Recently, EA announced that it was bucking the years-old trend of releasing disc-based tournament games with this year's European Championship. For those who don't follow sports games as much, it means that instead of a traditional World Cup tie-in title, or one themed after the Euros, the publisher will drop this year's tournament tie-in as a big download pack to add onto FIFA 12. We recently got hands-on with it, and we've got some video to show off how it looks in action:
We'll be posting more videos from the near-final build we received from EA. On surface level, it feels like the same sorts of incremental updates you saw between FIFA 10 and 2010 FIFA World Cup. In the sense that the last pre-tournament game introduced elements such as the penalty kick stutter step, this expansion feels more physical and more animated than FIFA 12. The presentation looks quite polished compared to the already-stout FIFA 12, with most of the visual splendor complete --it appears that some of the official shoes and jerseys aren't in the build we received, such as the Nike-sponsored national teams-- such as the official stadia in Poland and the Ukraine for the tournament, complete with fanfare.
There's a tournament mode, as you'd expect, and you can play in online tournaments. But arguably the biggest draw (and weirdest, presentation-wise), is the new Expedition mode, in which you'll either import your FIFA 12 Virtual Pro or pick a European player, and build your own European national team (like our tiny nation of Nuovo Italia, captained by Andrea Pirlo) to compete against real-world countries, then steal their best players after repeated victories. The interface looks more like a PC strategy game than a sports title, but that's part of the fun. We're looking forward to seeing if our New Italy will be able to soundly trounce the real-world Azzurri after getting our characters up to speed.
While the information was locked out for now, look for the real-world challenges seen both in past tournament games and now in the EA Sports Football Club challenges from FIFA 12, which means plenty of chances to relive whatever will happen as Holland and Germany or Spain and Italy butt heads in the early stages of the tournament.
It feels like a rather sound add-on, though the addition of some challenges involving the qualification process --seen in other tournament games--would have made a nice preamble to the early June kick-off.
Once we've had a chance to test it out in a real-world environment, we'll be delivering a verdict on it, but so far, it feels like a rather sound expansion. Stay tuned for our update when the DLC launches on April 24!