’t likely to be what anyone buys the UEFA expansion for, it provides something that you can sink quite a bit of time into without getting bored, which should help starved fans make it through the aforementioned long summer.
So, in the end, how does the UEFA Euro 2012 expansion hold up?
As previously mentioned, the core workings of the game are not changed at all, so whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on the eyes of the person making the purchase. Any fixes you hoped might be added with this expansion are absent, but any changes that might have thrown long-time players for a loop are also mercifully absent. To me, the fact that the core mechanics of FIFA 12 remain unchanged is certainly a good thing, as the franchise has proven that it provides the most addictive and in-depth soccer simulation on today’s market.
The addition of new teams is nothing special, and likely isn’t anything that took EA too long to piece together. Then again, there isn’t much else they could have done with this part of the expansion. All 53 of the rosters are faithfully recreated, save for the unlicensed teams (whose rosters appear to be made-up), and there aren’t any readily-apparent issues with the teams or this part of the expansion.
The Expedition mode is what ties all of it together, however. The new mode gives you your money’s worth, and then some. You’ll spend countless hours in this game mode, and will likely find yourself coming back for more even after that. This is undoubtedly one of the most promising additions to the FIFA franchise in quite a while. However, we’re left to wonder if this is something that EA plans on building upon for FIFA 13, or if it’s just something that they added to pad this expansion and justify its hefty price tag. Here’s hoping for the former one to be true.
All in all, you’ll likely get what you bought this expansion for if you’re willing to drop the 1600 points — all of the teams present in the UEFA tournament this year. However, the meat of this expansion lies within its Expedition mode, and it’s a mode that’s going to keep you busy for quite a while. Until then, Manchester City fans, enjoy your title. Everyone else? Enjoy this expansion, as it’s one of the better pieces of DLC released for any sports title in recent memory.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the expansion, which was provided to us for review purposes.