Although I am a fan of racing games and will enjoy the majority of racing games available on the modern day consoles, however regardless of my little obsession with a good racing game, I have never seen favour in any Formula 1 Racing games before, and believe me I've tried a few, from Racing Simulator 3 to the newest and oldest Formula 1 series games on the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox. So you imagine my surprise when I lend my friend's copy of the latest Formula 1 (2009) on PSP, of course it being on the PSP I expected even less than I would have if it was on the Xbox 360 or the Ps3, but the game was actually quite addictive and I spent many late nights trying to complete races and progress through the game.
What Do You Do?
Basically it's a Formula 1 Racing Simulator, the aim of the game is to race for your manufactures team. You have to get the most points in a season to win and become the best driver and in turn try and get your manufacture to the top of the leader border as well. The concept is simple and the career mode doesn't give you much variety, so basically you have to race through the given races until you finish the season and hopefully come top of the leader border.
This is the part of the game I was addicted too, although it is a pretty simple game and doesn't give you that much variety like other games do for instance Need for Speed Shift allows you to slightly modify your car and add paint jobs and graphics, this game doesn't allow you to do anything as such, however it still managed to grip me. Basically you chose how much support you want in the game, it giving you options like Manual Gears, Assistance in Breaking, A Guide Line and so on, so initially if you select them all, all you have to do it accelerate and steer throughout each race, which would make the game very easy, the less you choose the more difficult. I choose all options on so the game was almost playing itself at some points, although this is slightly cheating, but I find that this game is kind off relaxing and much more fun this way than the almost impossible 'Hard' way.
The career mode has 3 seasons and each season has 17 races, each race is performed on different tracks which are modelled from real life tracks like Silverstone, Fair Park and Fuji Speedway to mention a few from the vast majority of tracks in the game. At the beginning of the game you can chose to race for 1 of 2 teams, I was offered BMW or Toro Rosso, you have to finish their requested circuit in a specific time to be accepted. After this you follow a routine of Qualifying and Racing in the 17 races trying to get as high as score as possible. After you finish season 1, depending on your winning position you will be offered a chance to switch teams or continue. So as a sum up you are doing quite a repetitive cycle of races and little else.
The game also offers a Quick Start/Race option where you just chose your track, driver, car and race and a PSP multiplayer which gives you the option to race via the Wireless PSP link up with up to 4 players. The Single Player games alongside Career include -
Challenge - You complete the given challenges on the game, things like 'Win Shanghai Race' and 'Checkpoint Race', so basically simple little games you can play when bored, well tied in with the PSP version.
Time Trail - Speaks for itself, you try and complete a given track in a specific amount of time.
Grand Prix Weekend - This is a game that you give you a friend to play when you don't want them to mess up your Career Mode, it is basically a very cut down version of the Career where you pick your driver and car and do a 'Weekend' of Racing.
Like I mentioned before the game is based off the real life Formula 1 so has taken the real courses used in the races. I occasionally watch Formula 1 on TV and can see a strong resemblance in some of the circuits. Also a few circuits are also featured in Gran Turismo (Exclusive PlayStation Game) and I could recognise some circuits from there, which basically means that the games life resemblance and features aren't far from the real thing.
This of course depends on how often you play it. When I first got the game, I basically spend about 2 to 3 hours on it a day, I was able to complete the first season of 17 races in about 3 to 4 days and this was on the easy settings. So the game will last you, however I must admit after completing the first season, I lost interest and only got half way through, so it depends how patient you are and how you handle a repetitive game .
Overall Presentation of the Game
The game presents itself very well, the starting menu make the game feel exciting and the music in the background get your raring to go. The loading speeds are very fair and you can be playing in under a minute (Career Mode). The cars are pretty much the same, but with different colour patterns and loads, but honestly you don't really look at the cars paint job when you're racing. I did find that the default view when racing is really distracting and I decided to switch to the cockpit view which not only gives you a more realistic experience but is also easier to control and you can see the track and other cars more clearly.
All in all, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed playing this game, with the easy/hard settings it offers an experience fitted for everyone from the laid back player who wants to simple complete the seasons to the hardcore F1 racing fan who want the most realistic experience possible. I must admit, the game did get slightly boring to the point I just gave up on it after you finish season one, it doesn't give you much of a variety of what you can do, no team managing options, and honestly switching teams is just offering the same sh** on a different day. So unless you really like repetitive games you will get very bored of this game, but you may one day turn back on it and have a fresh view of it.