If you are already a fan of TCM then you will be wondering "what's new"?
The good news is that the new features that have been added to TCM 2004 are major changes. Sometimes with annual titles like TCM you can find that other than the reshuffle of players and managers between clubs there is not enough in the way of advancement to warrant another cash outlay.
o Football Fusion - A unique and innovative feature that allows you to manage your favourite club from Total Club Manager, make the necessary managerial changes and then play the new and improved team in FIFA 2004.
o More Leagues and Players - Total Club Manager 2004 now has an impressive 50 leagues (on PC) including the English Premiership and Nationwide leagues, French Ligue 1&2, Bundesliga 1&2, Spanish Primera Division 1 and Division B as well as many more. There are now over 30,000 FIFPro players and more than 25,000 up-and-coming youth and generated players.
o 3D Matchplay AI / Tactics - Total Club Manager 2004 utilises the FIFA 2004 3D match engine (PC). The AI will be the most advanced and complete within the management genre. The advancements in both player and team AI reflects the tactical features controllable in TCM's front end. This includes customised formations, individual player orders, passing styles and offside traps.
o Realism is Everything - Total Club Manager 2004 pushes the realism to ensure it's the most immersive and authentic management game on the market. New and improved features include a realistic transfer market, which simulates real-life transfers based on player reputations, transfer windows and current market values. Other realistic features include reserve squads and their matches based on reserve league structures; more lifelike player attributes and authentic kits, crests and chants of the major teams.
o Stadium Editor (PC) - This innovative feature within Total Club Manager allows the player to create fully customisable stadiums that are unique creations or replicas of existing grounds. Increasing the capacity of the stadium will improve revenue potential for the club. These stadiums will also be viewable in 3D match mode.
o Player Missions - During the course of the season, missions will be presented to the player that add new and exciting challenges to their career. Such missions include trying to save a club from relegation or attempting to take a team from mid-table mediocrity to promotion within the last ten games of the season.
Matches played can be viewed using the 3D engine, text mode, or just show the final result. The 3D engine is definitely the most entertaining of the three and if you are not in a hurry to progress it is by far the best option. The 3D mode uses the FIFA 2004 graphics engine and is by far the best I have seen in a managerial game so far. You can actually see the effect your tactics and squad selection has on your team and when playing it you feel like you are totally in-control of your team, you can then react to what you see on the field and pick a better squad or formation for the next match capitalizing on your team's strong and weak aspects.
Total Club Manager 2004 is the most complete soccer management game to date. It is not the most detailed title for statistics but with the football fusion option and truly entertaining 3D rendered matches you could do a lot worse. If you are the kind of person that shouts at your TV when watching your favorite team through that all important match away then this game could be the perfect remedy to your frustrations. Build the best team ever.
8.7 out of 10