Ultimate Team Reviewed

During my childhood football sticker books were a well known pastime, rushing to the shops to buy packs of stickers and trade them with friends to try to complete the book. Whats all this got to do ith Fifa 09, well those clever boffins over at EA have brought the sticker collecting phenomenon to Fifa 09 in the form of an add on pack called Ultimate Team. Ultimate Team is a new game mode and allows players to collect their favourite footballers from packs of Bronze, Silver and Gold cards and build their perfect squad. Teams can then be played against each other in various tournaments online and also offline against the CPU. Starting to build your own team is easy as you open your first packs of cards from the bronze range which are the cheapest packs at 500 coins. You will be presented with several player cards as well as other cards that either help you improve players skills, improve your stadium and even allow you to use ‘cheat’ cards during a game to improve your own performance or hamper your opponent. You will also find contract cards for extending your players and managers contracts and this is very important as a player out of contract will be lost forever. Playing games and performing well with your players will allow you to gain coins for your hard earned team, this will then allow you to buy more cards and with enough coins you can buy the silver and gold packs for 2500 and 5000 coins respectfully to try and get those prized world class footballers. So you would think it was pretty simple to master this game as you would simply buy all the top players, this is not so. Chemistry its all about the chemistry, how many times have we heard Andy Gray on Sky Sports waffle about team chemistry. Each player and manager card has a preferred formation and the first thing to get the chemistry right is to get your players and manger all in the same formation. The chemistry can be further improved by having players from the same nationality in defence, midfield or attack and if they speak the same lingo as the manager this further boost the overall chemisty and should allow fluent passing and goals that would resemble the Brazil national team. So were does the sticker collecting aspect come into all this I hear you cry. Well its really simple, all the players, shirts, club crests, stadiums and collectible cards can be either added to your personal album or traded in a marketplace for cards or players that you want to own. Filling the album has its advantages as well as a completed lower league team will gain you 1000 coins and a completed premier team will gain you 5000 coins. This is where I am totally addicted and remember as a child trying to fill each page of the book and then swap good players for several other cards to fill more pages with friends stood in the school playground. Well the playground is now online and FIFA 09 players from around the world can swap and trade players as much as they like, a little bit like ebay you can name your starting price and your buy it now price and finally set a time limit between 2 hours and 5 days. The clever players have quickly realised that this is also a way to make coins fast, buy cheap, sell expensive and after a few hours of gaming when the expansion was first released top players like Lionel Messi and Andriy Shevchenko were having 50,000 coin price tags against their names. All in all ultimate team is a very good expansion pack for FIFA 09 and in my opinion lets footballing gamers express their own personal team and then prove they have built the best squad online. The game does have it problems but EA are addressing these through the forums but to be honest there is nothing that really spoils your enjoyment of the expansion pack. Right I’m off to buy Rafa Benitez, he’s the man I want to manage my team

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