Review: Sameer DesaiIn a typical year, there are two football games released by EA -- the long-running FIFA series and the UEFA Champions League game which follows a few months later. But with the European championships on this year, we have a third -- UEFA Euro 2008.
The FIFA series has always been EA's foremost football title; with all of EA's innovation and gameplay tweaks most evident in this title. The others that follow, like the Champions League games, have, in the past known to be more or less repackaged versions of the FIFA games, with very little noticeable change besides rehashed commentary and a few visual touch-ups.
But Euro 2008 has drastically changed that trend. After slacking off a bit, EA have raised their game in the last couple of years, and introduced some truly innovative game modes and improved gameplay to back it up. With Euro 2008, EA has finally managed to bring to the gamer its most fluidly controlling football title in years. The speed of the gameplay has been significantly increased and passing is more intuitive than ever. Through passes, which were previously a test in patience, are now extremely well implemented and give the player a lot more control with respect to power and direction.
However, the one area of gameplay in which it is still found lacking is the friendly AI. AI teammates still seem as dim-witted as ever and the darting runs and movement into open spaces that we have come to expect from EA's rival Pro Evolution Soccer/Winning Eleven franchise are absent here.
Opposition AI and shooting hasn't been changed much since FIFA 08, so those who have played past FIFA games should feel right at home here. However, it's still quite easy to end up with ridiculously one-sided scorelines when playing against the AI and EA may want to improve goal keeper AI to make scoring more of a challenge in future games.
On the whole, gameplay-wise, Euro 2008 has taken giant strides in the right direction. If EA can improve on this further, FIFA 09, which is only a few months away, looks like a winner.
Photographs: EA India
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