Formula One 2002 is the latest F1 instalment from the Studio Liverpool team, formally know as Psygnosis who developed such games as Wipeout and Demolition Derby. Formula One 2002 has improved upon its last effort Formula One 2001. As before the game is based around the FIA Licence, which means this is one of the most comprehensive F1simulators around. There are various mode of play, Arcade, Time Attack and Simulation, so there is plenty for everyone whether you're experienced or a pure F1 novice. The options within each game mode build on this too, offering as much or as little as you may want. You may switch the damage engine off, for some rough and tumble racing or you can go to the other extreme and adjust gear ratios, down-force, brakes balance and power for some serious simulation racing.
As you would expect Formula One 2002 has all the new teams, drivers and tracks that took part in the 2002 F1 season. The Toyota team has joined the paddock along with Alan McNish, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber and Takuma Sato the Jordan driver. The Prost Team has gone and Hockenheim has had a complete redesign as has the real one in Germany. Nurburgring and Spa have also had some smaller track modifications.
The main mode that contains all the best meaty bits is the Simulation mode. The game runs a race weekend just like the real thing, Friday consists of the practice session, Saturday is qualifying day in which you must post your best time to get a good position on the grid and Sunday is race day which also includes the morning warm up. Setting your car up for racing and qualifying is very important if you want to do well and there are loads of things that you can tinker with too, suspension, transmission, brakes and down-force etc. You also get TV intros to the Grand Prix weekends with some insights and chat from the ITV Commentators Martin Brundle and James Allen. I don't know what happened to Jim? Graphically the tracks and cars are all looking very good in their 3D splendour, Formula One 2002 has been graphically tweaked since the last instalment.
The weather conditions are better than before, rain, as in real life, can really make things interesting in qualifying. If your in the middle of a race and the rain starts to fall everyone will pile into the pits for a change of tyres to something more suitable. Split times now feature in Formula One 2002 so you can see which part of the track you are loosing time on, or which part of the track you are fastest. The cars handling is very twitchy and when starting out you might find it hard to drive in a straight line and you might find yourself getting into some spins and careering off the track, gradually you will find yourself taking corners at ever increasing speeds. Formula One 2002 is a game that novice gamers will be able to handle with a little practice, but it is also suitable for F1 fanatics and hardcore gamers who like a challenge, just try and do well in a full season with damage and all the other options switched on, it's a real challenge.