For some reason, F1 games never really managed to interest me. Maybe that was because of the brainless driving around 72 laps or the life-like super digital and extremely irritating and deafening high spinning sound of your car depending on the engine, but titles with the words F1, Formula One, or Grand Prix would always be put aside.
Until of course you see F1 2006 laying behind the Ace Combat Zero box when checking your assignments. After a deep sigh I decided to check out the game neutrally as who knows, it would have to be better than the pathetic Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation my little brother is still playing on the PSOne. (which actually is my fault as he isn’t allowed to come near my games and dvd collection)
Now, the know tracks are present just like the famous and less famous drivers are all playable and controllable through several game modes. What those are is something you can guess yourself if you’ve played any racing game on the PS2. Next to a splitscreen option there’s no multiplayer present. This isn’t such a miss as this game isn’t that brilliant. Both on technical side as well as gameplay this title lacks just that bit too much.
Graphically things do look pretty decent but that’s it. Often you’ll notice framerate problems, the cars suffer from aliasing and who the hell came up with that sad rain effect? It looks awful… What is bizarre is that I did appreciate the sound. Next to the irritating zoom of your engine you get live radio commentary and tips from the pits. And although things do get repetitive pretty fast, you get the feeling you’ve been coached by the relaxing voice for years; which again congratulates you with the extra tens of seconds you won. And you’ll need those as although with all driving assists on and all possible damage to your vehicle off it’s pretty easy to get and hold first place, you’ll need some decent strategic thinking to do the same stunt on simulator level. Yes, driving a car isn’t the easiest thing to do on this planet. Especially not if you have to do it with the extremely sensitive controls of F1 2006.
Since I haven’t hooked up giant steering wheels on my PS2 I have to do with my dual shock controller which makes my car react pretty hefty to the light touches I give to my joystick. Fortunately, after a couple of rounds you’ll have control over that.
The biggest downpoint is the gameplay, but in this case this is a very personal opinion. For someone who loves turning rounds on a track while enhancing his skills to catch higher tones of the engine this may be a wet dream. But for someone who’s seen it all after about five laps – which is the reason I never did the professional league as well as the endurance races of Gran Turismo myself – this game is true hell. The whole does look realistic but it’s incredibly boring to keep driving on the same track or even look at it since you’ve got F1TV with which you only have to watch instead of playing a race yourself. Some sort of replay mode so to speak.
F1 2006 is again a new F1 racing game which will no doubt know large sales thanks to the huge fanbase for this type of titles but those that are not completely mad about Formula 1 can better pass this one and choose a more varied or arcade racer. Technically the game is ok except for some beauty errors. A storyline is of course not present.