Game releases (23-27 March 09)

fifa09expansionIt’s a late edition of Game Releases this week and it’s FIFA09 that has to take the blame. More specifically FIFA 09’s downloadable expansion pack (US$10) called Ultimate Team (UT) which was released last week on the PS3 and the 360. I have wasted most of my free time and some of sleep time as well on this mode. (Unfortunately, when compiling the weekly games release list I only go through retailers’ coming soon pages which do not include any downloadable content. Lesson learned I hope.)

The FIFA series has made great strides in the last couple of years to narrow the gap in gameplay quality with the PES series and win over football fans’ hearts. With the UT expansion however, I think FIFA has taken footy gaming to another level. In UT, much like in PES’ Master League, you create your own team from scratch. You get a random bronze card pack of crappy players to begin with. Winning games earns you coins with which you can buy more bronze, silver and gold card packs containing stadiums, contract renewals, home and away kits, managers, physios, head coach, player and manager development cards and of course more players.

So far so good, but not that’s not that big of a leap from PES ML. With UT however there are online tournaments, online trading and bidding of these cards much like you do on Ebay. One of my greatest pleasures is finding bargains of players. But setting up a good team is not just getting all the star players. Other factors have to be taken into consideration like the team’s chemistry which is affected by a player’s preferred position, formation and of course nationality.

This is a case of how the journey to build your Ultimate Team is probably sweeter than actually getting there. Seeing your new acquisitions perform well on the pitch in online and offline tournaments is reward in itself. To cap it off you have your own a book where you can keep all the players cards. Do remember the Panini football stickers in the 80s-90s? That’s exactly how it is with this one.

The game is not perfect with EA’s servers crashing frequently although they have been improving in the past couple of days. Also many people actually bought gold packs of cards with actual money which has created an imbalance in the game’s economy. Within a couple of days people were online with super teams.

But one can choose how to create his own UT. If you are patient with this game then the UT will be your ultimate footy experience right now both offline and online.

FIFA09 Ultimate Team is my game of the week.

Release List

360

Afro Samurai
Leisure Suite Larry: Box Office Bust
Monsters Vs Aliens
Wheelman

PS3

Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 (Ultimate Edition)
Buzz: Brain of the UK
Leisure Suite Larry: Box Office Bust
Monsters Vs Aliens
Afro Samurai
Wheelman

Wii

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Echoes of Time
Monsters Vs Aliens
Jelly Belly: Ballistic Beans

Don King Boxing
Calvin’s Tucker Redneck Jamboree
Mushroom Men: Rise of the Fungi
Pro Evolution Soccer 2009

PC

Drakensang
Leisure Suite Larry: Box Office Bust
Demigod
Battleforge
Wheelman

DS

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Echoes of Time
Nancy Drew and the Deadly Secret of Olde World Park
Lux Pain
Monsters Vs Aliens
Jelly Belly: Ballistic Beans
Imagine Doctor
Imagine My Restaurant
Don King Boxing
Core
Cake Mania 2
Mushroom Men: Rise of the Fungi
Phineas & Ferb

PSP

Mana Khemia: Student Alliance
Buzz: Brain of the UK

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About the Author

Costas

Costas Taliadoros is an accountant by profession but a gamer at heart. He was born in Nicosia in 1977 and was raised by Donkey Kong. At a very young age he started piloting F-15 Strike Eagles over the Iraqi and Libyan deserts and has also seen action in an M1 Ambraams tank somewhere in Eastern Europe fighting against the Soviets. As the years went by, he was integrated into Civilization until he finally conquered the world and sent the first human mission to Alpha Centauri. He graduated from the International Superstar Soccer academy and moved back to Cyprus to start his career. In this dark period of his life he fought and swore against 3 more Master Chiefs on a 4-way split-screen all day and night. It was around this period that he also started traveling to Live in many places around the world but mostly the USA. There, he met a lot of young American teenagers who were willing to discuss topics like his mother and the colour of his skin in great detail. It only strengthened his belief that he still has a lot to learn in this life.

Nowadays Costas can be found on a couch playing games with friends and foes, with beer in close proximity. He is just a non-professional “writer” who loves games, books, comics, football, and running. He is also writing in the video-game site he co-founded, www.forevergamers.com, and on his personal blog, www.lostingames.net.