The tussle for football gaming supremacy between giants EA and Konami has long since gone to extra time, with no victor emerging to dominate the market as of yet. With this in mind, EA have attempted to revolutionise the whole football experience.
Turning to the UEFA Champions League for inspiration, they've tried to instil this latest variant on the FIFA theme with more cinematic panache than Lord of the Rings. Nice idea lads, but what exactly does that mean?
Well, the fairytale goes that your fave club suddenly gets a new Roman Abramovich-like chairman. Complete objectives (e.g. win by a three goal margin) and Chelsea-esque amounts of riches will be on offer for you to boost your Champions League squad.
Fail, and the big guy will come down harder on you than Duncan Ferguson's size 14s.
There are also plenty of bonus unlockables on offer if you make the grade. These include beach ball mode, 'Blindfold the ref' (anything goes in the tackle!) and invisible walls on the pitch, making for a frenetic experience akin to indoor footy.
From what we saw of the simulation side of the game, UEFA is superficial but fun. The transfer market, for instance, is simply a matter of clicking on any opposition player you like the look of.
If you can afford the transfer fee and are riding high in the league or Champions League then chances are he'll come. If not, you'd better look elsewhere buddy.
Gameplay-wise, the game looks sharp and plays almost as well as Cruyff's Barca side of the early '90s.
Boasting a combination of EA know-how and a tweaked version of the tried-and-tested FIFA engine, UEFA will surely be right up there come the end of the season. Looks like the championship just became a three-horse race.
UEFA Champions League 2004-05 is out for Xbox, PS2, Gamescube and PC on 4 February