• Publisher: SCEA
  • Release Date: Jul 14, 2004
  • Also On: PC

Mixed or average reviews - based on 57 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 57
  2. Negative: 8 out of 57
Buy On
  1. 45
    If you're playing Athens for an enjoyable gameplay experience, prepare to absorb a sack of bricks to the wrists. If you're looking for something that authentically and accurately represents the Olympics and all of its components, brace yourself for a disappointment impact not at all dissimilar to getting hit in the chest by a semi-truck.
  2. Athens 2004 certainly looks better than past Olympic Games, but the gameplay itself honestly doesn't improve much on the button mashing and timing-based gameplay that Konami built Track & Field on more than 20 years ago.
  3. This Olympic hopeful loses its flavor after you play through each event just once or twice. [Aug 2004, p.100]
  4. Athens 2004 maybe mostly a button-mashers paradise, but the game is also a great deal of fun. If you like athletic competition on the console systems, this is an easy recommendation.
  5. Cheat Code Central
    This is the kind of game that I would expect to find in a cereal box. At least that way I'd have some cereal to look forward to for the rest of the week.
  6. It’s a great buy at 40 dollars that will leave you with blistered fingers, bruised egos, and tired muscles.
  7. 85
    It's solid enough, with only minor bugaboos as a single-player game, but it really kicks butt with its multiplay.
  8. There's little alternative out there if you're hankering after some old-fashioned twitch gaming wrapped up in beautifully presented threads, but our advice is to make sure you've got some mates to play it with first, or it's likely to end up as one of those titles that you'll quickly tire of if you're on your lonesome.
  9. Athens 2004 might be the least customizable sports game I’ve ever played. You can participate as any one of 64 countries, but you can’t create an athlete. There are no stats, no training, and no career. You pick your country and gender, and the game then just gives you a pre-set runner/jumper/thrower/swimmer who looks the part, ethnically speaking.
  10. 70
    The actual variety among the different events is rather low, a problem that stems in large part from the repetitive, button-bashing nature of most events.
  11. 45
    If you have little cousins who don't care what kind of games you buy them, but just enjoy getting new games for their PlayStation 2, this is what you can get them. If you got it for yourself, you'd probably forget you owned it in about a week.
  12. games(TM)
    It's only the aesthetics that truly let Athens 2004 down. With a clean, unfussy menu system, it's disappointing to find this gives way to rough in-game visuals and limited animation....Nevertheless, the substandard veneer doesn't dim the shine of the gameplay. [Aug 2004, p.113]
  13. A decent Olympics title that’s manages to offer a variety of events while not burning out players by focusing on button mashing mechanics.
  14. Edge Magazine
    The variety of the controls is overdone, making the game complex and confusing, and there's no customisable multiplayer. Nonetheless, this is a welcoming, capable and entertaining take on what gaming used to mean. [Aug 2004, p.106]
  15. After you get past the glossy menus and the cutesy mascots you have what can best be described as an average track and field experience.
  16. AceGamez
    Basic controller requirements, repetitive presentation and an incredibly satisfying multiplayer mode add up to a sporting title that fares far better as a party game than a single player experience.
  17. 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.
  18. Play Magazine
    Expressionless faces, pale skin and similar body types - all of the athletes in the game have a very generic look about them. A little more detail would've made the game that much better. [Sept 2004, p.83]
  19. Best enjoyed as a party game when you can gather a few friends together. The lack of depth, repetitive nature, and missing online feature of the game hamper its long-term appeal.
  20. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    To learn how to perform each event, you need to check the directions from the pause menu; what happened to just explaining the mechanics onscreen? [Sept 2004, p.102]
  21. 70
    Assuming you can stomach play sessions that are short by nature, Athens 2004 offers amusing thrills in spurts.
  22. But at least the dance mat support lends enough to the experience to make it something different and worthwhile -- at least for a rent -- and turns it into a fine workout too.
  23. We defy you to get through an entire tournament and still care whether you win or lose, which is about the best summation of Athens 2004 as we're likely to find.
  24. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    When I was a kid, I used to play my sister in "Summer Games" on our Apple IIe. In Athens 2004, I discovered that Olympics-type gameplay hasn't evolved one iota in the past 20 years. [Aug 2004, p.93]
  25. To new gamers there is appeal but if you already own a game like this then we are sure it can’t offer you anything new or remotely appealing!
  26. PSM Magazine
    The execution of individual events is spotty, unpolished, and sometimes very blandly thought out. [Sept 2004, p.26]
