Codemasters has announced this year's range of its Club Football titles, with PS2, Xbox and (for the first time) PC versions set to launch this coming autumn as the 2004/05 footy season gathers pace.
As you may remember from last year's titles, Club Football is released in various team-specific flavours, featuring nicely branded up menus and all the correct players, managers and statistics. This year's versions are promising twice the amount of official team content, including opening sequences filmed at each club, a Club Album section full of memorabilia, a credit points system to unlock behind the scenes videos exclusive to each game, and a range of classic scenarios, allowing you to join in with famous matches and try and affect the outcome.
Graphically the head and body modelling has been tuned up with new facial animations, so players should be a lot more recognisable and realistic, and each match will benefit from a new atmospheric lighting arrangement - although hopefully not to the detriment of any 'classic' renditions of keeper John Lukic, who once blamed floodlight glare for punching the ball into his own net...
More importantly though, Codies is promising major refinements on the field, where the game didn't score quite as highly as FIFA and PES. A new range of skill moves will allow for quick 135-degree passing, dummies, close controls, stepovers and the like, which was a much-needed change (not least because Ronaldinho presumably joins the Barcelona version this year). The controls are also said to be more precise, and the AI polished.
New teams have joined the line-up this year to boot, including Tottenham Hotspur and Birmingham City from the English Premiership, with other teams still to be announced. Apart from the Spurs and the Blues, fans of Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Celtic, Ranges, Leeds United and Aston Villa will be catered for on the PS2 and Xbox, with Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Ajax editions available to PC owners. Continental European footy fans, meanwhile, will be able to look forward to PS2/Xbox versions of Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Hamburger SV, Bayern Munich, Ajax, Barcelona, AC Milan, Inter, Juventus and more.
As before, players will be able to create themselves within the game and try and help their team to domestic and European success - good news for any Liverpool fans who reckon they could do a better job than the boy Owen did this year...
Expect to see the Club Football 2005 range on shelves this autumn (expect date TBA), and in the meantime you can bask in the glory of ten screenshots culled from various incarnations.