FIFA Football 2004 (GameCube) Preview

By James 14.09.2003 2

So, as the end of summer closes in more and more rapidly the beautiful game begins again. Most leagues have already kicked off now, and, with everybody in the mood for football once again it was inevitable that with this a 2004 edition of the FIFA series would be brought out in conjunction with the season getting into full swing. As Electronic Arts continue to push their Freestyle control system even further the series just keeps on getting better and better, will this be the best FIFA ever? Read on to find out.

You're probably wanting to know if this is going to end all the moaning about the FIFA series, if you're not its because you don't care as you probably own Winning Eleven Six. The simple answer would be no, but, as with the last FIFA there is a big but. The series is definitely improving, there is no denying it but the series still won't be that killer football game that everybody is looking for.

Electronic Arts are a funny old lot aren't they? They are undoubtedly the world's biggest publisher of games, and, really, with the size and funds of a company should quality be produced. Now, I don't like to rant too much, but where has the quality been in the past few FIFA games. There has been a great lack in depth to the game. Last year, the 2003 edition was, to say the least a pleasant surprise but still wasn't that Winning Eleven Six beater that everybody is longing for. Electronic Arts may not make the best games, but with such astronomical sales they must be doing something rightly, and, correct. Well, what is it you ask? The games can be poor and are often just annual roll outs with minimal tweaking and a small, if anything pointless graphical upgrade, so that can't be what makes coins hit the counters at Game and HMV for there games. Well, really, it is very obvious, and, is also quite sad and is a major problem with the gaming industry. Who wants Winning Eleven Six? Has it got that trademark EA Sports logo defined below the central FIFA logo? Nope.

Screenshot for FIFA Football 2004 on GameCube

People, gamers like to buy official software, if it hasn't got FIFA stamped all over it then it's not worth your notes. Gamers like to buy products that are official because they are sure it will be that dream game that is perfect in every department and is a total gaming wonder. Electronic Arts are the biggest gaming publisher because they simply play the game- they have their collective heads screwed on- they know what gamers want. So, because they know they possess a killer licence that will sell every year regardless of how much money has been spent in insuring the success of the game being worth each gamer's money, this means that we receive a knock on effect which effectively insures the game only being moderately better each year.

Thankfully though, gamers are slowly beginning to awaken to this, and, learn of what is going on. So, in return, Electronic Arts have gotten a tad worried and have begun pouring a tad bit more money into the FIFA licence that is arguably Electronic Arts biggest asset in raking in money. Gameplay wise, Electronic Arts are pushing there new found control system known as Freestyle. This makes you work a lot more to earn those precious goals. Instead of the game traditionally playing like an interactive movie the game plays as it should. The gamer has to direct the pass now a lot more precisely, the tackling doesn't act like a homing device as much now and the shooting has also been refined heavily.

Screenshot for FIFA Football 2004 on GameCube

The game also plays a lot more realistically than previous FIFA games yet this won't mean that you will end up with goalless draws as seen often in the Pro Evolution series on the Playstation 2 and Winning Eleven Six on the Gamecube (Japan Only). Of course, FIFA will still retain a lot of its arcade style roots but, is now a lot more balanced and you won't be winning matches with scores that look like they should've come from a rugby match. You may still be beating the amateur level 6-0 but if you persist to get better you can always take on the World Class option.

Screenshot for FIFA Football 2004 on GameCube

Player individuality is also something Electronic Arts are working on. You will notice minor differences between the quality of a pass, receive or dribble between Roberto Carlos and a newly promoted premiership team player. The notable difference in the quality is the speed and the techniques that the player uses to receive the ball and dribble. So, now the teams' stats may actually be to some extent true to the gameplay. When a player moves to pass the ball from a difficult angle, as seen in 2003 you will see the player turn around as if confused or even fall over, whereas in previous FIFA games before 2003 you may have witnessed the player just go back on themselves without even appearing to try stop!

Again, in this year's edition you will be pleased to hear that all the leagues (excluding lower leagues, E.G Division 1-3 and Serie B-C) you can think of are there. The teams are all there as well, whether its Vasco Da Gama, Real Betis, Paris Saint German or indeed Manchester United your favourite team will be accounted for. Along with all the away, home and alternate kits are the players themselves. Expect to be able to make transfers in the very similar to last year's league modes of play. Graphically the game isn't that much better than 2003 but when 2003 looked so good how can you have a problem with that! Being able to differentiate two players from each other and say confidently who each player is, is a great achievement and adds more to the games atmosphere.

Screenshot for FIFA Football 2004 on GameCube

Final Thoughts

Well its not going to be that amazingly wonderful spectacle game we all want in a FIFA game but, it will be worth picking up if you're a fan of the beautiful game and enjoy playing it but still you will be slightly disappointed. Then again, if you have purchased one of its many predecessors then you may be extremely pleased with this instalment of the game. You will be pleased to find the extensive amount of attention to detail in the games teams, leagues and players. On a whole FIFA 2004 is definitely one for those who love football and want a game everybody can enjoy.

Developer

EA

Publisher

EA

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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