UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 PSP Review

Even though the game boasts a new name and is been sold as a brand new game we have already reviewed UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 before in the guise of FIFA 07 which was released on the PSP late last year. Sure, with this one you may have that distinctive operatic opening theme blast into your earholes every time you turn the game on and the pitches and players may look a little bit different but at the core you still have FIFA 07’s heart beating. So if you were one of the people that picked up FIFA 07, the first question you have to ask yourselves is; do you really want to upgrade already? If your answer to that is not an outright no then you may as well read on.

The main mode in the game is of course the Champions League Tournament where you can play though and try to win the cup. This is presented just like you see on TV, with all the different parts waiting to be played through, should you qualify and get through all the knockout sections. Next is the inclusion of a challenge mode which is a set of scenarios that chronicle the biggest, most memorable moments in Champions League history and challenge you to recreate them. The scenarios however don’t included the same teams from the year they were set and instead have modern day squads so exactly recreating Man U’s comeback against Bayern Munich in 1999 is more-or-less impossible. Finally, there are three mini-games to mess about with… one which involves juggling the football, another which sees you kicking the ball against a wall and the last, which is basically a simple quiz. None of these really stand out but could be used on a really short bus journey if you did not have the time to play a full match. Online play is also available but seems overall complicated with a maddening sign up process needed to get it working.

Outside of the main game, the biggest new addition is ‘Treble Mode’ where you are tasked with trying to win your team’s league and cup along with the Champions League. As any fan of the beautiful game will tell you this is not the easiest task and the game certainly makes sure you have a fight on your hands if you are looking for your team to be able to boast the extraordinary accomplishment. On the road of trying to win the treble you will be set various objectives such as playing one of your team’s youngsters or playing in a specific formation in a game to please the board. Another inclusion in this mode is the option to transfer players and unfortunately this is far more awkward than it should be. Anyone that has taken the time to play any good football managing games will be left cringing at the way this is handled as negotiating transfers between teams seems damn near impossible even if you are playing with huge names like Man U, Chelsea, Barca or Real Madrid. Other difference in this mode are that you don’t necessarily start all the matches from the beginning as some see you being thrown in after half-time 2-0 down or with players sent off and challenging you to either win or draw the match from your starting point. It is definitely an interesting feature and adds some longevity to the game.

For those that have not had a chance to try out the FIFA 07 engine before the gameplay does feel noticeably different from some of EA’s previous efforts. Games feel more organic and fluid than you would expect, with the ball no longer feeling stuck to player’s feet. There is a strong emphasis on possession and playing smart passes to open up defence as well. However, a big niggle for me was that pace/speed-up has been mapped to the PSP’s ‘select’ button which – at least for me – felt very uncomfortable to use. The rest of the controls seem well thought out and will be almost instantly familiar for anyone who has ever played a FIFA title with any form of a dualshock.

Graphically the game boasts very little new brand touches. Of course the main change is that the presentation has now been altered to give the official look of the Champions League but with an EA branded game you would have expected that anyway. The other small new graphical touches on show are that when playing in the cold you can see gloves on the players’ hands and you can also see the fog of their breath. The only other change seems to be the advertising boards all around the pitch have been changed to accurately replicate those seen at a Champions League matches. I also seem to have quite the urge to buy a Ford branded car right now but I really don’t think that has anything got to do with the game.

Audio is alright but not amazing… in fact some of the crowd noises sound very messy through the PSP speakers. I would give a thumbs up to the commentary though as it seem to have been redone completely for the game and is not just a copy and paste efforts from the phrases seen in FIFA 07.

If you are looking for an in-depth footballer then you’re not going to get it with EA’s latest effort at the beautiful game. The PSP edition of UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 has been designed so it is easy to get into and fun to play in short bursts and that is exactly what you get from the game. But going back a few months, that is exactly what FIFA 07 on the same platform offered you so do you really need to hand over that wad of cash again for such a small upgrade?

It’s good, but not great and only worth a buy if you have not gone for FIFA 07.

6.7 out of 10

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!