UEFA Euro 2008 impressions

Posted May 25th, 2008 at 3:17 pm

My copy of UEFA Euro 2008 arrived yesterday so I wanted to get up some initial impressions of the game. These quick thoughts come from the perspective of someone who isn’t much of a soccer fan (outside of watching during the World Cup) and a casual player of the games. In general soccer games don’t hold my interest because I just don’t have the patience to play them. I get frustrated when falling behind or when I don’t get rewarded after working towards a good shot but coming away with nothing. I realize that is part of the sport, it just doesn’t translate well to what I tend to enjoy.

After playing through a few standard games, including one online, and getting time in with Be A Pro mode I can say I am having more fun with it than I expected. I played for longer than I had planned actually. I turned down the difficulty just so I could compete offline but I actually came out with a 2-1 victory online in a very well played ranked match.

I think part of what appeals to me is that the game plays a little faster than I remember FIFA 08 or the previous World Cup game. Players get up and down quicker and the action is pretty constant. The atmosphere is great as well which has always been a big thing for me.

Gameplay wise I’m no expert on soccer games so I can’t really speak to that. The AI seems to be questionable at times, great players don’t seem differentiated that much from mediocre ones, and I’ve read of some other issues that the hardcore may be bothered by. As more of a novice though it seemed to be easier to pick up and play and do relatively well in than some of the previous soccer games.

The main thing that interests me is Be A Pro mode. The aspects I mentioned earlier that irritate me about playing soccer games aren’t there when controlling a single player and having specific goals. It seems to be really well implemented and I like the visual indicators so I have an idea of where I should be at depending on where the ball is and the position I’m playing. I was just disappointed that there is no Be A Pro mode online.

I’m looking forward to spending time with the Captain Your Country mode which is essentially Be A Pro but with the competition of developing your created player all the while competing against teammates to win the captaincy. This should offer a lot of depth compared to FIFA 08 where it was just a single game you could play in Be A Pro.

The dynamic weather effects are nicely done, rain will make the surface wet and muddy which slows down the action and affects the passes, and you’ll see splashes when attempting a tackle. They also added custom celebrations which are activated with different button combinations after scoring a goal.

One of my favorite things has to do with the uploading of video clips, as was the case with NCAA Football and coming up in Madden. The EA Football World website is a sign of what will come with the re-launch of EA Sports World and while it can be improved (ability to embed videos, password reminder) it is relatively easy to use. You can check out my page with some videos here. I was disappointed to find out that you can’t save any replays from online games. There were a couple really great goals in the one I played that I had hoped I would be able to upload.

The game online was essentially lag free, and there are online leagues included. As mentioned before though the lack of Be A Pro and saving of replays makes the online experience a mixed bag from my perspective.

So while I can’t really go into the game extensively it has been surprisingly enjoyable thus far. I don’t know how people will consider it given that FIFA 09 will be out in October though.