Review by Christophee

Reviewed: 10/29/03

A good idea slightly ruined by the lack of development

Any F1 fan who owns a GameCube will know all about the total lack of choice available. The only F1 games available are the offerings from EA so you simply have to hope that they are good. Having already owned and reviewed F1 2002, I decided to buy this game when it was released.The new and unique feature of this game is the career mode, meaning you can create a driver and control their career which spans over four years, from the 1999 to 2002 seasons.

Graphics: The graphics are exactly what you would expect from the game, very good but no real improvement from the previous game. The car models look splendid, as do the surroundings and weather effects. If the track is wet, you see it gleaming. If the weather is very bright, the sun gets in your eyes and makes it hard to see. The graphics are fine but there is a lack of development by EA on the previous game.

Audio: The car sounds are great, just like the previous game. In fact, they are virtually the same, just like the graphics. The voice from the pit crew is often helpful, but can often be annoying when you are trying to concentrate on racing. There are sounds for the falling of rain onto the track, thunderstorms and crashes; but nothing terribly special.

Gameplay: This is where the major improvements have been made on the game. Although the game plays very much the same as its predecessor, there are many major additions which make the game a joy to play. At the start of your career, you have to choose a team at the back of the grid to drive for. Because of this, the expectations are a lot lower than a big-money successful team. But also, the way the car handles is very poor indeed. The car will be a lot slower than the other cars, will have very little grip and the brakes will hardly respond. Later on in your career, however, you can drive for a successful team with a perfect handling car and high expectations of you.
The major addition though, is the introduction of EA Cards and points. If you achieve particular things in a race (e.g. drive corners perfectly, beat your team mate, overtake many cars at a time), you will be rewarded with EA Cards which you collect for each circuit. In addition to this, you receive points which can be spent on treats such as alternative helmet designs or pit girls, or car upgrades such as engine, brakes, traction control. The game has very strong gameplay.

Lifespan: The career mode will last you a few weeks if you go through it quite slowly and after that there is very little to do. There are quick races, in which you choose any driver from any of the four years in a one-off race, which will not last very long before getting boring. There is also a multiplayer for upto four people which can be great and last for a while if there are enough people and controllers. The disappointing thing is that those are the only options. There are no one-off championships like the ones seen in F1 2002 so the game relies entirely upon its career mode, and luckily the career mode is good enough and original enough to save the game from being a complete let-down.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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