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F1 2001 comes into its own in several areas. Graphically it's the most impressive Formula One title to date and with a hint of motion blur on the onscreen visuals there's an almost tangible sense of speed. Weather effects are truly spectacular; rain in particular is horrific, restricting visibility to a frightening distance. Other truly great additions to the mix are interactive pit stops which allow the player to fully control vital tyre changes, and the addition of Gran Turismo-style driving challenges which help to develop a variety of racing skills. This testing section really helps when making the transition from quick race to full-on Grand Prix mode, even though it can be quite tricky to master.
Thankfully, EA have ditched full TV race commentary in favour of radio messages from the pit controller which not only add to the flavour of the game but don't have the infuriating repetitiveness of Murray Walker's ramblings in Sony's Formula One 2001 offering. Perhaps the most impressive inclusion in the game though is proper driver AI. Don't expect to see perfect driving from your opponents because it won't happen--and there's nothing like seeing Jenson Button pirouette past on a tight right-hander and disappear in a cloud of dust--marvellous stuff! --Chris Russell
So I was really looking forward to this game and was expecting a lot. I was hoping to rent it first to make sure I didn't waste my money. Unfortunately, my local game store didn't have it. I then looked at the amazon reviews and the first one said it was very, very disappointing which put me off. Then the second review said it was the exact opposite so I decided to buy the game, as I was desperate for an F1 PS2 game.
I will now try to break the game down into good and bad points: -
1) Challenge mode - These are like a breath of fresh air. Challenges include driving around each circuit in the fastest time without leaving the track, pit stops, braking, weather changes, etc.
2) Appearance - All the tracks and cars look great and realistic
3) Replays - You can speed up and rewind/forward replays
4) The intermediate split times are the same as the computer cars. People who have bought games like F1 championship season 2000 (PS1 EA Sports) will know that at one intermediate you could be 5 seconds down on the computer cars and at the next intermediate you could have the same time as the computer cars. This really helps to see how you're really doing on a flying lap.
5) Weather changes
6) On board cockpit view - This is just unbelievable!. The attention to detail is amazing from the helmet design, car manufactures logo on the steering wheel to the driver peeling off a tear-off. It feels just like one of ITV's on board shots and all you miss is Martin Brundle's commentary.
7) Damage - This is very realistic with tyres, wings, etc falling off
1) Simulation Mode - This seems very hard and it's best to use the normal mode.
2) Apart from the on board camera, the other views aren't very good and sometimes spoil the game
3) In the race, the computer cars seem to to drive offline a lot which is sometimes annoying
4) If you want to race with all the settings such as rain & pit stops, you have to pass all the challenge modes. These challenges are good but there are a lot of them so you will need a memory card. Keeping the car on track is quite tricky so the challenges can sometimes be frustrating.
As a conclusion, I'd recommend buying this game just for the on board camera view. The racing is not as good as F1 championship season 2000 (PS1 EA Sports) which was great, and there is no safety car which every F1 game should have. Apart from these things I'd have to say this is the best F1 PS2 game so far by a long way. There are many ways to make things more realistic, and I think in a couple of year's F1 PS2 games will be even better, but this will certainly do for now.
I hope this review helps potential purchasers of the game.
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