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UEFA Euro 2012 review: FIFA ditches the discs - and much of the content

Cheap, but not cheap enough...

The prudent question for sports fans is always the same: "Why don't they just make next year's instalment DLC?" Or: "Why not charge a few quid for a roster update". A naive stance, maybe - name a single company that'll ask for less money when it could get more - but you can't say it's not a sensible one.

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Rather than committing the game to a million discs and trying to convince us all this year's increment is worth the plunge, why not put out a smaller, cheaper download? While EA's yearly sporting behemoths certainly aren't disappearing into the ether just yet, their biennial tournament tie-in's just might.

With UEFA Euro 2012, a quick and easy XBLA/PSN download means you can play it on your sticky-fingered FIFA 12 disc, accessed through the menu bar. No constant CD swapping or popping by Gamestation to trade your outdated sports game for Skittles and toenail clippings. It's blissfully convenient - a smart precedent and promising toe-dip in the future pool.

That is until your realise just how shallow the pool is.

CONTENT INCOMPLETE

EA has cut the price, but it's also cut content. For one, the gameplay hasn't been touched. It might be the same brilliant FIFA that we awarded a monster 9.3 to, with tactical defending, unique personalities and the much-vaunted Impact Engine, but it's FIFA all the same. If you've spent the last seven months together, it could all start to feel a little old hat, a little quickly.

Not even well-worn niggles have been ironed out. For example, for throw-ins players still clumsily shin the ball away before reaching down like a toddler to paw at its shadow, and occasionally limbs bend and splice to remind the developers they haven't mastered physics just yet.

It's less an expansion, more of a reskin, eight new stadiums, 53 teams and a coat of paint the selling point. There's little life after the final whistles blows, especially when you can already make your own international tournaments in FIFA 12. This is an indulgence, with three new modes not enough to justify the price.

The headliner is, of course, the officially licensed tournament itself, complete with branded hoo-ha and sponsored pageantry. The groups have all been set and squads contain all the real world players heading to Poland and Ukraine, meaning you can exactly mirror the action in deepest, darkest Europe.

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Contextual commentary spices up play ("Rooney's set to win the Golden Boot, but he's just missed a sitter!"). However, all those different stadia, updated kits and real world relevance just don't justify the initial price tag - or should you shell out for it, repeated plays. You'll probably boss the tournament with England then go back to feebly tempting Messi over to Watford in FIFA 12's cosy career.

That is, unless you get embroiled in the only mode here with any depth: Expedition.

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