Racing games have always been a big part of the video game industry, whether they are games based on real sports, or if thy are just fictional racing games. Games based on real sports, whether NASCAR or Formula One (F1) haven’t fared as well, mainly because they have been held down by the restrictions of the real sport. Now with the Playstation 3 being released we are checking out the newest Formula One game that Sony hopes to show off the power of their new console. So how does Formula One Championship Racing do on the PS3? Read our full review to find out!
It has been a while since we have seen a big Formula One racing game here in the United States. They have been popular outside of the States, where the sport is much more popular but the F1 fans here in the US have been left empty handed. I remember when Sony first started to talk about them bring Formula One back to the PS3, and after seeing the first few screen shots it really looked like the game would be quite a thrill. Also at the time they talked about PSP connectivity, by using your PSP as a rear view mirror, unfortunately that feature was taken out. With that being said, the game has lived through the hype and now it’s time to get into the final product.
I have never been the biggest professional racing fan, on the average weekend you won’t see me turn on much racing. However Formula One racing has this edge to it because of the smaller cars, extremely high speeds, and interesting courses it has always been one of the more interesting racing experiences to watch. Taking this to the PS3 seems like a great idea, because as you will see right when you first get into a race, that Sony has pulled all the stops to recreate the F1 experience in all of its glory.
The most important part of any F1 racing game has to be the racing, which if done right can be an extremely satisfying experience. Formula One Championship Racing manages to really capture the most amazing depiction of the sport I have ever had the chance of experiencing. You will start out in the game with having some guidelines on the tracks of where you should be slowing down and accelerating, trying to make your learning curve in the game a bit easier. As you get further into the game, the lines are no longer necessary and the racing just turns up a few notches. Formula One Championship Racing has such an amazing feel to it, and manages to really capture the F1 feel that very few games have been able to.
There are a few different modes offline that you can have your way with, but I believe most of your time will be spent in the game’s career mode which is a five year deep career that really allows you to get inside the racing by trying out the tracks before you qualify, then qualifying, and then the actual race. Coming up with strategies on pit stops and turns are also crucial to your success, as winning a race is no walk in the park. I found that you could make a few minor mistakes, but one major mistake would leave you out of contention completely. So you do have to be careful, and the more you play the game the more you will get used to its distinct style.
Formula One Championship Racing does have some online play that manages to really impress me. Much of the online racing done in the last generation of consoles happened with a good deal of lag. However in this game I found that problem to be a lot less frequently, with some of the best online gameplay on the PS3, outside of Resistance Fall of Man. The online play I found to be my personal favorite, as racing against other human opponents really tested my racing ability and made for an even more challenging experience.
So you may be wondering, well Joel, you have been 100% positive with this game thus far, is it that good? Well in some cases yes this game is that good, however that are a few things that stopped it from being great. For me I have already mentioned I am not all that into racing, and having just the slightest bit of knowledge in Formula One, I felt completely out of place with this game for the first hour or so of playing. The game doesn’t give enough insight into what you’re supposed to be doing when picking a team, or the format of the races. It sort of just makes you learn on the fly or read up on it. Also the gameplay at times felt a bit unbalanced, as I mentioned earlier with making mistakes. I found that at times if you did do some really poor turns that some of your opponents would have a slight tendency to slow down and at least give you a fighting chance of not coming in last.
Overall the gameplay of Formula One Championship Racing is top notch, with just a few minor issues holding it back from being great. The online play is fast and furious, and from my experiences held up with little to no lag. The offline play is as good as they come, with a truly realistic gameplay, backed solidly by the responsive controls and smart AI.
I have already mentioned Resistance: Fall of Man once in this review, and that was comparing the online experience between the two. And now for the first time ever I am comparing a shooter with a racing game in this review. I compare the two because these two are the best looking games the PS3 has to offer right now. Both of these games take the visuals to the next level, with superb details and realistic physics that really make you feel that you spent your $600 in the right place. The beauty of each race is something to be admired and something that never got old when I was playing this game. You could literally walk into a room and mistake this game with someone watching F1 on TV - it’s that good.
The game was really missing a tutorial mode, or just more direction in general. If you’re not into Formula One racing then you might have a bit of work to figure out exactly what you’re supposed to do in this game outside of racing. Also as I mentioned, the computer AI at times does feel a bit lenient on allowing you to get back into a race if you are in the back of the pack. Also the AI does allow for some non-conventional styles of driving, like ramming opponents to keep from skidding out of a turn, which does hinder the experience just a bit. In the end though, the great gameplay, the amazing online and offline modes really make for an engaging and intense racing experience.
I really do hope that people go out and try to pick up a copy of this game and really see what a great racing title it. Just to reiterate, I am not a huge racing fan, however Formula One Championship Racing really made me get into F1 racing more than I have ever been. This game has all the right features needed to make for a great racing game. It still has a bit of room to improve, but the final product of Formula One Championship Racing is fantastic and definitely worth a look.
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.