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SummaryRemember MLS Edition? It's basically that, but with a needless coat of paint.
The GoodReleased in 2003, Backyard Soccer 2004 is the last of what the 'classic' look of the Backyard Sports series has to offer. It is also the last release of the Soccer subset as well. Given how the Sports series as a whole never got too far out of the States, I'm not surprised why soccer got kicked out of the lineup.
But I digress, the gameplay will be familiar to those who have already played any of the previous incarnations. Navigating the menu, selecting your options and controlling the action on the field is all done with the same click of the mouse. It's so simple, a six-year-old can do it. I should know, I was that six-year-old who played it constantly at one time.
Other than that, the game works like a well-oiled machine. Very rarely will the game freak out and crash due to a programming error. Even then, it won't be that hard to make up for lost progress. Trust me when I say, it could be a lot worse. *cough* Backyard Basketball. *cough*
It works well, it plays well, the music is fantastic, it looks great. It can very well be your kid's first Football Manager if you want to think of it like that.... oh wait, it wasn't released in Europe. Ah well, I'm sure there is someone in the States who will get what I mean. But this is where the good news ends.
The BadThe bad news is that everything else about the game has been taken down a few pegs compared to the previous versions, which makes me wonder why this game exists in the first place.
I know that I said previously the game has some great gameplay, the computer opponents you'll be playing with aren't a challenge. Yeah, I know... I'm complaining about a kids' game being too easy. But seriously, even on hard, it's still pretty easy to a point I find it hard to believe any kid would find it a challenge.
In fact, I think the AI has actually gotten worse from MLS edition. There are times in the game where if I stopped in a certain spot and let them try to take the ball away, there is a chance that the game would be confused and the opponent will NEVER get the ball (even if they somehow do, at least not without a guaranteed foul).
While we are on gameplay, there is one thing I'd like to complain about. It's going to be weird saying this, but I don't like that there isn't any way to turn power-ups off. I know it's strange given how the power-ups are the high point of the game, but for someone who would like a more skill based challenge the option would be welcomed. And no, this is also a problem with the previous versions too. It's pretty annoying.
The characters have also gotten a voice change too, using a new cast of people to play this cast of one-note characters... and I never really understood why. Maybe it was because the previous cast got too occupied to continue doing it, but for whatever reason, we've got the same studio who did Sonic Adventure doing the voices now.
I wouldn't normally have a problem with a change in voice cast (actually, it gets me a weird sense of hype sometimes), but the problem here is that you have very few people trying to make 30-40 characters sound different from one another. I know you have Lani Minella and Ryan Drummond on board, and yes they are very good at what they do, but they both cannot and should not voice two-thirds of the entire cast. This especially goes to Lani who has it the worst. She is trying her best to make everyone she voices sound unique, but she is not a miracle worker, as it eventually becomes apparent when some of the kids start sounding the same. It makes you wonder what exactly were the people who were making this game thinking?!