FIFA 09: Ultimate Team

FIFA 09: Ultimate Team

FIFA 09: Ultimate Team

Swap, swap, got, swap.

The deluge of downloadable content for Xbox 360 and PS3 continues unabated, and EA Canada is the latest to throw its hat into the arena with this add-on for FIFA 09. Ultimate Team is actually a rehash of the hit-and-miss Ultimate Team feature that debuted in UEFA Champions League 2006/2007, and is ostensibly a concoction of vanilla FIFA and a trading card game with a hint of Pro Evolution Soccer's Master League thrown in for good measure.

To begin with you're allocated a set of random playing cards. These range from players (each with their own unique stats) to home and away kits, your stadium, training ground and a collection of in-game Gameplay Modifiers that you can cash in during matches. Your ultimate goal is to collect and trade your way to the best possible team and bonuses by swapping cards and spending Coins earned through the successful completion of games against online and AI opponents.

Any card can be directly traded for another. Alternatively, you can spend the Coins you've earned to acquire better cards by hopping online and haggling with other players. If you ever played a Panini trading card game in your primary school days then you'll have a vague idea of what this involves. However, for the impatient player there's the opportunity to buy new cards online in exchange for Microsoft Points or funds from a PS3 wallet: a disappointing design choice that will clearly give some players an unfair advantage.

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FIFA 09 Ultimate Team, Football Academy

EA on expanding by using your loaf.

EA has poured serious time and effort into the FIFA brand over recent years, not just on painstakingly recreating the beautiful game, but complementing the package with ambitious online features like Be A Pro mode - where 20 real people each control one outfield player during a match - and Adidas Live Seasons, which each week update player stats to match real-life goings-on.