  27. Above all, what Athens 2004 fails to do is capture the spirit of the Olympic games.
  28. There are some things I would have liked to have seen, like using the DDR pad for the whole game, and absolutely no online play. We're in a big online push, and I think this could have been a big thing for this game. But still, it's a solid job.
  29. There's literally no real reason to invest anything more than a 15 minute playthrough in the game.
  30. Let’s be brutally honest, the Olympics is nothing more than a repetitive set of action events compressed, in this modern world, into tedious technical fine tuning of human machinery, buoyed only by ancient tradition rather than entertainment value.
  31. Rent it, beat your own high score (or your friends') and move on to the many other far-better sports titles in the PS2 universe.
  32. With a focus on realism, it's very difficult to have fun with Athens unless you have a group of people and a dance pad. Even with some friends and the right accessories, unless you're really into the athletics scene, your overall enjoyment of the title will be hampered.
  33. netjak
    Games based on the Olympics have changed very little since the days of Epyx Summer games and Konami’s Track & Field series, and this is not a good thing.
  34. Casual gamers may want to pick it up also since it is a rather fun party game and even non-gamers can learn the simple controls in a try or two.
  35. 60
    There's also been a lot of confusion in the gymnastics events where obscure controls seem to have alienated less experienced competitors from taking part at all.
  36. GMR Magazine
    Competing and breaking records proves to be the main source of excitement, but wearing out your fingers gets old fast. [Sept 2004, p.82]
  37. Some events are a lot of fun and will have you pushing hard for that world record that you're so close to, but you'll lose interest in other events in a manner of minutes.
  38. If you already have a track and field game, Athens 2004 is just more of the same.
  39. 59
    The disappointing thing about Athens 2004 is the party-style button-mashing gameplay.
  40. With a few mates around the house Athens 2004 is still a fantastic multiplayer title.
  41. Unfortunately the strict timing required can lead to a lot of frustration and as a result the game can quickly start to feel repetitive.
  42. 60
    Athens is Dance Mat compatible, which opens up the potential for some ridiculous four-way group competition. Unfortunately, Olympic events are intrinsically boring.
  43. Strangely addictive. Your fingers may be hurting and your brain turned off, but the desire to try just once more for a sub-10sec 100 metres will get the better of you.
  44. It is what it is - a simple, easy-to-play party game that can be a riot for multiplayer gaming. It's a fun, hang-around-with-your-friends-and-enjoy-playing-together kind of title. And there's something to be said for that.
  45. The lack of a proper Olympic mode does come as a surprise but is not a major flaw and anyone looking for a solid athletics title with many more sports thrown in could do worse.
  46. The dance pad support might make for a fun party-game right now while the games are on, but then you also must realize that as far as dance pad games though, this doesn’t even hold a camera to Dance Dance Revolution itself.
  47. The biggest fault of the game is the controls scheme. Alternately pressing the X and O buttons for hours will not only result in cramped and blistered fingers, but a concentrated tiredness of the game.
  48. One for multiplayer action mainly then, but still much, much better than the last few Olympic attempts.
  49. The multiplayer offers one of the most addictive and accessible experience since the EyeToy, everyone can play and have fun doing so.
  50. Good multiplayer options will bring out your competitive side, but there are no online modes.
  51. It serves as an adequate time killer (i.e., rental game), even if the gameplay is painfully uninspired and repetitious. Then again, fans of button mashers probably wouldn't have it any other way.
  52. A handful of decent minigames combined with a bunch of absolute stinkers, many of which play identically, doesn’t exactly earn this one the gold.
  53. Weekly Famitsu
    7 / 6 / 6 / 7 - 26 [Vol 816; 6 Aug 2004]
  54. This was a decent title, and comes highly recommended for kids who love to play with the dance mat.
  55. It looks poor, it feels unfinished and there’s almost a sarcastic attitude towards its ridiculous limitations.
  56. An exercise in masochism, as you'll find that the world records within the game are generally easily knocked over. It's only when you can look across the sofa at tired, sore and elated faces and realise that you just lunged over the line at the last second to grasp victory that you'll find Athens 2004 a really worthwhile game.
  57. A game that can only really be recommended to gamers who’ll regularly make use of the multiplayer play.

Awards & Rankings

#86 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2004
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. HenrikS.
    Mar 3, 2006
    Some of the disciplines are quite fun to play, but in general it´s a boring title.
  2. AShea
    Jan 17, 2005
    Fun but tedious. Some games are morre fun than others. Discus is very hard to do. Still entertaining.
  3. JesseW.
    Nov 23, 2004
    Cool but boring and is hard to control.