Formula One 2003

PS2 Review - Formula One 2003
Formula One 2003 Reviewed on PS2
Yes it is that time of year when everyone releases their new yearly addition of formula one games. The two most prominent being EA's F1 series and Sony's own Formula One series. EA have already release their newest update F1 Career Challenge which is a pretty good game but it is not worth buying if you have one of the previous incarnations as the graphics, audio and gameplay are virtually the same throughout series on the PS2. Now Sony have stolen the official license from EA Formula One 2003 has all the 16 circuits, 20 drivers and all the new 2003 rules in place.

Most F1 games are purely designed for the enthusiast you have to play the game for a long time to get the hang of actually racing at the full race speed, basically the learning curve is tremendously steep for a new comer to the genre or the casual player. Sony have made efforts to combat this element of the F1 genre and made Formula One 2003 is accessible to the casual player yet deep enough for the enthusiast.

Most of the game play modes are pretty much the standard affair with exception to one, the "hotseat" mode. You must select up to four cars and then you must race them all

PS2 Review - Formula One 2003
PS2 Review - Formula One 2003

simultaneously. It does sound a bit tricky and pointless but this is how it works, during the race you will switch cars at set intervals, while you are not driving the other vehicles the AI will take over. If you select two cars from the same team it is nice to try and get the team finishing first and second. It may sound strange but it makes for refreshing change and it's an enjoyable experience to boot.

Car control in Formula One 2003 is exceptional, you can use the analogue sticks for accurate steering and throttle control to send you car around the tracks and through the apexes at maximum speed, if you crash you will only have yourself to blame. Once you have had a few laps round each track you should get to grips with the braking points and apexes of each corner, making great times and pole positions a real possibility. Each track combined with the great handling of each car lends itself to a great driving experience. One very unrealistic element of Formula One 2003 are the crashes, should you drive your car head long at high speed into a concrete wall you would expect the car so smash to pieces, but this is not the case your car will be tossed up in the air while spinning violently, then it will land back on the ground seemingly undamaged. This is a real shame as the rest of the game is a real shame as the virtually all of the rest of the game is a great virtual replica of the real sport. The only other two problems Sony have with their F1 sim is the AI, you will experience the AI cars breaking too late into corners and ramming you car from behind.

Graphically Formula One 2003 is generally excellent but the rain effects do look a touch dodgy. But the general excellent look of the game is further enhanced by some great car sounds. The multi player game is not as good to look at as the single player game but the fun factor is very high all the same.

Formula One 2003 is a great F1 title that is accessible and fun for a casual gamer and the hardened F1 game junkie. It has some problems with the weather effects and the crashes but they don't ruin the game they just remind you that there are not many perfect games out there, especially F1 games. Fingers crossed Formula One 2004 will have sorted the minor problems and we will have an even better game next year. For the moment though it is certainly good enough and my F1 game of choice.

8 out of 10

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