17 Aug, 2006

F1 06 Review

PS2 Review | Pole position or mechanical failure?
Formula One is certainly a lot more interesting to watch these days, with Michael Schumacher's domination dwindling and Mark Webber putting in a stellar effort to represent Australia even though he fails to finish just about every race. The games have also been rather impressive in recent years but they haven’t really innovated that much with each yearly update containing not much more than the team changes. Despite this though, each F1 game is a lot of fun, so does F1 06 continue this trend or is it the end of the road?

As soon as the main menu loads up it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the wealth of race modes. The obligatory quick race mode is included as is a rather addictive time trial mode. If you’ve just been watching the Formula One on the television an want to replicate the entire Grand Prix weekend then you can do this as well, though the two main single player modes are the World Championship and Career modes. The World Championship mode lets you play through the entire Formula One calendar and the calendar has been updated so Bahrain is the first race in the 2006 season. The main single player mode is the career mode. In the career mode you begin as a lower ranked driver and work your way up to the top, which means you’ll need to change teams and race well consistently.

Passing is just a little bit too easy, especially because you work so hard to catch a car.

Passing is just a little bit too easy, especially because you work so hard to catch a car.
The game was released simultaneously on the PlayStation 2 and the PSP. The PSP version is a near direct port of the PlayStation 2 version with a few major differences. The major difference is the fact that to get into a race in the PSP version you need to wait for a decent minute for the race to load, this is even worse in the World Championship and Career modes because there are a few menus to navigate through. If you’re just wanting to jump into a quick race on the train then it’s easier to put your PSP into sleep mode because the initial boot up is about two minutes in comparison to about thirty seconds on the PlayStation 2 version. The PSP version also doesn’t include multiplayer at all and the visuals are downgraded a little, but overall the port is pretty impressive. If you happen to own the PlayStation 2 and the PSP versions then you can link the games up an transfer your career over which is a handy feature, if you can bear waiting for the races to load.

One of the most touted features of F1 06 was the ability to play cross platform, so PlayStation 2 owners could play against PSP owners. Almost unceremoniously the cross platform play has been removed without notice, network play isn't in either version which is a bit of a disappointment. If you simply have to play multiplayer then the PlayStation 2 version includes split screen support, whereas the PSP misses out on multiplayer all together.

Game play wise the game is very much a simulation title. If you haven't played a Formula One game since the nineties then you're likely to get a bit of a surprise because the game is very unforgiving if you're a rookie. When you first jump into a race the handling can also take a bit of getting used too because it's a little sensitive however once you get used to the controls they will become second nature. If you fancy a bit of an extra challenge then we suggest turning the driving aids off, simply because if you keep them on then the game will basically race for you which unsurprisingly isn’t all that entertaining. Overall the AI isn't all that intelligent and once you catch a car it’s pretty easy to overtake; especially at the beginning of the race.

The TV cam..

The TV cam..
The sound isn't particularly compelling and is exactly what you would expect, you'll hear a few engine noises but that's about all; though it doesn't affect the quality of the game at all. Visually the game is rather impressive on both the PlayStation 2 and the PSP, there is a lot of details in all of the tracks and they look very close to their real life counterparts. There aren't many racing games around that have as many cars on the track as F1 06 either, which makes this game a bit of a technical achievement for the PlayStation 2. The frame rate also stayed consistent even when things got a little bit hectic on screen.

The developers have ensured that there is plenty in the game to keep you going including unlockable classic cars. The career mode lasts a long time, so it's not going to be a game you can complete in only a few hours. The split screen multiplayer isn't a worthy replacement for the missing online play but it's still a lot of fun racing a full lap race with over twenty vehicles on the track in the pouring rain.

If you're a Formula One fan who has liked the previous F1 titles then F1 06 is pretty much exactly what you would expect. The game includes updated teams as well as an improved single player mode but overall not many enhancements have been made since last year's incarnation. Casual fans of Formula One are likely to be turned off by this game simply because the game is very much focused on simulation, even a basic arcade mode could have ensured the game appealed to those who want to go out and fly around the corners with their 300 km/h vehicles. One of the major disappointments of the game is the omission of online play, which is a severe disappointment. It really does seem like the Playstation 3 version will be the superior edition of F1 06 but overall the game is a solid, if not predictable title.
The Score
F1 06 is exactly what you expect. The game includes a detailed career mode but is missing online play, it also feels a little bit like some things have been held off for the PlayStation 3 version. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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7 years ago
Oh god look at the graphics!

Oh man that is BAD.Maybe it looks better running, but F1 World Grand Prix on the 64 even looked better then this.Yuck.

Is the tv cam shot in the article indicative of the games overall graphics?I mean look at it!
7 years ago
PSP shots, looks better in motion but didn't want to use PS3 shots and Sony never released PS2 images icon_sad.gif
7 years ago
I found some.
7 years ago
James wrote
I found some.
Cool, Cheers.
7 years ago
OH........psp shots......ah.....carry on then icon_smile.gif
7 years ago
Lol. But i have to agree. The graphics dont look great and i imagine that they cant really have changed gameplay that much from previous F1 titles.
7 years ago
im a bit over Formula 1 - was good in the mansell senna damon hill schumacher days.
7 years ago
The problem with open wheeler games is that you can't touch another car without something going wrong, whereas in touring cars the consequences are nowhere near as bad.
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