UEFA Euro 2008 is the latest iteration of EA’s venerable Fifa football game series.
Following the England football team's abject failure to qualify for this summer's European Championships, long months of boredom beckon for the nation's sports-lovers. As this reviewer sees it, we have three options while the tournament is on: support another country; ignore the world of football entirely; or sit indoors with the curtains closed and wallow in a video-game fantasy in which England win the thing.
EA, we'd imagine, is in favour of the last of these. Mainly because it's just launched UEFA Euro 2008 - the latest iteration of its venerable Fifa series and, some might say, a little bit of a cash-in - to coincide with the real-life tournament. And you can qualify, compete and triumph with England if you like. Phew.
Like most of the Fifa games, UEFA Euro 2008 is good for licensing – the players have the right names, and tend to look like the people they're supposed to represent.
And there are some interesting features that suggest UEFA Euro 2008 is more than the usual bi-annual rebadging exercise.
The Captain Your Country mode, for instance, allows you to pick a single player to lead your team, then control them for the entirety of a match. You can modify this player to look like you, change the name on their shirt and compete with three other potentially selfish star players to keep the armband and the limelight – an original and amusingly cynical concept.
The mechanics of UEFA Euro 2008 are pretty much what you'd expect from a Fifa football game – it looks good and plays fairly well, although it still feels slightly less fluent than the most recent Pro Evo titles. We'd say soccer games in general are tending towards the overcomplicated, and UEFA Euro 2008’s array of tricks takes some mastering, but some of the fripperies are undeniably fun – user-controlled goal celebrations, for one.
Occasionally the artificial intelligence isn't up to scratch, with your team's defenders running away from rampaging strikers and similar frustrations, but with UEFA Euro 2008 the gaming experience is a positive one on the whole.
UEFA Euro 2008 costs £29 inc VAT as a download from EA, the boxed version costs £39 in the shops.
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