UEFA Euro 2012 is nothing more than a DLC pack for FIFA 12, and offers absolutely zero gameplay improvements. Now that might sound damning, but if you think about it instead of jumping up and down in anger, it's not a horrendous crime – FIFA 12 is a more than competent footie sim after all, but it's difficult not to feel a pang of disappointment. World Cup 2010 was such a joyous package – a beautifully presented combination of South African festivities and clever gameplay tweaks that, at the time, was the best football game around.
This feels much less emphatic, although obviously it's a hell of a lot cheaper. While the gameplay does remain untouched, this is still a lovingly produced effort, bringing all the stadia, teams and kits from Euro 2012, brand-new themed menus and commentary, a slick official tournament mode and the utterly bizarre but strangely compelling newcomer – Expedition.
It's a real oddball, this one. Essentially it's a fantasy team builder, but once you've been assigned your random collection of no-hopers and selected a home nation, you go to war with neighbouring countries in Europe. Beat them, and you can take one of their players. Keep winning, and you'll open up 'roads' to distant nations, challenging countries from further afield until you conquer the continent.
Expedition is the workings of madmen, surely. It's as if Alexander the Great suddenly got really into Panini stickers. That's not to say it's bad, though. Far from it – what a great way to justify playing against the CPU. It beats manager mode in FIFA 12 hands down, and it's utterly daft throughout. Building your international army is surprisingly compelling stuff.
Of course, with this actually being FIFA 12 in a new coat of paint, some of that game's hangovers remain. There are still amusing physics issues which I see as far more of a bonus than a problem, but the niggles with tactical defending are still frustrating. While the ambition and concept is hard to fault, FIFA 12's tactical defending doesn't take into account the fact that you control eleven men in a football game, not just one. It's less of a bugbear against human opposition, but the CPU can dance around your defence like Stavros Flatley circumnavigating a kebab shop queue, and it's bloody annoying.
Nevertheless, FIFA 12 is still the best football game around; beautifully animated (when the players aren't humping each other), incredibly detailed and capable of making you jump out of your chair like an idiot from a bad sofa advert. UEFA Euro 2012 is a thoroughly decent piece of DLC, and even if it does make me yearn for a feature-shifting boxed version, this is probably the better solution for tie-in games in the long run. Now, if only England could get themselves a manager...
Virgin Media verdict:
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