October 22, 2000
Formula One. It is by far the most watched racing series in the world, and costs enough money to buy a small country. Each single car is worth millions of dollars and each racing team can have hundreds of people employed full time to keep it running. Racing at over 300km/hour the drivers risk their lives to be the first over the checkered line and claim first place. Because of the worldwide love for Formula One it's not uncommon to see a racing game basedon the series on a new console. In the case of the Playstation 2, there are 3 different Formula One titles due in the first month alone.
Formula 1 Championship Season 2000 is Electronic Arts' Playstation 2 Formula 1 title, and it looks hot. The developers look to have created the most realistic F1 game ever. Electronic Arts have used the power of the Playstation 2 to great effect, with the cars now spinning, flipping, and crashing with realistic results. The amount of detail in this game even extends to the seating in the grandstands, the drivers helmets, visor tear offs and the real-time pit boards. Even the 22 man pit crew has been motion captured using actual mechanics from the Benneton Formula One team to help retain the authenticity.
Thanks to the official license F1 Championship Season 2000 features all the real cars, drivers, and tracks from the 2000 FIA Formula One Championship including the new Indianapolis circuit used in the U.S. Grand Prix. This game includes all the options you would expect in a racing game with several different game modes including the full season as well as a 4 player split screen mode. Naturally, no racing game would be complete with dynamic weather effects which vary between sunshine and rain with a great difference in driving styles and car set up required to complete the race, let alone win. As with most racing games tweaking the car will play an essential part with the ability to change the amount of down force, suspension, gear ratios, brake balance, and even the ride height.
There is little to fault with this game graphically. The cars are superbly detailed with the correct paint jobs from the 2000 season while the paint can be scraped off if the car manages to crash at any stage during the race. The game includes multiple camera angles to give the game an extremely realistic look as well as real-time commentary and pre race talk. In fact, the camera angles in the game have been placed by the actual TV camera director Keith McKenzie, who won the FIA award for best Formula One broadcast coverage during 1999.
Electronic Arts have a fine tradition with sports games however their previous Formula One game wasn't quite up to the standards Formula One games from other developers. Thankfully, Electronic Arts' newest game has definitely improved graphically, and looks just as stunning as any other Formula 1 game in history. What remains to be seen is whether Electronic Arts have improved the gameplay enough to make F1 Championship Season 2000 a must have racing title. I suspect they have.