With the release of a new Sony console comes the inevitable Formula 1 game and Sony and Studio Liverpool have promised that this would be their best effort yet. With Formula 1 being the pinnacle of motorsport, it is one of the most technically
challenging sports to turn into a virtual simulation but thus far on the PS2 Studio Liverpool have done well. However with the PS3 console, gamers would be expecting more and the developers have realised this adding a few new enhancements which makes F1 CE one of the best F1 games ever made.
In terms of game modes, CE pretty much reflects those available in the PS2 F1 games. You can take cars for a spin in a time trial, a grand prix weekend, the full championship and even start your career as an F1 driver over multiple seasons. While it is disappointing to see no new game modes have made it to the PS3, it's hard to see what Liverpool could have added to the title in this regard, and what they have refined makes this even more of a moot point.
The championship and career modes are the crux of the game with 17 races to complete and 21 other drivers to beat. In the championship mode you can take control of one of the famous real world F1 racers while career mode puts a yourself as a fictional driver in the seat as you aim to replace the top guys with the top
teams. Of course this doesn't happen right away as you need to start with the lower ranked teams and impress by gaining top ten finishes and beating the better drivers.
Some of the best additions to F1 CE are the new rules which have been imposed on gamers to make the experience even more realistic. First of all, should you desire, you can take part in the parade lap, weaving left and right to warm tires up. Another rule is that you can't go over the white line after pit stops or you cop a slight penalty. To further enhance the realism in a more hands on sense, the physics engine has also been improved heavily as well. If you take a corner at high speed and even slightly touch the grass, you will head into a high speed spin. This also occurs if you take a corner too hard with cold tyres.
As a result of these realistic tweaks and the gameplay itself, F1 CE is quite a challenging game. If you turn off all the aids, the game offers one of the most realistic F1 experiences so far which rivals that of the almost immortal Grand Prix series from Geoff Crammond requiring twitch steering. There is a gimmick with this game however, and that is the motion sensing controls. While it's fun for the first five minutes or so, the fun wears off for longer gaming sessions as it just doesn't seem all that intuitive.
However, with the realism enhancements aside, there still are a few problems with this game that probably shouldn't have made it through. First of all even if you choose single grand prix weekend you can't choose the weather. Considering the stunning graphics on show during inclement weather, this is a real disappointment. As a result, if you want a wet race, you're at the mercy of the game's random choice system. Another disappointment is that F1 CE is based on the 2006 season. Sony has always been pretty good at getting current F1 games out but not this time around.
As you would expect every track on the calendar is included and they all look absolutely stunning. Using GPS technology, Liverpool has managed to construct the most realistic representation of the tracks ever and this is not the easiest thing to do considering some of the tracks, such as Melbourne, are not permanent race tracks but rather streets converted before the event. When you weight everything in, the most significant change with this game is definitely the graphics and F1 CE is the poster child for the PS3 in this regard. This, in our opinion, is the most stunning PS3 PAL launch game featuring some truly mesmerising visual effects. The cars are highly detailed as are the environments and at high speed the tracks do look photo realistic. To help the game's immersive graphics, Martin Brundle and James Allen do a fantastic job with the commentary and there is a lot more background information about tracks now as well.
F1 CE has come out at the perfect time to have maximum impact. It's very easy for us to recommend this game even to those who may not be all that into F1 because it's just an amazing experience on the PS3. If you're looking for a racing game and are discouraged by Motorstorm's lack of realism, then there is no doubt F1 CE will give you what you are looking for.