Review by DeAdMaNRoLliN

"EA Delivers Revives The Soccer Gaming Magic, Once Again"

EA's major soccer game franchise is its FIfa series. However, every now and then, EA tried to milk more cash out of its success formula by bringing out sub-franchises. Some of them were successful while most failed miserably. However, the Euro series, with two games till date, is surprisingly wonderful! I remember, way back in 2000, I was playing Euro 2000 more than Fifa 2000. In the same year, there where two other soccer games from EA as well, FA Premiere league and Spanish Primera Liga. Among all of them, Euro was a remarkable exception, both in terms of graphics and gameplay. Now in 2004, EA has repeated the magic once again. After a dismal show with Fifa 2004, EA is finally on the verge of regaining its crown for making the best soccer games.

Gameplay and Game Modes 9/10

Gameplay of Euro 2004 is a combination of Fifa 2003 and Fifa 2004 gameplay. It took the good things from both games, and kicked out all the bad stuff. It's got a couple of good new game modes, which are really great. The dream match option lets you create your own dream team, consisting of the top players of Europe. Ever thought of making Owen and Klose partners? You can do it in this game. The sitation mode is cool, too. You can start the game with 2 goals behind, with 15 minutes time to get level….it is possible to start a game with several such unique conditions, which is a good bonus mode for the Fifa veterans, who often complain about the lack of replay value in FIfa games. There's also the good ol' tournament mode, which lets you create custom tournaments. However, the most impressive and highlight mode is the Euro 2004 mode. It is possible to win the tournament with any European nation that plays football. You go through a number of friendly matches before the qualifying round starts. Once you qualify, you get to play the tourney. There's some strategic aspects in the season mode, too. There's a morale and fitness issue with the teams. If you don't monitor these things, your players will start playing weakly. They'll miss simple passes, they'll miss goals, etc. Thus a 97 skill level for Pavel Nedved doesn't assure you that he'll convert every good pass into great goals. If his fitness and morale is low, he'll become 68 skilled player. All these features make Euro 2004 a wonderful game.

Now lets talk about the gameplay. Some nice tweaks over the Fifa 2004 engine have made this game better in every aspect. The passing model got improved,

Sound 8/10
This game doesn't focus that much on music, as it was done in FIfa 2004. Yet, the soundtracks suit well with the game. The commentary is as usual, top notch. However, I noticed a few incorrect comments. The goalkeeper saved an attempt, and the ball cam back to the midfield, yet John Motson was saying this might be a great chance, whatta great save, etc. So there's sometimes a lag problem. But that's not something big when you're indulged in the game—who gets the time to listen to what they're saying anyway?

Difficulty Settings 7/10
There are 4 difficulty setting, which is quite nice. Even the amateur setting is quite challenging.
Graphics 10/10
This is one of the best things of the game. They graphics is excellent, and most star players are easily recognizable from the character models. The stadiums, as well as all other elements look marvelous, even on a 2 year old ATI Radeon 7000 card. However, there are a few minor glitches, like the crowd animation sometimes gets a bit weird. There's also day, night, overcast, day+rain, night+rain, etc. weather effects, which makes the game even better.

This game is a must have for Fifa fans who were disappointed with Fifa 2004. I think the PES3/WE7 crowd should also try this game out, because it has the license, which Konami ain't getting too soon. The only disappointing thing about this game is the shortened team roster, with only European nations. No clubs, no Brazil, No Japan, No Nigeria, but yet, the game isn't supposed to have those teams anyway. A must buy game for every Soccer game fans.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/16/04

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