Formula One Championship Edition (PS3) Early Thoughts

I am not ready to make any proclamations about the greatness of this game (or the lack there of) because I have only played the game for a few minutes.  I will say that I picked up this game for three reasons.  First, most reader feedback on various boards seems very positive.  Second, I am always interested in a sold racing simulation.  Finally, there are just not a lot of compelling options in the PS3 library right now.  If you are not a fan of racing simulations, I am not sure why you would bother with this game, much less write a negative review.

With that out of the way, I think this game is very accessible to fans of arcade racing.  Sure, if you are looking for Gran Turismo style racing and a variety of car types, you are going to be disappointed.  After all, this is a fully licensed F1 game.

So far I have only messed around with the quick race mode, which allows you to easily jump in and start racing.  You get to pick circuits and drivers based on the 2006 season.  You also get to pick a variety of driver aids, AI difficulty, damage, mechanical failures, and probably a few others that I cannot remember to mention.  This should make the game easily accessible to most gamers.

Case in point, I ran a three lap race at Indy as Scott Speed, with all driver aids turned on, and easily came in first after starting from the last position.  This victory opened a classic Ford Lotus (I do not remember the year), which is available for the time trail mode.

Next up, Joshua, my eight year old son, ran the same race as one Michael Schumacher; he managed to finish fifth.

I then changed some of the options; I adjusted some of the driver aids, I turned on damage, enabled fuel and tire use consumption, setting up Scott Speed for an eight lap Indy race.  I rallied from back of the pack to a solid fifth place before my disastrous pit stop half way through the race.  My stop took a slow 18 seconds; I had some wing damage, and I did not quickly respond to the pit sequence (you are presented with a series of buttons to press).  I left pit lane in 15th place, but I managed to pull off a seventh place finish after some, shall we say, overly aggressive driving.  The end result was a lot of fun.

I know some of you are going to think this is strange feature to talk about, but there is a suburb mode that allows you to watch an AI race.  It looks like you can also save a race (or maybe a reply).  I am not sure how to do this, because I could not find a replay option when I looked for it in the middle of one of my races.  The graphics in this mode are just balls out impressive – you can change from driver to driver, and are afforded eight different views including some impressive side-pod views.  The level of graphical detail, which hints at the game’s excellent physics engine, is amazing to watch.  You see drivers heads moving with every bump and turn on the track, and even the reflective visors display what is going on around the driver.  Good stuff.  I doubt I will sit around watching the AI race, but it was a very interesting distraction.

I am not even at the preverbal tip of the iceberg with this one, but from a fun factor standpoint, this one looks promising.


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