Formula One 04
I want to be perfectly honest with you guys: the reason why I took this game is because I seem to have an untameable desire to play racing-games and by that I mean that it is a necessity to escape reality wherein everything becomes more and more strict. For example on our local industry terrain, where there are factories and things like a container park, you could drive ninety kilometers an hour which is about fifty-five miles. To my surprise when I drove down there I saw that they placed a new sign, under the one which normally indicated the beginning of the ninety-zone, so that now the fifty-zone continues. Too bad, I really liked to go through those curves and the best thing was, it was safe to do that kind of stuff there, what a waste!
That kind of driving is incomparable with a F1 style I know that too, but the thing is Mario already had gotten Richard Burns Rally, which I think is the best rally game ever and which leaves Colin Mcrae and WRC Extreme so far behind that those two even arrive too late to bite RBR’s dust! You are probably asking why I did not do it then? Well, I had to choose between Red Dead Revolver, which I wanted really bad, and Richard Burns, of which I knew that my neighbour, who is a huge rally lover, was going to buy it anyway. Red Dead Revolver was worth it and I was hoping to get some “replacement-pleasure” out of a F1-game, which is not quite that obvious. On top of that I like writing reviews a lot and there are no other games going to be released until September so I just took everything that I could get.
Okay, to the point then. Most importantly I want to tell you about the online part. I think this is very important in racing games because competing against real players without having to use a split-screen, which I think always sucks because it slows down the speed and most of the games don’t let you race with in-car cam, offers the kind of excitement I do not often experience. Anyway, online you can’t race against each other, you simply start a game which lasts for example fifteen minutes and in that time span everybody can join and try to beat the lap record. That of course does not use much bandwidth but it is no good either. Forget the multiplayer because it stinks.
As far as real negatives go that’s it but there are few useless (a TV mode wherein you can watch a race and at all times choose camera’s and cars you want to follow) and awkward options, like the arcade mode that always has a damage meter and wherein it is often more difficult to win or complete a race than in simulation. That however does not lower the quality meter, which exists out of five bars and has only lost one because of the extremely crappy online multiplayer.
Ah, my big screen TV and heavy Dolby Surround amplifier paid off once again. The sense of speed from inside the car is unbelievable, especially because you are sitting low on the ground and the helmet makes your sight shrink just a little more. Its visor is also wiped clean when it is dirty or wet, that makes it more exciting too because your sight is blocked for an instance of a second. I liked the tracks and cars too but oh boy let me tell you something about those menu’s! Here is a tip you coding guys: first priority for a menu is readability, the second accessibility (easy, consequent and logical to navigate through them) and then if you fellows are still up to it you can make it look nice but that has not even got one tenth of the importance. Sorry, but therefore I have to remove another bar from the quality meter which has now only three from the five bars left. Actually, I should rescale the meter: ten bars in total minus two for the lousy multiplayer and minus one for the crappy menu leaving seven out of ten bars!
Official names from teams, tracks and pilots are present and on top of that you can unlock old cars or play in career mode, which is good except for the lack of a driving school, but those things are only natural to be present in a quality game so I do not feel generous enough to praise them high in the sky for that. However, the lack of a good tutorial is compensated by an ingenious system whereby you can adapt all kinds of options so you can gradually start to learn everything there is to know on your own but of course that means you have to do it all by yourself.
In this paragraph I will explain a bug in the AI that I encountered. My friend was driving but just when I was going to get control over my car again he drove his into a wall. Okay, I start driving and continue to do so flawlessly until it is his turn again. The image switches back to his car leaving five seconds before he gets the actual control so that I have time to pass the controller. Now, to my surprise I saw that all the time that the computer controlled his car it had just been driving into that wall, back and forth instead of driving back gently while turning so he could get back on track. But no, he was still at the same spot. That of course lead to restarting as I was more than one minute in front which obviously took all tension away.
If you are too lazy to quickly read my review, on which I spent a few hours if you include the translation, why should I bother to write a conclusion. I mean come on, start reading again because those pro’s and con’s combined with a score do not tell you everything. Actually, they do not tell you squat without the full text because for example with this game I am going to lower the graphics score by five to ten percent for the bad menu’s but that does not mean that the in-game stuff is not excellent!
Because I am such a nice guy, or not daring enough which would come closer to the truth, I will still write a few lines in which I’ll try to make clear how I feel about this game. Personally I am not into watching or following Formula One on television but this game manages to make me like it and that is something extraordinary to pull off. You can adapt all kinds of different aspects to make it more difficult, realistic or fun. Technically this game is good enough to reach the standard and to keep me from trading it in against Richard Burns Rally. I can’t believed I actually wrote that down, however it is true. Perhaps because of the multiplayer mode that requires only one controller, no internet connection and no split-screen. You want more details? Start reading between the lines, baby!