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April 19, 2007
Formula One Championship Edition - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
23/3/2007SonySonyStudio Liverpool12-11
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Damage to the cars is impressive.
We love Formula One here at so it was with much excitement that we received our review copy of this PS3 launch title, Formula One Championship Edition. With the official FIA license this is the only game that will contain the official teams, drivers, cars and tracks. With Sony's power horse behind this game it promises to be one of the best recreations of the sport of all time. As you can imagine the game includes plenty of offline single player modes, and some decent online modes as well. As expected the game includes regular game modes such as single race, but that's just the beginning.

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Alonso leads the pack.
Certainly the best way to play this game is the massive 5 year career mode. It encompasses everything you would expect including test driving for teams, entering races, talking to you management and so on. Before a race weekend you can literally spend hours tuning the car, entering practice sessions, then qualifying. Then you hit the race, which - if you select the full race - will last over an hour. It's tough and brutal but fortunately if you're a newcomer to the sport then you'll probably want to turn on many of the driving aids, including traction control, spin recovery, braking assistance and even car damage. In fact that's one of the great things about this game you can virtually take it from an arcade styled 'easy' racer to a full on 'hardcore' simulation. Considering that each season could take you a minimum of 12 hours or so to complete this is a monster title.

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Now that's a mixture of cars!
In terms of multi-player there is no option for split-screen which is a disappointment however the developers have included Online and LAN gameplay. We haven't played the game on a LAN, however we have played this game online quite a bit and overall the experience was quite positive. The game allows for a full 22 car grid, although only 11 Human players can participate in each race. Naturally you can select the track, your cars, and if you want to enter a championship. AI cars can also be set to be 'invisible' so you can't be damaged by those cars in races (and you can actually drive right through them!) while other human racers can collide with you. The biggest problem we had is finding other players online at the same time. The Australian servers rarely get over a dozen users online at the moment, however you can also connect to the European servers where there are a lot more players (around a hundred), but a bit more lag. Naturally we expect the number of players online to increase as more sales are achieved for the PS3, and this game.

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Checking out the replay mode.
Certainly my biggest complaint about this game is simply that it uses the 2006 season statistics, teams, drivers and tracks. Given that the game was released after the commencement of the 2007 season I find that almost inexcusable. I guess, though, you can at least have one more race with Michael Schumacher which is a bonus. Formula One Championship Edition also allows you to use the Sixaxis' tilt mechanism to steer the cars, however it's certainly a lot harder to accurately steer compared to the analogue stick which I think most gamers will switch to sooner rather then later - in fact the game defaults to the analogue stick anyway.

Graphically this game (which runs at 720p) is quite solid. It's not the best we've seen on the PS3, but it's never a game where you ask why the developers didn't push the engine a bit more or improve certain aspects. The cars all look splendid and there's a definite sense of speed in the game. Weather effects, and the rain in particular, deserves a mention as it is quite possible the best we've ever seen. Never have I had such a sense of how much danger Formula One racing drivers are in then when I was sitting in the spray behind the cars only a few meters ahead!

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The cars are accurately modeled.
Audio in the game is a bit of a mixed bag. As you can understand it is primarily made up of engine noises from the 22 cars on track and there's the odd bit of music in the menus. What should have been a highlight though, the commentary, actually turned out to be quite disappointing. The reason, a lack of actual commentary. The Blu-Ray format can hold a whopping 50GB on the disc, but the amount of commentary in this game seemed about the same as that in the PS2 versions of the series. In fact, when you're playing online there is no commentary at all. I would love to here a "You've moved up to 10th" or "The leader is 12 seconds ahead of you" so you don't have to look at the stats all the time. That simple look away often causes you to slam into the wall, or move off the ideal racing line. Surround sound is used however there's not much to get excited about with the engines overwhelm everything.

Formula One Championship Edition is an impressive game for a launch title. The graphics are solid, the gameplay enjoyable and online seems solid enough. Where the disappointment comes in for me is the fact that this game is based on last years season, and not this year. That is quite unforgivable given that the game launched (admittedly only by days) after the 2007 season kicked off. Still, racing fans will enjoy this title.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSDecent cars and presentation, but tracks look a bit fake still.
SOUNDAdequate engine noises but little else to get excited about.
GAMEPLAYYou can toggle a tonne of things to make it an arcade racer, or sim.
VALUEThis is a solid title that will take time to get through at only $AU99.00. Based on last years season though!
OVERALLFormula One Championship Edition is a solid racing game for fans fo the sport. The big disappointment is that it's based on the 2006 season, but technically this game is solid in all areas.

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