Instead of a separate release, this year we get our international soccer fix—Euro 2012—through DLC for a cut-price twenty dollars. Actually, maybe not so cut-price, because after spending some time with it you may feel that perhaps at $20, Euro 2012 still isn’t a steal.
In fact, it probably is just about right, given that the game turns out to be a rushed cosmetic job on top of a stellar FIFA 12 game.
EA claims that nothing has been changed from the great FIFA 12 engine. Anecdotally speaking, it did seem that some of the wilder results of the Impact Engine have been tamed, and certain animations smoothed out, but perhaps that’s more of a placebo effect than anything else.
Either way, gameplay is 99.5 percent identical to FIFA 12. So the good news is that everything you liked about FIFA 12 is still in there—the measured pace, precision dribbling, the customization—but the bad news is that Euro 2012 is then really just a twenty dollar skin and roster update.
However, it’s not even that good of a skin and roster update. If the main goal of Euro 2012 is to make the gamer feel like they’re actually there in Poland and Ukraine with their favorite teams, the game just barely reaches that goal.
The good part first: the branded menus are sleek and all the offiial venues are in the game. But here's the bad part: in what may be a delicious bit of Schadenfreude for PES fans, it turns out that not all the teams in Euro 2012 are licensed—24 out of the 53 aren’t, apparently.
That’s right, for some nations, like Wales and Ukraine, not only do they get the rinky-dink generic kit treatment, but they also contain fake players like a certain A. Rumsey -- and it's not even editable.
For audio, Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend return to add some new lines. They help, if only for a little while, in refreshing things, especially if you’ve been playing FIFA 12 all this time. However, a few of the lines sounded like they were recorded in a telephone booth, and it’s especially jarring when you hear one of them right after a perfectly recorded one. To be fair, it's only a select few, but For EA, who are usually as slick as can be with their presentation elements, this is a really surprising letdown.
Even if you haven’t expected much, chances are you may still find Euro 2012’s long term appeal underwhelming. First of all, there is a fairly limited selection of players to choose from to keep your game fresh should you choose to replay the tournament with the same team. So if you are, say, a Manchester United fan and want to sub out Gareth Barry or James Milner for the likes of Scholes and Carrick, tough luck, as they are not in.
Once in a while, however, you do receive a notification that the game is downloading new squads, so there’s hope that even if there’s not much to choose from, at least they will have the official squads when the nations announce them.
Usually in games like these there is also the inclusion of qualification stages, where you can take a nation that didn’t qualify in a real life, and try to get them in by playing through the qualifying stages. Unfortunately the mode is MIA in Euro 2012. You can still substitute an unqualified team straight into the tournament itself, but of course, that’s nowhere near the same thing.
A new mode did make it into Euro 2012, Expedition Mode, replacing the popular Captain Your Country. Expedition Mode is similar to the World Tour mode found in FIFA Street, where your squad of reserves plays a nation, defeats them, and gets the opportunity to choose a player from their squad until you’ve created a fantasy team of European superstars … and that’s pretty much it. It’s a mode that gets tedious easily, as it doesn’t lead up to anything substantial except the thought of playing with a whole team of 80+ players.
The question ultimately becomes whether it’s worth it shelling out $20 for what is, save for the Expedition mode (which doesn’t introduce anything new anyway) a mere cosmetic job. It all depends on how much “immersion” you need. The stadiums, the tourney branding, the kits — well, some of them —and the trophy lifting are nice touches to make you feel as if you’re playing in the tournament. If you really crave that aspect of a video game, go ahead and purchase it. For $20, it probably won’t be the worst purchase you will make this month. Besides, it still plays like FIFA 12, and that can't be a bad thing. Otherwise, you can probably stay away from Euro 2012, stick with FIFA, and not feel like you’ve missed much.
All in all, it's an OK, cosmetic update for FIFA 12.
Recommendation: Buy if you are a Euro fan, avoid otherwise