Euro 2012: A more than decent addition

First things first - Stewart Downing might be a Liverpool player, but how on earth did he make the England squad?

 

Euro 2012

From: EA Sports

For: Xbox 360, PS3, PC (download only)

 

Right, that's out of the way. On to a quick run-down of the video game to accompany the coming European football championship to be co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

I say "game", but really we should refer to Euro 2012 as downloadable content. For the first time, I think, Electronic Arts has chosen to use DLC to mark a major tournament rather than a stand-alone game.

It makes sense, and not just because gaming in general is heading down the DLC path. With Fifa 12 still going strong, Fifa Street only a couple of months old, and Fifa 13 four to five months away, there is scarcely room in the market for another Fifa title.

The only issue with DLC is its cost, and there have been some grumblings that $35-$45 is on the high side for an added extra to a football game.

Add in some teething issues - in particular, a crashing problem with the Xbox 360 version - plus legitimate grumbles that just over half of the teams in the game are actually licensed, and Euro 2012 made a bit of a poor start.

But overall, it's a more than decent addition to the Fifa series.

Revamped graphic touches look nice, and you can take any of the 53 teams to European glory, as well as play challenges that are updated every other day.

But the best part of the game, a bit that really appeals to trainspottery football fans, is a mode called Expedition.

You create a team and begin a journey across Europe, starting in smaller nations and unlocking "roads" to other nations with victories against national sides.

Every time you beat a nation, you are awarded one of its players. One victory earns a reserve player, two victories a substitute, and three victories a starting player.

So you build your dream team and travel around the continent unlocking more players and bits of a mosaic that can only be completed by beating every team three times.

Sounds like a bit of a grind but it's a fun new feature.