F1 Championship Season 2000
Review of F1 Championship Season 2000
The camera pans down onto a full grid at Silverstone. Heat-haze can be seen rising from the rear of each car and the noise is deafening. Lights change, engines scream, cars lurch forward almost as one and we are off… Into the first tight corner and the brakes are applied hard, the engine stutters as it quickly drops from 7th to 1st gear, throwing the drivers head to one side as the g-forces take their toll. An accident ahead requires evasive action, cars can be seen in the air; tumbling over and over. You fight to regain control but cant help clipping one of the barriers, taking off a wing in the process. Into the pits and a full squad of mechanics descend on the vehicle, each man knows his task and the whole procedure is played out before your very eyes like something from swan lake… can this be real..?
Sony promised us a console that would take us closer to real life than we could ever imagine and during my first few races of F1 Championship Season 2000, I was convinced that this vision had become reality.
Graphically this is so much better than anyone could have imagined a first generation racer to be. Cars look photo-realistic in the replays, to the degree where the hair on the back of my neck stood to attention. I found myself transfixed by the tires as they gradually changed color due to wear and became distracted by the eerie smoke and water spray effects generated by them.
Flips and crashes are nothing short of spectacular, with vehicles often ending upside down. Wheels buckle and wobble on their retaining ropes allowing you to limp back to the pits for repairs. Contact with others leaves battle scars all over the bodywork.
If this wasnt enough, then those readers who have their system hooked up to a quality hi-fi are in for a treat. Speeding past overhead signs and bridges, the whooshing sound of the wind is so realistic; changing in volume and balance depending on speed and track position. The engine characteristics have been captured with such clarity that you can fully understand why drivers use earplugs and details such as the sudden rise in revs as the vehicle skips over un-even sections of track, make for an un-nerving experience.
Although this game has the same title as EA Sports latest PSone Formula 1 game, it bears practically no resemblance to its younger brother. In order to meet the time constraints put on the release date of the PS2 version, this has been stripped down into a very basic racing game. Sure all of the tracks, cars and drivers are there, but gone is the track instruction section, scenario mode, flexible qualifying and telemetry areas, advice from the pit crew… the list goes on and on.
Déjà vu… Groundhog Day… call it what you will, but it definitely feels like I have been here before.
To explain, I need to take you back to 1996, when the PlayStation console received its very first Formula 1 game. Everyone was hugely excited by the appearance of a game that had 17 circuits, 26 cars on track at once and had graphics that were way ahead of its time. The trouble was that nothing of this complexity had been done before on the console and as a result those who played the game regularly began to report a long list of bugs that were present in the game.
Zooming forward to present day we find ourselves in much the same situation… new console, first F1 game and a host of niggling little things that you wouldnt expect to have crept through the beta testing stage of its development. This time its computer controlled cars that brake SO early for sharp corners that you can fly past them with your eyes shut. They also spend most of the first lap getting stuck in huge traffic jams and as the race progresses seem to get locked together in nose-to-tail convoys - catapulting you from 5th to 1st in one maneuver. Less annoying are the back markers that slam into you while trying to get out of the way, only to accelerate past you again once overtaken, and tires that seem to wear out within a few laps. Also, you cant speed up the clock in the qualifying session and so have to sit around for an hour if you want to be sure that no-one betters your time.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'F1 Championship Season 2000' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Stevie Vincent © Absolute PlayStation
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