Expansions are something that EA has been doing a pretty great job of introducing. They do a great job at making it really feel like you bought an expansion pack (which is rare for console games). A big part of that is with their presentation changes, I remember downloading the Battlefield Vietnam DLC and it felt like I was playing a completely new game, not only because of the different guns/scenery/setting but also because of the presentation, huds, and displays.
UEFA Euro is no different. A new option added to the main menu for FIFA 12 is the only thing you see initially and then once you click it you are transported to a whole new world. A very vibrant color scheme in the menus, a bunch of options ranging from tournaments, exhibitions, the new expedition mode, new challenges, et cetera greet you and are very well designed, not to mention their soundtrack is perfect i.e. no rap or heavy metal. If only the other EA titles would take notes on FIFA 12′s user experience we would be a lot better off.
Now I obviously will not talk about the actual gameplay because that would be absurd. This is still FIFA 12, the same FIFA 12 you have been playing since its release date. The difference comes in the game modes you can partake in. Obviously the major appeal is the UEFA Euro tournament and it is very exciting. With new announcer dialogue, a new presentation, and a lively stadium you really can get into it.
Challenges also make an appearance and players are given a new one every 72 hours and can choose what difficulty they would like to play on and receive a larger XP reward.
These are all fun/cool but this DLC really stands out with the new Expedition Mode. Expedition mode has you create a new club and choose the European country to base your HQ. After choosing that you get to name your club, choose the insignia, and design your uniforms. I love customization in games and I am actually upset that you can’t create teams and import them into the career modes by replacing a team in the real game.
Anyways…after you do this though you are given a bunch of players and you choose a real pro or your own virtual pro to lead your squad. This is where the fun really begins. You are on a voyage to defeat every country, to do so you need to jump from country to country and beat that team. You have to create roads to these countries to play them and you can’t jump countries, so you will have to leave a wake of destruction in your path to get where you want.
This doesn’t sound too awesome right? That is where you are wrong, before you start each game you are shown a page of the stipulations for the match. You are given rewards for winning and also can lose things also. For example if you lose you can possibly have the road to that country destroyed and hand you a set back. Winning though offers you great prizes, by winning you are given a random player from the team you just beat and you can replace someone on your squad (or decline the offer) and keep making your squad even stronger.
I don’t know why I enjoy it so much and actually find this mode more pleasurable than ultimate team. Maybe the fact that I know I am ripping a player away from a team I just humiliated is something that appeals to me for some reason. For example I fought my way to Portugal, my team is significantly outmatched but I know a win will grant me a player than can really spruce up my team’s overall.
This expansion does come with a hefty price though, $16 is a little steep for the add-on. I have enjoyed it thoroughly myself and if you are a true fan you probably have already purchased this. Luckily EA offers a free trial that really shows off what you are getting into, so complaints should be kept low.
My recommendation is that you definitely try out the free trial if you are on the fence. I think it is a lot of fun and the only downfall is the price, well that and I would love to see them embrace multiple virtual pros like they did in FIFA World Cup South Africa with Captain Your Country. Then again I am a co-op gamer so I am a little biased.
Overall EA definitely does a great job at releasing expansions and making it feel like you bought something new. Other companies should be taking notes, especially on how well they designed their menus and other presentation elements.