We first came across Fifa Ultimate Team in 2009 when it first released as DLC (Downloadable Content) for a game that had just pulled out all the stops to beat Pro Evo Soccer as the ‘best’ soccer game. Now 2 years on, Fifa 11 has a new version of Ultimate Team as a free download – we see if its worthy of top flight action or hitting relegation!

Being big footy fans in the PlayEject office, we never say no to a game of Fifa 11 but the single player does get a bit boring, despite the excellent career and manager modes. Ultimate Team brings about a new way of building a squad by collecting cards ranging from players and managers to stadiums and training and allows you to enter offline and online tournaments to win in-game currency to spend on developing your team however you see fit.

When you start Ultimate Team you are given a free pack to get you started. Its likely you wont be getting any Messi’s or Rooney’s in the first pack but at least you can now start playing. You can then enter either a quick single game or a tournament either against the computer (at pre-set difficulties with preset conditions for each tournament) or against other Ultimate Team players and their teams. Winning matches gets you around 400-500 coins on average per game but even taking part and getting hammered online will earn you something (we think its to stop the dreaded disconnecting-when-winning and works well).

You can then spend coins on packs of cards or go shopping in the Auction House for more specific players to help fill out your squad.

Each card is rated at either Bronze, Silver or Gold and assigned a rank out of 100 as to its performance value. The better your overall value of the team, the better the team rating. But its not all about buying the best of the best – with real life (and more importantly – Football Manager style) you need them to gel. Ultimate Team therefore has a Chemistry rating for your team. Get this up to 100 and you know they’ll be gelling well. A lower Chemistry will affect performance of your team and its rank. Something we’ve found out the hard way.Fifa 11 Ultimate Team PS3 Xbox 360 game review PlayEject

The major downside to Ultimate Team is that you will find some of the more rarer players (Messi, Ronaldo, etc) are up for sale for ridiculous amounts and will take literally ages of winning tournaments to purchase. You might find you buy packs and not get anyone decent for ages but we found that by being shrewd on the transfer market we were able to trade in some of our lesser-quality players for a couple of decent purchases, win some of the more tempting tournaments with higher prize money and then trade in those players again for somebody a bit better. the circle of life – Fifa 11 Ultimate Team style!

To provide this sort of DLC for a game is brilliant. Its the closest thing we’ve found to Football Manager outside of the career mode on Fifa 11 and as a free download, you don’t have to spend a penny to keep developing your squad. For those that can’t wait to get some better players or stadiums, etc, you can use your Sony Network points or Microsoft Points to purchase more packs with the hope of getting a rare or In-Form player to boost your team.

Fabulous idea and tweaked since the last outing so that fans of Fifa 11 have something new in the offering.

You can also play Ultimate Team on the internet on a PC by logging into the EA Servers with your Fifa credentials (where you made your gameface). From this screen you can manage your team in the same way as you would on the Xbox 360 or PS3 Fifa 11 game – a great addition for those wanting to keep tabs on how their players are fairing on the transfer market!

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