UEFA Euro 2008 – PS3 – Review

Soccer, or
football, is often referred to as the world’s game. It has more fans than any
other sport and even cultural groups owe their existence to the game. The
problem with the majority of soccer video games is that the world’s game felt
awfully like a solo experience and lacked the grand feeling and fervor of the

UEFA Euro 2008
is aiming to change that with a competitive online mode that is the cornerstone
of the PS3 title’s release. Here’s how it all works – you select a country to
play as, either in solo experiences or online, and then (if in solo) select a
difficulty setting. Play the match and should you win, points are awarded to the
national team you are representing … points that go on the leaderboard … points
that go for your country and show how rabid – err, enthusiastic – its fan base
is and which team is the tops in video-game play.

Now before you
start shaking your head about it being another soccer title from EA Sports,
let’s get down to what UEFA is – it’s sort of like FIFA but with fewer team. In
fact, these are the international teams that are eligible for and vying to win
the European Championship. (For all those in North America who may not know, the
European Championship is a highly prestigious title.)


The disk that
GameZone was sent for the review was debug machine code and not the retail
version, so some of the descriptions used in this review might be slightly off
from the retail code. 

UEFA does, in
fact, have fewer teams, but the gameplay feels crisper from the last next-gen
iteration of FIFA. And the details are pretty good. The rules feel tighter and
even though some of the offsides called are enough to have one screaming at the
cyber refs (well, Ok, I was the one screaming emphatically that the rule states
the player is NOT offsides if there is a defender between him and goal at the
time the ball is kicked). But taken in the whole, the officiating is more hit
than miss in this game, and that bodes well.

The football
itself is a bit tighter than past EA Sports iterations and weather can actually
play a factor in the matches. And the game has the general array of single and
multiplayer modes; nothing here was unique or unexpected. Multiplayer, in
addition to the points’ standings race, has online tourney capabilities, not
just the additional players plugging into the PS3 system.


While being
touted as new this year, the Captain Your Country feature is actually an
expansion of something old – FIFA’s Be A Pro. In the tourney setting, though,
you will feel the weight competition and the goal is to elevate your play to the
point where you are named captain of the team. It is a nice touch, with effort
being rewarded.

The game’s
control scheme is easy to pick up and play, for those who have had experience
with EA’s soccer games before. No manual came with the game, but even just
plopping in the disk and going provided no real problem. Playing the game smart
includes evaluating your opponents, probing attacks and strategic retreats with
the ball until you find the gaps and exploit them. The speed of the game allows
for great through-balls and runs at the goal mouth that can be rather exciting.
Great goalie AI also does much to add an element of challenge as well as thrill
the gameplayer.

The graphics
are solid (this is pretty much the same game as the last FIFA title) and the
musical tracks, as well as the commentary, are handled well.

While the game
structure feels a tad more intimate without the preponderance of club teams, the
game truly has an international flavor with the online mode sporting national
pride in a wonderful way. FIFA was a solid title, but in many ways, UEFA feels a
bit stronger.

Review Scoring Details

for UEFA Euro 2008

Gameplay: 8.6
It feels like
elements of the game have been tightened up, though the game still retains that
jump-in-and-play feel. You don’t have to study the manual to enjoy this game.  

Graphics: 8.4
This is basically
the same graphics engine used for the last FIFA title. Some nice new animations
have been dropped in, but generally speaking, it is a good visual treat but does
not provide much new.

Sound: 8.8
Solid musical
soundtrack and announcing that is well done.

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 8.7
International teams,
with the theme carried forward nicely into the online space. Adjustments made to
the “Be A Pro” scheme to make it feel more competitive and urgent.

Multiplayer: 8.2
From 16-player
tourneys to the way points are tallied on an online leaderboard for games won by
nations, this is a step up from FIFA.

Overall: 8.7
The soccer is well
done, the ball physics are solid and the overall environment – from graphics to
sound – is well done. The international flavor, the way the Captain Your Country
is handled and the metagame of scoring points for your favorite national side in
a massively online race is nicely done.