FIFA Football has been ahead of the other football games like Pro Evolution Soccer for years but with new footie games coming out FIFA 2004 had to be a success. And it was.
The first main new feature you would have noticed is the Off The Ball play. This is playing football off the ball and if used successfully can be the key to winning a game. Off The Ball command is when a player on your team has the ball and starts to slow down and walk. Now you can command the player that is walking slowly aswell as other teamates that are on the pitch. So for example if Cristiano Ronaldo had the ball and you press the button to enter Off The Ball play then you will still be able to control C Ronaldo but you could also control Ruud Van Nistelrooy or Paul Scholes. This is used for more creative play. You could now move Ruud into a suitable place for C Ronaldo to pass him the ball. This is a very handy feature if you know how to use it properly. But the Off The Ball button also can be used for tricks. So you could make C Ronaldo do a couple of step overs and then pass to Ruud. Cool isn't it. It would be if it was easy to use. If your willing to take the time to master Off The Ball then you should feel proud. Most users find it too complicated and don't bother using it but you should, it's deadly.
Now there is a Career Mode instead of Season Mode where you take over a team of your wish and get givern a 5 year contract where you must achieve goals with your club. This is much better than Season Mode cos you can actually train your players and buy new players to strenghten the squad.
There is also a Football Fusion option where you can upload data I think from Total Club Manager 2004 which I believe lets you play the matches from Total Club Manager 2004 on Fifa 2004. I don't fully understand this system but its worth looking into.
FIFA 2004 is also compatiable with the new Online Play and gamers can go online and play people from all over the world which is very very handy for children that have no siblings and for children that dont have many friends round cos playing on your own all the time is just boring. Multiplayer is one of the best thnigs about this game.
Its a shame though that the commentating still isn't as good as it could be. There just the same as FIFA 2003 really just lame but there is some new added commentary which is worth listening too. The graphics are really really good and they are really really bad. I will explain. In FIFA 2004 I see that for the top teams in the world like Real Madrid, Man Utd, Barcelona, AC Milan the graphics on the players are outstanding and you can really see every little detail on there face but for some worser teams and players they look completly different. I know Michael Owen isnt a rubbish player but his face looks all distorted.
I am glad that there is now spin back into the game. In FIFA 2002 you could spin the ball easily and that was really really good but they missed out the ability to spin the ball on FIFA2003 but its back in FIFA 2004. Although you cant control how the ball spins like you used to on FIFA 2002 you can still sometimes get spin on your ball and when you score looking at the reply is really good. You can see the shot fly in from where ever you shot from and with that spin it makes it that little more enjoyable to watch.
Last thing I want to say is that I still am not happy with the celebrations of a player after they have scored. They seem to do the same thing all the time and I hope this can be improved for FIFA 2005
FIFA Football is still leading on my opinion when it comes to football games but they have to keep it up cos there are lots of footballing games getting good and I hope FIFA 2005 is just as good and even better than FIFA 2004.