UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 - PS2 - Preview
Six months can’t go by without a new soccer game from EA. It seems unorthodox – excluding the college sports games, football, baseball, and basketball receive only one new addition a year. Are two soccer games really needed when the alternative plays very close to the FIFA franchise?
Those of you who are looking for the next evolutionary step may not need to proceed. But if you’re one of those die-hard soccer nuts who can’t wait to experience the latest stat changes, and long for virtual moments that re-create some of the biggest moments in history, UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 has the goods to get you giddy.
The latest UEFA comes with the same gameplay found in FIFA 07 and EA’s soccer offshoots. You’ll also have access to a feature called Ultimate Challenge. This mode contains many legendary battles, including F.C. Porto Vs. Anderlecht, West Ham Vs. Tottenham, and Lillie Vs. Parma. None of those ring a bell? Then as far as stats and titles are concerned, you aren’t the one this mode was made for. But you can still enjoy the challenge that these competitions bring to the game.
Season modes are cool, but they don’t exactly shout, “Play me!” Which is why UEFA 06-07 goes for tournament play, and a new manager mode called The Treble. Tournaments are laid out as expected: pick your teams and set up the game as you please, then engage in some ball-kicking combat. The Treble is a mode of missions and decisions. Tough adversaries stand in your way, with the goal sometimes feeling a mile away.
The difficulty setting can be adjusted to your liking, but if you start the game as is, you’ll likely notice that there has been a slight increase in the challenge. AI players are faster and more determined. At the same time, the goalkeeper is fiercer and plays a more commanding role in each shot. As you struggle to push the ball toward the opposing net, opponents will not hesitate to run in front and snatch the ball – even if it means an accidental penalty. Or was it accidental? Opponents seem more eager to dish out the pain than ever before. This has led to a little more intensity thus far, and will hopefully lead to a better and more progressive experience in the final version.
A new “quick controls” system is being added, but I’ve yet to notice a huge difference. The game has always been pretty fast. Player movement is still quick, and the control layout matches the new and classic analog and digital settings of the previous games.
There could still be more to come – though the game is set for release in less than three weeks, this preview build is not the final version. Free kicks, throw-ins, and goal kicks are promised to be faster than before. Will there be a significant difference, or have previous iterations gotten so fast that an increase in speed is hard to notice?
Graphically, UEFA 06-07 is another one of those sports games that shows no advancement. Player heads are unusually large, almost as if a Big Head cheat code had been applied (it hadn’t, and I doubt such a feature will be offered in this game). Other than that the game looks good. It’s dated – there aren’t any new, awe-inspiring effects to discover. But the athletes are well rendered, their animations are fairly impressive, and their cheer runs and angry faces – which come after scoring or getting scored on – are worth a look for those who haven’t seen them before.
Kicking and screaming into stores March 20th, UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 doesn’t push any boundaries, but should have what it takes to meet the needs of its target audience. Anyone who can’t live without every soccer iteration will be glad to know they can do it without breaking the bank – the PS2 version of UEFA 06-07 will retail for just $29.99.