Learning Curve: Once you get the basics, the game become very enjoyable and this doesn’t take long at all. After you have mastered quick passes, short range shots and crosses, you can start learning the tricks and more elaborate shots.
Time Spent Playing: When I first got the game, I was glued to it. The only other Fifa game I had was Fifa '97 for the PS1! After completing a few tournaments and taking Liverpool to Premiership glory, I left the game for a while. But every now and then, its well worth picking it up again and trying on 'World Class' hard mode!
Gameplay: Unfortunately, I think the game is let down by its fairly slow pace. If you want to run with the ball, you have to sprint otherwise you just walk. This wears your fatigue meter right down. The best way to play is to pass the ball loads. If you do this and then whip some crosses in from the sideline, you should be able to get a fair few goals. There are some tricks on offer, but they don’t make much difference to the game play. There is also a new ‘off the ball run’ feature which allows you to control two players at once for inch perfect passes. I find it quite difficult to do myself, but if you concentrate it is doable and effective. In career mode, you do have limited managerial capabilities in that you can buy and sell player (during the transfer window) and you are also in control of your teams training, be it individual or whole team. You also have a budget to stick to and a list of objectives to complete. There are at least 20 different tournaments to choose from and hundreds of clubs to play as. From low ranking unheard of teams, to famous internationals. You can choose to play in career mode, tournament mode or play a game with a friend. I really enjoy playing in 2 player mode because I can choose my favorite team and my mate can choose his. Graphics: There has been a great improvement on the appearance of the players and the stadiums. Players look and move like in real life, from the gamers point of view anyway. Most players are distinguishable by their face, but others are not. Fifa have tried their best to recreate the players, even the heights are different. Unfortunately, the game is let down by poor audience graphics. They are flat and all look the same. Although this is just a minor flaw, it does spoil the atmosphere a bit.
Sounds: As per usual, the commentators can sometimes be annoying. Thankfully, there is an option to turn them off if you are sick of them saying the wrong things or taking the mick out of your teams performance. The menu music is a good feature. It is already loaded with some good tunes, but if you save some songs onto your Xbox, you can have custom sound tracks on the menus. The noises that the crowd makes during the match more than make up for their poor graphics. Their cheering matches your team and it performance and really boosts the general atmosphere of the game. Value: Fifa 2004 is now considered an ‘old’ game and can probably be found in the bargain bin of any good games store. Definitely 10 pounds or less. Great value for money.