There are one or two caveats, though. The first is that this is a slightly evolved version of FIFA 2004, albeit with some welcome, if unessential new features. The biggest of these is a morale system, where more confident players tend to do better, while those on the receiving end of hammerings and bookings don't. Some additional skills, options and graphical tweaks pretty much see out the rest of the changes. The second caveat is that the game, by nature of being tied into the tournament itself, doesn't offer very prolonged long-term appeal, although undoubtedly you'll enjoy yourself while it lasts.
In short though, UEFA Euro 2004 is a very good, superbly presented and enjoyable football game. And while those who bought FIFA 2004 may not be getting quite the same value for money out of it as everyone else, it's ultimately hard to quibble about the quality of the football on offer. --Simon Brew
© 2004 Electronic Arts Inc. All rights reserved. The UEFA word, the UEFA EURO 2004TM Official Logo, the Official Mascot and the UEFA European Football ChampionshipTM Trophy are protected by trademarks and copyright. All rights reserved. Player names and likenesses used under license from the International Federation of Professional Footballers ("FIFPro"), national teams, clubs, and/or leagues. adidas, the adidas logo and the 3-Stripe trade mark are registered trade marks of the adidas-Salomon group, used with permission. Roteiro is a trade mark of the adidas-Salomon, group used with permission. All sponsored products, company names, brand names and logos are the property of their respective owners.
Whereas FIFA 2004 had a through-ball feature that was difficult to master, Euro 2004 sees this move refined to become as integral to the game as it used to be to Pro Evo. Not only that, but players make intelligent runs that you'll need to be able to spot and anticipate.
Another refinement is in the off-the-ball system introduced in FIFA 2004. This was so easy that my top scorer had 45 goals in a season because all I had to do was pick him out with an L2 pass. Now it's a much more difficult thing to complete, as defenders block the passes or prevent the target man from getting in a shot.
Of course the graphics are as realistic as you'd expect from the FIFA franchise - almost TV quality. You can choose from playing the full qualification route or going straight to the competition, as well as having a random selection in either. And a new feature introduces the ability to set up your own situation for a one-off game - the score, time left, yellow/red cards etc.
This certainly whets the appetite for FIFA 2005 - finally it's approaching the intelligence and subtlety of Pro Evo, although if forced to choose, I'd still stick with the more intuitive and controllable Pro Evo.
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