Formula One 2002
Formula One 2002 images
Review of Formula One 2002
One light lit…two...three…four…the fifth light winks in to life…your body shakes from the vibration of the engine behind your head – its screams deafening you. The lights go out and the launch control fires your 800 horsepower Formula One racer forward out of a cloud of exhaust and tyre smoke…
OK this is usually the bit where we set the scene for the reader – but its an Formula 1 game – its got all the tracks and cars – and usually they aren’t as predictable as the real thing.
Not much of a scene setting I will admit but I do promise things will get better – honestly!
The game starts with setting up a user profile and once this is complete, you get to see a rather stylised opening movie – then its straight into the action.
There are more game modes in this title than you could shake a stick at – Quick Race, Arcade, Time Attack, Simulation, Spectator (simply watch a race) and others to unlock. These are then divided in to the usual single, championship etc but there is also the addition of the very unusual hot seat – 2 players using a single controller – fun but confusing!
The graphics are seriously sweet – major improvement on the last title and though there is the occasional drop in the frame rate (you will wonder was it/wasn’t it? when you see it) Formula 1 2002 does not clunk along like its predecessor.
All the cars are there in their 2002 liveries and all the tracks are provided in 2002 season layout - for better or worse.
The tracks themselves are a sight to behold – you could be watching TV its that good. Plus the pit crews are there in force and one member of the team comes up to lift the constructors trophy should you win the race – and it’s a different member ever race too!
But the best is yet to come – the wet racing is this game’s tour de force – it is astonishingly beautiful with pools of standing water, running water and some wonderful reflections.
The sound is also spectacular – all the cars sound very different and each had different braking/accelerating sounds and the damage rattles are all there. The Arcade racing has Murray Walker commenting whilst the Simulation has almost constant chatter from the pits – which you can replay the last statement of if it came at a difficult moment. The intro and outro to each race weekend is provided by ITV pair Allen and Brundle and it can be interesting – with Brundles bit giving a few clues as how to set the car up.
I have only one complaint with the sound though – the engines just do not sound beefy enough – but maybe that’s just me.
Since this is a racing game, it is going to live or die by its handling so how does this latest offering from Studio Liverpool fare?
Pretty damn well is the answer.
Quick Race and Arcade are a little over the top but do provide a good feel for the car and how its balanced before getting to the simulation mode – and all the cars handle differently – including the tyres – the Michelin shod machines suffer the same problems as the real cars with the rubber fading in and out during the race!
The cars can feel a little vague if you do not apply much downforce but other than that its highly controllable and always predictable – a major benefit when the racing is close and tight.
The cars react a little too violently at times though when using the DS2 controller so you may have to reduce the steering angle to compensate – it seems more and more racing games are being optimised for the wheel.
The set-up menus have changed in this title making it simpler to set the car – however you cant get the set-up just as prefect to your style as in the previous incarnation but in saying that its still great and means that you don’t spend hours sitting tweaking your front camber and anti roll bars!!
My two biggest gripes about Sony’s last F1 effort was the massive slowdown – which has been almost ironed out here and the near murderous AI – which seemed to always follow one line – no matter if you happened to be there first. Happily this is no longer the case either.
Whilst the AI drivers may not be best buddies with you the do seem to back off when you go to lap them – although this willingness decreases as the difficult level increases - and they are nowhere near as interested in hitting you. Wonderful to be able to race a full race with the damage on and the only thing you have to worry about is you hedging the car…ahh!
My final little sideswipe at this F1 title is in relation to its gearboxes – yes you get the automatic but you are given the chance to use a “semi-automatic”. Er...no you are not – this semi auto is what every other game calls its manual box and it’s a pain in F1 games due to the high number of rapid gear changes per race – unless of course you are using a wheel.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Formula One 2002' 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 Rory Kelly © Absolute PlayStation
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