FIFA fans told EA that they'd be more interested in playing UEFA Euro 2012 as a DLC pack for FIFA 12, rather than as a boxed game in its own right, and DLC is exactly what has been served up here.
The content is accessed through the main menu in FIFA 12. Select the tab and the colour scheme shifts, the old menu replaced by regal colours and an artistic style drawing inspiration from the Eastern European host nations Poland and Ukraine.
The main event here is the tournament, which can be attempted with any one of the teams that made it to the finals. Players can also participate in online tournaments, playing through the different rounds against opposition from across the continent. It promises to be an exciting variation, and given that there's going to be plenty of gamers out there in the mood to play some competitive international football over the summer, there are bound to be games aplenty. However, after the tournament finishes this may not be the case.
Gameplay is much as it ever was, and FIFA 12 still shines six months on. Defending is just as tactical as it has been, with containment the name of the game. If you want to go back to mashing buttons to send your defenders running back like heatseeking missiles, you only need to turn on the legacy settings for an experience more akin to that of FIFA 11.
The Player Impact Engine still provides plenty of entertainment. Collisions are usually realistic, and often hilarious. There are still some kinks in the armour, with the AI sometimes struggling to get free kick decisions right, but it doesn't happen frequently enough to be a major gripe. If anything this frustrating unpredictability adds to realism. It might not be fun to watch when your team is denied a clear penalty, but it happens.
There are a selection of different game modes, the most prominent of which is Expedition. Gamers can choose a top European player and build a squad around them as they play different national teams from across the continent. The chosen player lines up next to a team of hopeless, talentless players. Through beating different countries you can upgrade your squad (with players taken from the teams you defeat) and build roads between the different capitals dotted across the map, linking Europe together in a web built on footballing conquest.
It's a lengthy and comprehensive distraction, but if realism is your thing you probably wont get too much out of the mode. It's more a vehicle to lavish glory upon your favourite player. That said, if you want to score a load of goals with a specific superstar like Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie or David Villa, and you don't really care about the team that plays around them, then this mode could be the one for you. It's very much the antithesis of FIFA 12's managerial mode, which is steeped in realism and authenticity.
You can also experience some of the defining moments of the Euro 12 qualifying campaign by taking on challenges based on real encounters that took place on the road to Poland and Ukraine. A live service during the tournament proper promises to bring this feature to events that transpire during the tournament itself.
Euro 2012 is going to be a worthwhile purchase for anybody really excited by this year's tournament, and its availability as DLC is a welcome change of tact by EA. That said, what you actually get for your money is a new colour scheme, a couple of new multiplayer options and the lengthy Expedition mode; a single player campaign that may not appeal to everyone. The gameplay is exactly the same as it was in FIFA 12, so if you've tired of football already this season and are looking forward to FIFA 13 injecting something new into the franchise, this expansion pack may not be enough to satisfy you in the meantime.