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Jan 3, 2006
Formula One Championship Edition - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
23/3/2007SonySonySony Europe
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
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Check out the full car damage.
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In the replay mode.

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The game has a great sense of speed.
When it comes to racing series around the globe none is bigger then the FIA Formula One. Sure, the series may play second fiddle in America to their Champ and Indy Cars (actually that would make it third fiddle), but America isn't the world. This game aims to capture the thrills and spills of the series and features all the official cars, circuits, drivers and teams of the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship including Scuderia Torro Rosso, Super Aguri F1 Team and Midland F1 Racing.

Being the first title in the series on Sony's next-generation system you would expect some compromises, but that's not the case with this title. The developers are going all out to make this one of the most comprehensive packages on the market and are including everything. Game modes will include Time Trial, Grand Prix Weekend, World Championship and Career while multi-player will also play a part in the game.

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Montoya leads the pack.
As you can see in these screenshots Formula One Championship Edition will include full collisions between cars. Not only that but the game will include Safety Cars which makes choosing your strategy even more critical to success. It will also be possible to participate in the parade lap before the actual race gets underway. As with most Formula One racing games the developers will give gamers the full ability to turn driving aides on or off taking the game from an arcade styled game to a full simulation.

One of the key features which this game will support is interconnectivity with the PSP. At the E3 show Sony demonstrated the game running with the PSP acting as the rear view mirror. Some treated this as a gimmick, but to me, this is potentially one of the most exciting advancements to the racing genre for some time.

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The graphics are sensational.
If there's one area where the game seems to be somewhat lacking it's with the multi-player. We are still awaiting full confirmation but it appears that the game will support at least 11 players in online modes, with the CPU possibly handling the other 11 cars on track. We don't yet have confirmation of how many players will be possible in offline modes, but 2-player races are likely, and 4-player are possible.

Where we are disappointed is that the developers have chosen to focus the game on the 2006 season, rather then update it for the 2007 season. Sure, the developers have all the information relating to the 2006 cars, drivers, race tracks and so on - and a certain driver known as Michael Schumacher can be included for Ferrari - but by the time this game is released on March 15 2007, the first race of the 2007 season will be only three days later in Melbourne! Perhaps it was unfeasible to include the 2007 season (given that even as at January team drivers haven't been announced, and most cars remain under wraps), but it is disappointing nontheless. Perhaps Sony could have given us downloadable content to update for the 2007 season (and our real dream would be live updates during actual events with weather, real qualification times and starting positions and so on).

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Screaming past the crowds.
Graphically Formula One Championship Edition is a stunner. The developers have included extensive circuit detail and lighting effects, progressive dirt and full car damage (Which you can see in some of the surrounding screenshots). Most impressive though are the wet weather effects. The screen gets some wonderful drips on it which wash away as you pick up pace. The cars also kick up water spray from the track as they move around - with the water handled as individual particles. This makes for one of the most realistic racing experience to date and while it doesn't quite reach the lofty visuals seen in the earlier E3 demos, it's not too far off. The audio will include full surround sound and commentary.

While we do have a bit of a reservation about buying a game in March 2007 which is based on last years season there is no doubt that this is one sexy looking title. If Sony can put as much polish into the gameplay and game modes then we are certain to be onto a winner.