Overview

Ever four years, all the best athletes come together to see who are the best in the world. This year’s Olympics is being hosted in Athens, Greece, the very place where this prestigious event took place in 1896. Of course this means there is going to be a video game trying to capture the Gold! Sony’s 989 Studio has the tough task of putting this all together. Can they capture the Gold with Athens 2004? Read on and find out?

Gameplay

Sometimes I believe we take the Olympics for granted and we forget the how significant this event is. This is the one time every four years the whole world comes together with one common goal to win the Gold. With all the wars going on, and the hate around the world it’s nice to see every four years an event that for the most part puts all this behind them and comes together to enjoy the fine art of sports.

Past Olympic games have been known for being button mashers. All the Olympic games I have ever played haven’t really had much skill involved but instead required the fastest fingers possible. So how does Athens 2004 turn out? Well let’s just say you’re not going to get a whole lot out of the game.

Athens is divided into two main game modes, which are arcade mode and competition mode. The arcade mode is the most basic of the two modes. The arcade mode can basically be considered a practice mode where you can take as many runs through the different events as possible. This is really where most gamers are going to want to start the game learning the different techniques needed to be successful.

The competition mode is really where majority of your time will be spent. In this mode you will basically be thrown into a variety of different types of tournaments depending the event chosen. Some of these tournaments can be quite long and hard while others are the direct opposite - short and easy. I noticed the more and more I played Athens 2004 that this mode was a lot harder then it looks. A lot of events demand perfection on your part, and it will take a lot of time and concentration to meet those goals.

I was disappointed in the fact that there really weren’t any more modes. I would have loved to see an Olympic mode. Besides the award ceremonies in the game you really forget that you are even competing in the Olympics, and that is by far the biggest selling factor in the game. This game really needs some sort of career mode where you would take an athlete from the training grounds to the prelims to the top and go for the gold. In this day and age we have begun to love being connected to our athletes and characters and you get none of this in the game. You just play as the character and that’s it. You can tell in Athens 2004 that there is something missing something that should be there to keep you wanting to come back and play this game for more then a few sittings.

Most and I say most because there are some events that don’t, but most require not much skill at all but instead requite you to push buttons as fast as possible in order to make a certain mark. This is the kind of gameplay that is just plain boring.

Now there are some of the events like archery and skeet shooting that requires skill, while the gymnastic events require rhythm. But all in all Athens 2004 would be considered a button masher through and through.

With that being said, overall the gameplay in Athens 2004 has its ups and downs. The game has a ton of different events to choose from and can be quite a bit of fun to play again friends. But the replay value of the game is lacking in this one, because once you played an event a few times you will get bored and want to move on. There is nothing in Athens 2004 that stands out and says ’you want to play me for hours and hours’ and that’s where Athens 2004 fails.

Graphics

In previous 989 Sports titles we have seen that the company has made strives at creating a much more visually attractive games. As the years have gone by 989 has gotten much better and you can see that they are starting to be able to compete with other sports titles. Now do they keep the same level of graphics with Athens 2004, the simple answer is yes.

The one word that describes the graphics in Athens is consistency. The game is very consistent with its style and approach. Everything has just enough detail and just enough color to make everything very simple yet effective. Playing through all of the events you will find the characters are nicely detailed and the environments all have plenty going on.

Overall I must say I was impressed with the consistent graphics that really do a great job of staying impressive throughout. This had to be the biggest plug the game had, and it did a nice job of it.

Fun Factor

Athens 2004 is a game that has a lot of positives and a lot of things that look like they could make into a good game. But what this game really lacks is depth. It is quite a lot of fun to play in the multiplayer modes but the single player is really lacking. There is nothing in the single player portion of the game that keeps you wanting to play for all that long. You will have fun at first with Athens 2004 but you won’t be playing it for long.

Overall

Athens 2004 has the potential to be a great game, but like I have said a few times in this review the single player mode is really missing that premier mode that I only wish was there. If they had a good solid career mode you would have seen a much higher score! But alas we are given a button masher with very few modes. Athens 2004 remains a wasted opportunity by Sony and 989 to impress sports fans.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.