Review by flat_tyre

Reviewed: 01/16/06 | Updated: 02/06/06

A good F1 game, but it could have been even better

F1 Career Challenge is one of the first to include a career mode - you get to drive as yourself in your own career, in the years 1999 through 2002, switching teams as you go. It is just as good as F1 2002, but it is very similar in lots of ways, not to say that that’s a bad thing. Read on to find out why…

Graphics - 8/10

The detail of the graphics in this game is amazing. So why did it only score 8? Well, first I’ll tell you the good points. The car models are fantastic, the textures are great, and the general quality is very good. Cars get dirty, wet-weather effects are very good, reflections are realistic, and many other additions like this are well done. The menus look great, too. But, the reason that the graphics score lower is because everything looks dusty, and the colour isn’t very good. But, if you play around with your TV settings, by turning up the colour and contrast, you should get a very good look. Plus, the people look like monkeys. These made me disappointed with the visuals of the game, especially as F1 2002’s graphics were almost perfect, and I give them an 8 out of 10.

Sound - 6/10

The sound is OK, and much could be improved. The car engines all sound the same, but they all sound weird. It’s hard to describe it, the best I can do is say that they all sound electronic. The pit commentary is decent, but repetitive. Crash sounds, again, are decent, but repetitive. The only other sounds you will here in the game are in the menus. The music in them is techno, and is all right, but none of it stands out. Sound scores 6.

Gameplay - 7/10

F1 Challenge’s main mode is the career mode - you get to drive as yourself for your country, choose your team, go to team tests, and drive your races. You are set targets for each race. If you perform well, your reputation goes up, and you have a better chance of joining a better team. If you perform badly, your reputation goes down, and you are more likely to either stay put or have to go to a worse team. You also have objectives called ‘EA Sports Cards’, which give you something else to aim for. As well as career mode, there is quick race mode, where you can drive as a real F1 driver from any year from 99-02 that you like.

As an F1 fan, I think that F1 Career Challenge’s gameplay is below par compared to most other F1 games today. The AI is way too easy, and the car handling is awful. The cars turn way too quickly, and the brakes are too sensitive - you can brake from 200 mph to a stop in a about a second. Plus, the AI, to avoid crashes, can alter it’s speed and stop immediately to avoid hitting another other car. I know this isn’t meant to be a simulation, but that can’t hide the fact that the handling is terrible. Gameplay scores 7.

Replay value - 6/10

Despite sounding very repayable, F1 Career Challenge gets boring after a while. Career mode is fun at first, but then gets repetitive, and you’re likely not to come back to it after that. Quick race is where the lasting factor lies. Replay value scores 6.

Reminders -
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 6/10
Gameplay - 7/10
Replay value - 6/10

Positive points:
+ Decent career mode
+ Drive in the years 99-02
+ Amazing graphics, once you get the TV settings right
Negative points:
- Gets boring after a while
- Sounds are poor
- Everything looks grey if you don’t adjust your TV.

For the F1 fans, F1 Career Challenge should be considered, but there are other F1 games out there that are a lot better. The several factors that make it much less fun than it should be, such as the poor handling, make it a worse than it should have been.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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