Review: Formula One Championship Edition

Review: Formula One Championship Edition
Review: Formula One Championship Edition

Fans of Formula One don't get a lot to play these days; PlayStation 3 owners yearning for a good car racing game get even less. Luckily, Sony's guys at Liverpool Studios have done something about it and made a fun racer based on last year's Formula One roster. So, if you're someone who doesn't particularly care that Michael Schumacher is still racing in this game and that Anthony Hamilton isn't in it, then grab your disc and stick it in your PS3 and have yourself some fun.

Formula One CE plays pretty easily for first time gamers. I'm a first-time gamer for the PlayStation 3 and I'm telling you it plays nicely defaulting to the easiest level you can imagine. There are no tire blowouts, no engine failures, and the game seems to handle pretty much all of the breaking for you when it's this easy. Sure, you can still make a mess of it, but it's been handed to you on a silver platter and that's a lot nicer for people like me who aren't used to the game yet. When you decide to crank up the difficulty, Formula One CE will happily respond giving you an edgy experience much like what real-life might offer where one tap on the back and you can be taken out.

The gameplay is as diverse as I'd expect you could be on a Formula One racer with you being able to attack the game through either a quick race, time-attack, or even creating your own driver. With the career mode, you'll be able to stretch a race and compete in the warm-ups, the qualifying, and the race all to the points that you would normally have to which is nice for race fans.

As you drive, you'll notice that the sense of speed is brilliant. It's just an awe-filled motion with everything blurring past you as your car rips through the circuits. Graphically, the game performs. The cars are modeled beautifully and in replay mode, the cars really do shine. The track buildings and backgrounds could do with some work, but you're not racing Monte Carlo or Melbourne to look at the landscape. As such, the background doesn't draw your eye away from the action like it does in some games. When it rains, the effects are very cool. It might not be easy to play when the heavens pour down on you, but it's well worth it for the eye candy. Drips fall on your helmet blurring your vision and as you drive, the g-forces push the droplets away from the centre. It's very, very cool.

And then there's the other side of Formula One Championship Edition.

The menus could do with a lot of work. In fact, if they'd done any less work you'd have to construct the menus out of construction paper and scissors. They're the sort of thing you'd expect on a cheap DVD, not a full-production game like this.

The control schemes aren't the most brilliant ever thought up and the lack of force-feedback in the PlayStation 3 controller really means that the cars don't provide any responsive action at all. For the most part, it feels like you're driving on air and as a result, you kind of feel that you're not giving the road all you have. That's more of a problem with the hardware and not the game, but they're both connected and the controls don't help to reinforce that you're driving a million dollar racer on a racetrack.

The sound leaves a lot to be desired. There's some dialogue between your crew in the pit and the commentators, but it seems sparse and you feel more alone in your car than what most racing games feel. It doesn't help that the engine doesn't really scream like a Formula One car normally would. The sound should tear at your ear like someone is shoving a screwdriver in for some apparent reason and yet it feels more like a background noise you could drown out. The crashes, thuds, crunches, and other noises you'd expect to hear from a violent bang in the race too seem muddled and could do with being a bit clearer and more vibrant.

Unfortunately, the career mode is a bit limited with regards to making your own driver. Very few heads are available to customise the look of your player and all of are male. This is fine if you consider that all current Formula One drivers are male, but could be seen as a bit irritating and possibly sexist if you're a girl that would like to play as a girl in this game.

Even with these flaws, however, Formula One Championship Edition shows itself to be a pretty capable and fun racer for the PlayStation 3. There isn't a lot out there as it is for current Formula One gaming and while this game has problems, Liverpool Studios is still a wickedly good ride for what it's worth.

Developer- Liverpool Studios
Publisher- Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Classification- G
Formats- PlayStation 3
URL- Formula One Championship Edition

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark

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