UEFA Champions League 2006-2007

Xbox 360

Review by Matt Paprocki

EA Sports


Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 6


When you’re dealing with the largest sports audience in the world, it’s only logical that you’ll want to reach that group as often as possible. However, EA Sports has officially broken through the barrier of “too much,” releasing a third soccer/football title in a single year. UEFA doesn’t bring enough new to its gameplay to justify the radical new mode.

The latest means of crafting an interesting sports game comes in the form of the innovative “Ultimate Team” mode. Here you’ll create your team via virtual cards, gathered via packs. These cards can be new players, coaches, trainers, or on-field enhancements. Your entire team is molded to your liking (and available cards) with a deep sense of strategy.

uefa20071xbox360.jpg (40190 bytes)Late into the 32-bit era, EA tried this same concept in their Madden and NHL franchises. However, it was never with this much depth or as widely influential on the gameplay. At times, it can feel like cheating when you give your entire team a shooting boost. Purists would scoff at the notion. Those who enjoy card based strategy have found a new home.
You’ll need to spend significant time in the menus to take full advantage of this feature. After every game, you can purchase new packs and even higher level silver and gold packs. All additions will need to be sorted, discarded, kept, or replaced. Numerous factors can play a role, including country of origin. Keeping players from the same country increases morale and the player’s ability to mesh on the field.

The uniqueness of this system can also change online play. Xbox Live Gold members can trade cards online for their use on the quest to the championship. With the randomness of the packs, it could be the only way to earn them all.

For the audience looking to skip all of that, there are already four FIFA titles on the console, and UEFA is difficult to distinguish. The new physics system from FIFA 07 is in place, adding unpredictability to passing and higher turnovers. Shooting needs to be planned to be precise, and the ball no longer rockets towards the keeper.

Commentary is dry, rarely providing anything significant. Atmosphere is strong enough to make up for it, and nicely rendered character models fill the field. Controls are spot on, though the entire game does feel somewhat sluggish. It’s a more realistic pacing that may catch some off guard. Achievements are somewhat absurd and overbearing. Only the most dedicated will land the full 1,000.

If you’re a member of the die-hard, fanatical, and obsessive soccer crew, UEFA will keep you busy until the next edition of FIFA hits in roughly 25 minutes. Card fans will be satisfied with the new options, while non-soccer fans will wonder what’s different enough to justify the price. UEFA is milking the sport dry on the 360, and it’s shame since it plays a solid game on the field.


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Last updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 09:53 PM