Since 1960 the UEFA European Football Championship has been a showcase for the greatest football talents on the continent. Held every four years, it continues to enthral the world with drama, skill and plenty of surprises - who could forget Greece's 2004 triumph against the odds in Portugal?
Austria and Switzerland are hosts this time around, and football fans worldwide are hoping for an avalanche of goals from giants such as France, Spain and Italy.
UEFA EURO 2008 on PlayStation 3 features all the officially licensed stadiums, squads and kits from the competition, and what really sets it apart is the depth of its content; there are plenty of superb game modes to ensure you're still playing long after the final whistle has blown in Vienna.
The main feature is the opportunity to play through the tournament as the team of your choice, either sticking to the authentic fixture schedule or mixing things up. And it isn't just the finals themselves that are covered; you can take a team through their qualification campaign, including friendlies.
EA Sports has done an amazing job in capturing the sights and sounds of each stage of the competition. The graphics are as good as there have been in any football game, with incredibly detailed player likenesses and animations.
The noise of the crowd is superb, with each nation having their own chants. Qualifying matches against smaller nations, such as Macedonia and Andorra, are particularly impressive; the unique atmosphere that comes from a football giant visiting a minnow is tangible.
Controls are tight and intuitive, and opposition AI is ruthless enough to pose a challenge without being frustrating. Gaining a clear sight at goal requires patient passing and an understanding of both your team's strengths and your opponent's weaknesses; for example, you're unlikely to beat the France back line with pace but it can be susceptible to crosses.
Captain Your Country mode, which allows you to take a player from the fringes of the squad to the captaincy is one of the best additions to a football game in recent years.
Controlling a single footballer - either your own creation or an existing player - requires positional awareness and good movement off the ball. An arrow above your player's head warns if you are in the wrong place and you are given a rating out of ten, which changes throughout the course of the match, to decide how close you are to earning the elusive armband. Give the ball away, hit a wayward shot or pick up a yellow card and you'll drop points, but with good tackling and tidy passing you can soon recover, and nothing boosts your score like a goal.
Multiplayer is at the heart of any good sports game and UEFA EURO 2008 has plenty of modes, both offline for up to seven players and online for up to 16, to get you and your friends in the mood for the real life tournament. Particularly innovative is the Battle of the Nations feature, which charts the online performance of players from across Europe and creates a league table to show which country is home to the best gamers.
In capturing the mood of Europe's greatest international football competition, UEFA EURO 2008 does a great job; its generosity makes it stand out as one of the best football games available. EA Sports has packed the title with modes and features and they all offer their own perspective on the real life competition. In a word then, this game is comprehensive.
If you're still not excited about the European Championships, then you will be after playing this.