Formula One Championship Edition PS3 Review

August 5, 2008

ChattahBox reviews Formula One Championship Edition on the PS3Formula One Championship Edition

PS3 Review
Publisher: SCE Studios Liverpool
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
Rating: E
Players: 1-11

Formula One racing is one of those sports which have its own core fan base around the world where they will go to great lengths to follow and enjoy one of their favorite high-octane pastimes.

The thing though is that with that fan base, it becomes increasingly difficult to create a video game because they demand a great deal of realism in the sport similar to the likes of the Gran Turismo series.

Formula One is all about high speeds, hairpin turns, and lightning fast reflexes to make quick decisions and come out on top. That is exactly hat SCE Studios Liverpool attempted here with Formula One Championship Edition on the PlayStation 3.

It is rather difficult to create a game that appeals not only to the hardcore fans but also to the fans out there who may be interested in the game, but do not know a great deal about the actual sport of F1 racing. Thankfully though, SCE Studios Liverpool has managed to strike a balance and certainly please the diehard fans while keeping the game accessible to the masses, more on that later….

One of the main aspects of Formula One Championship Edition is the visuals of the game which are bar none some of the most impressive next-generation visuals we have seen to date, especially on a racer. The game has an amazing sense of speed and truly puts you behind the wheel of an F1 car going at blistering speeds and feeling out the course as you try to maneuver for that first place finish.

The tracks themselves have been modeled from actual F1 tracks around the world and look absolutely fantastic. The texture work done on the roads, cars, etc. is all top notch and even though it may not push what the PlayStation 3 is capable of, it certainly does show off the power of the console to an extent.

The only complaints which could be put forth with the visuals in Formula One are that the scenery is not as detailed as it could have been. Granted with the F1 official tracks and keeping up with the authenticity of it all, what the developer Liverpool was able to do was limited. They did do a fine job though with what was there, albeit though with a little less detail compared to what you actually see whizzing around.

The effects though here are top notch as you will be blazing along at a constant and steady framerate whipping around turns when all of the sudden two cars ahead of you collide. This could result in a spark, a little bang, and a few tires and cars going flying over your head without a hitch in the action. It is these instances which will truly amaze you if you get into the experience enough.

As stated once the visuals here grab you, you are going to want to get into this game whether you want to be right in the driver’s seat camera or sitting a little farther back watching over your car.

The game is set up so that just about all difficulty settings can be adjusted to an extent. You will be able to turn on quite a few aids in the game to help you with your driving if you are not seasoned enough to take on the course with full simulation rules in effect. This means that you have the opportunity to do things such as turn off crashes, turn on driving aids, turn on markers to help you steer, drive, brake, etc. All of these options are present and accounted for and allow the gamer to customize the experience to fit their needs.

The veterans of Formula One are just going to want to jump right into the good stuff, which is also here in full force. Once you get above the easy difficulty setting and jump into medium you are immediately faced with some stiff A.I. which is sure to test any racer’s skills. The medium difficulty setting and upward is extremely unforgiving meaning if you do not break at the right time and take the turn the right way you may quickly find yourself spun out or with some serious damage to your vehicle.

A great deal of strategy has also been put into place in this game when such things as crashes occur providing you with options as to when to pit, and when to take a chance and keep on firing along. Formula One Championship Edition from a gameplay standpoint is something that can appeal to the masses, but is truly a simulation fan’s dream as the cars handle very realistically, true to life, and just as unforgiving.

Formula One Championship Edition is a very deep single-player experience with two main game modes.

One game mode is the Career mode which allows you to create a racer of your own and take them through a career. In this mode you will start out without a team, sponsor, nothing. You will right off the start have to qualify with a certain time to either be invited on a team if you are good enough, or take on the role of a driver’s assistant for awhile until you are worthy to drive on your own.

This mode is actually quite difficult as it requires a great deal of skill to actually get into a race. Once you do though and you are able to join a team with your very own racer it can be an extremely rewarding experience as the work does pay off once you put in the time, learn your car, tune it to get better lap times, and learn how to truly race and tear it up out on the track.

The other mode in the game simply allows you to take on the role of one of the professional driver and play through a full Formula One season as you try to capture the championship. This mode is far more accessible for novice players than the Career mode since you do not have to quality to join a team.

You are allowed to select a professional racer here and take him onto the track and take on his role as you try to capture the win. This doesn’t mean that you will win automatically and that it is easy though as you will still need to know what you are doing or the only thing you will be seeing is the bottom of the standings.

The game features a very respectable online mode as well as it allows up to 11 people to race it out online in their F1 cars. This mode allows you to show off your skills or get beat down completely and embarrassed, either way, it is highly competitive, smooth, and a great deal of fun. Some things are missing from the online mode though which could have been great additions. One addition missing is a spectator mode of sorts.

It would have been great if you could log on and watch the highest ranked player in the world race around the track and make you completely jealous of his ridiculous skills. Or it could have been great to log on and watch the last time you whooped your buddy around that tight turn on the final lap. Maybe next year a mode such as this will be added as well as possibly a season mode online.

Formula One Championship Edition is what it is. The game is a very solid and top-notch F1 racing experience, probably the best ever created. That does not mean though that every gamer should go running out and pick this one up as it is not something that is going to appeal to everyone.

True hardcore racing fans though who want the total simulation experience, penalties, rev limits, pit stops, etc, should look no further than Formula One Championship Edition to fill that void on the PlayStation 3, at least until Gran Turismo officially releases on the console.

The game features some top notch visuals as well as very solid audio and tight, yet difficult to master, gameplay which can be adjusted to please the novice racer to an extent.

While the game is not perfect, for a launch window racing title, it may be your best bet for a simulation racing experience on the PlayStation 3 in the current and foreseeable future.

Graphics: 8.0 – Highly detailed texture and car models make for a visually pleasing experience. The tracks look great and the sense of speed pulls you into the game.

Sound: 7.5 – Solid Dolby Digital sound with great sound effects such as crashes.

Gameplay: 8.5 Tight simulation controls which can be adjusted to please novice racers as well, great customization options.

Replay Value: 8.3 The single player modes with the Career mode and the season mode give a lot of depth and the online play, yet minimal, extend the life of the game once you master the driving.

Final Score: 8.2


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