The controls in F1 Career Challenge are much the same as the previous EA F1 games so the controls are just as sensitive as ever. Small light movements on the control pad are the only way to succeed, if you haven’t played any of the F1 games in the past you will have to get the hand of this very quickly or frustration could set in. The brakes also need the delicate touch, when cornering always brake, steer, accelerate, never brake and corner at the same time or you will end up in the gravel or spinning the car. This type of handling does lean towards the realistic rather make-believe, so restraint is always better than the heavy handed approach. Fortunately you don’t have to complete in the region of 70 laps per race like in the real thing, races are generally between 6 and 8 laps depending on the circuit and you will have to pit stop in virtually every race for some extra fuel and tyres. Throughout the race the tyre derogation will feel quite sever and the car will become increasingly difficult to control, added with the weight loss through the burning of fuel the car will become lighter which complicates things even more.
After completing the first season things get even trickier, as the damage system is quite forgiving in the first season, by the time you are in the 2000 season the damage system is less forgiving and it will increase all the way through your career until you will eventually be racing with the damage system on an expert setting. Setting you car up in the career mode is fairly simple as there is not too much to worry about, you can change the down force, brake responsiveness and gear ratios. Many of the other setting available in the other EA F1 games have now been removed so you don’t have to worry about setting your car up too much, just the racing itself. In career mode virtually all the options are predetermined and by the AI such as the damage control as mentioned above, opponent difficulty, race length and the weather.
F1 Career Challenge features a nice new addition that enables you to upgrade you car and get other goodies using bonus points that you are given for overtaking and cornering in the correct manner.
Graphically F1 Career Challenge is not much different to the other EA F1 games and as this is an aging graphics engine the frame rate can suffer quite badly when there are too many cars on the screen at one time. This is worst when cars bunch up in corners and at the start of the race.
F1 Career Challenge’s sounds are pretty good, the engine sounds are all good as are the squeaking tyres and the radio communications but there is one omission, there is no music to be heard. Fortunately the game doesn’t need any music as the in car and radio activity does the job quite well.
F1 Career Challenge is pretty much the same as F1 2001 and F1 2002 but you get the four season career mode. This is not a sequel and it’s not really much of an upgrade, it does pretty much what all of the other EA F1 series have done in the past. If you are an F1 fan and you don’t own one of the previous EA F1 titles it is definitely worth picking up without a doubt, otherwise you may want to rent this game before you think about buying it as you will realise you have seen it all before.
7.0 out of 10