|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Liverpool Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sony (SCEA)||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 27, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
The development team at Studio Liverpool has outdone themselves. They've created a Formula One racer that far surpasses any of its predecessors. Formula One: Championship Edition is a F1 racing simulator that has embraced the power of the PS3 and gone for complete realism. The Formula One experience has been fully captured and will have racing fans worldwide going full throttle.
Sitting in the cockpit, piloting your racer around the curves, and ripping down the straightaway will have you believing in the power of Sony's console. I can't get over the sheer beauty of the sun effects in this game. The soft light of a yellow-red sun permeates the clouds and glints brilliantly off the racer's chassis. As you downshift into the turn and then accelerate to slingshot past your opponent, you'll know you've entered the next generation of gaming. This game is excellently crafted. Studio Liverpool has paid meticulous attention to detail. The graphics are silky smooth with absolutely no frame rate lag issues. The intricacies may not jump out at first, but they are what make this game so stunningly realistic. For instance, your pilot's helmet will rattle and shake with the subtle imperfections of the track. As you race along the occasional wet roadway, rooster tails and rain drops will have water streaming across the lens of the onboard camera. The lighting in the game is outstanding. Heat waves will blur the road and the angle of the sun will have you squinting at times. The title leans heavily upon its graphic quality. It does this in order to make the gamer feel as if they are actually racing. Fortunately, there is a lot more to Formula One '06 then just a pretty face.
The gameplay of this racer is truly unique. As the only official interactive game of the FIA Formula One World Championship, there has never been a more technical racing game. All of the official drivers, teams, cars, circuits, and racing rules are included. The layers of options that have been shoehorned into this game are impressive. You will be able to adjust nearly every facet and parameter to suit your ideal racing conditions. Select from various driving aids and screen layouts of control, display, and audio settings. As an added layer of difficulty, try choosing manual transmission rather than the standard automatic option. It will drive you crazy at first trying to get the hang of it, but after the introduction phase, it is what separates the proverbial men from the boys. Additionally, you will be able to choose between five different racing modes including Quick Race, Time Trial, Grand Prix Weekend, World Championship, and Career. These single player modes are simply constituent, less time consuming pieces of this overarching career mode option. The single player portion of the game is solid and will be an individual's training ground for the heated battles which will occur on the multiplayer side. As a professional driver, you will have to test your car before qualification. You will examine how the car is running with varying fuel levels and tire wear. You can adjust your front and rear stabilizers and sway bars. Your team will analyze the data and come up with a car setup and race strategy that will best suit the track conditions. You will go through practice sessions and a three tiered qualification process just like in the Formula One championship.
Career mode is excellent and will provide hours of fun and impressive challenges. In career mode, you will take on the role of an aspiring champion in need of experience and recognition. You will be a part of more humble teams in the beginning, acting as a first driver, a second driver, or a test driver. Your initial driver status will be determined by the team you select. Accepting the invitation of the most unassuming team will thrust you into the role of first driver, but you will be driving a terrible car and will be hard-pressed to bring home any silverware. Your team choice and performance will determine your career path. As you advance through the Grand Prix weekends, your skill will increase and your performances will be noticed by the big boys. Should you so choose, you will be able to switch teams and realize your racer's dream of being Ferrari's lead driver. Or, you can stick with your unpretentious teammates and lead them to Formula One glory. This really is a team sport, and you will get tips and pointers throughout the race to let you know where you stand and when to come in to the pits. Pit stops are fun and are a mini-game of their own. Pit stops require players to quickly change the tires, fill up the gas tank, and change out the fins and spoilers in seconds flat.
The gameplay in this title is further boosted by excellent controls. Choose between Sony's Sixaxis controller or the entire line of Logitech Steering wheels. The analog sticks of the Sixaxis are precise and sensitive, allowing the gamer to adjust the steering, braking, and acceleration to neatly suit the lay of the track. The controls also feature motion sensing technology. The Sixaxis controller does a decent job with this, but because it has such a rudimentary gyro, the tilt controls are a bit of a gimmick. While in tilt mode, you'll find the steering difficulty has been smoothed over, making the motions fluid and simple to use, but probably a bit too simple. You will easily pass the competition and find your racer almost magically hugging the ideal lines. The analog control schemes are where it's at, and competitive gamers will accordingly gravitate to them. The control mapping overall is very good, and you will be able to select between seven different control setups. Unfortunately, there is only one tilt control setup. So, if you choose to use it, hopefully you'll like how the buttons are mapped. I felt it was a bit awkward, and found my hand getting cramped quickly.