UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 Review
For some strange reason it feels like I play a new Xbox 360 soccer game from EA Sports every couple of months. Oh wait, I do play a new Xbox 360 soccer game from EA Sports every couple of months. The latest is UEFA Champions League 2006-2007, which is decidedly more European-focused than EA Sports’ other recent soccer offerings. The Champions League takes the best teams from Europe’s national leagues and brings them together to play for the right to be called the continent’s best.
What really sets this title apart from the other soccer games is its Ultimate Team mode. This mode challenges you to field the best team possible, which may at first sound like any other soccer game’s manager mode. What really makes Ultimate Team mode different is the way in which you go about doing this. After you play a game you’re awarded points based on your performance. Even if you don’t win or draw you can still earn points for things like the number of shots on goal and the difficulty level of the game. These points can then be used to buy packs of cards that contain players for your team or boosters that affect gameplay. The cards come in three types of packs, gold, silver, and bronze. The gold packs have better cards, but are more expensive than the bronze, with silver lying in the middle. If you’re missing a key card, you can even go online and sell or buy cards. The goal is to use these cards to build a team that eventually will get you invited to the Champions League. It’s not just a matter of getting all the best player cards; there are other things to be taken into consideration. You’ll need good manager, coach, and trainer cards to ensure that your team is well-led and kept in its best playing shape. You’ll need to ensure that your players are playing the position that they prefer and that they do well in the formations that you’re playing. There’s a lot more going on here than simply putting your highest rated player cards into your starting lineup. The card system is unconventional, to say the least, but it’s also pretty compelling in its own right. The card-collecting won’t appeal to everyone, but if it does appeal to you then you’ll love it.
Outside of the Ultimate Team mode, the game comes with a challenge mode that lets you try to recreate – or change the outcome – of historic Champions League moments. Even if you’re not familiar enough with the Champions League to know of these historic moments they do make for a nice collection of challenges. There’s also support for online play over Xbox Live, and you can take your Ultimate team online too to see how it matches up against those built by other players.
On the pitch the game plays a lot like FIFA 07. The biggest difference is an increased emphasis on player momentum that makes it a bit tougher to stop and change direction. It appears that the AI is not really bothered by this, so you’ll be at a bit of a disadvantage on the dribble and defending against it. But UEFA is more a game of passing than it is of ball handling, and you’ll need to spend time working the ball around until you get an opportunity to push for the goal.
UEFA comes on the heels of several recent soccer releases for the Xbox 360, but the card mechanic alone makes if a unique offering. If the card collecting aspect of the game seems like it would at all be appealing to you, then you should definitely check the game out. If you’re not sold on it, then there’s not enough different with the game to recommend it over FIFA 2007 and you’re better off just sticking with that title.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 77%. UEFA’s card-collecting aspect is a long shot on goal, but for some it will be right on target.