Platform: PC, PS2, XB
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Sports
ETA: Fall 2003
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a new sheriff in town.
dominating the console soccer scene for the last five years, FIFA was
kicked to the side by the Winning Eleven series, which aside from a
guest appearance on the PSOne, had previously been released in Japan and
Europe. For most soccer enthusiasts, FIFA had strayed too far from an
accurate portrayal of the game. I owned every FIFA up until the 2002
version and the last great FIFA was í97 on the PC.
Nonetheless, the game still received solid reviews across the board. It appears FIFA, like many other EA Sports games, may settle into a niche as the more arcade soccer alternative with lots of goals. The press release promises online play (PS2 only) and the inclusion of EA Bio. As always, FIFA should have top-of-the-line graphics and boasts 16 leagues, 350 teams and 10,000 players. Since I never played last yearís game, itís tough to say what this yearís game should improve upon. I do own Winning Eleven 6 and it will be interesting how the two games stack up. It can only help that the two successful soccer franchises drive up their quality in lieu of the new North American competition.
the official hype:
For true soccer fans that demand the finest gameplay and comprehensive game modes, FIFA Soccer 2004 is the most complete and authentic soccer experience. A new Career Mode gives you the chance to take a team from the lower divisions, battle through ranks, sign new players, and turn them into champions. The action is deeper than ever with advanced levels of player detail and responsiveness. When you want to take on new competitors, connect to EA SPORTS online for the PlayStation 2 or PC for matchup gameplay, tournaments, downloadable content, and more. With immersive atmospheres, benchmark presentation, total realism with the world's premier clubs, and industry-leading gameplay, FIFA returns as the true authority in soccer gaming.
Gameplay: FIFA 2004 offers a fine-tuned game engine, and new animations
dramatically enhance the smoothness in player movement through organic
Database and Controls: Enjoy richer depth to team AI, attributes,
tactics, playing styles, and individual player personalities. New depth
to control keeps FIFA easy to pick up and play but gives greater depth
for the master.
the Ultimate Player Manager: Be your own player manager with FIFA's deep
Career Mode. Build your franchise and guide your club to the
Championship by making calculated front-office decisions. Manage your
team's budget and promote or relegate your players to sustain franchise
objectives on the pitch. When one season ends and another begins new
challenges will present themselves. The most successful player managers
should also be ready for promotions, as some of the world's top clubs
may have new job offers.
In-game Management: You think it's easy being the coach? Prove your tactical genius on the fly. Don't second-guess yourself after the final whistle-make adjustments mid-game and call plays in real time via D-pad.
Environments: More than 300 new crowd chants at an ever growing list of
officially licensed stadiums help put you in the best seat in the house.
From stadiums small and large, no soccer gaming experience offers a more
complete library of the game's authentic environments. An all-new
dynamic weather feature even affects gameplay, so choose your home
Broadcast Plus: Get a fresh perspective on game presentation with the cutting-edge in broadcast. New camera angles, intelligent commentary, rich effects, and game story arcs are all part of the authentic package.
With The Best: More than 500 official licenses, including 16 leagues,
350 teams and 10,000 players are available. From the fast pace of
Europe's super leagues to the Americas Club Championship, which allows
you to play with the top clubs from Major League Soccer and South
America, FIFA 2004 provides for the most authentic selection of the
world's top teams, players, and environments.
SPORTS Online Competition: Take on opponents from anywhere in the
country via EA SPORTS online (PlayStation 2 and PC only). An online
lobby area where gamers can meet, greet, chat, and play FIFA
head-to-head provides the ultimate interactive experience.
SPORTS Bio: Memory card based tracking/rating system recognizes and
rewards gamers for playing multiple EA SPORTS titles.
- Tim Martin
(June 29, 2003)