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PS2 Reviews: F1 Career Challenge

 

 

F1 Career Challenge screenshots

 

The Final Say!

Gameplay
8.8
Graphics
8.9
Sound
8.7
Value
8.9

F1 Career Challenge -  reviewed by Andrew B 
Review Date: 28 August 2003
Review Score 8.8/10
Distributed By: Electronic Arts

F1 Career Challenge is the latest instalment of Formula One racing by EA Sports that introduces a new aspect of the game to set it apart from its competitors. Based on the gaming engine from F1 2002, F1 Career Challenge has been slightly improved over its predecessors and introduces the first ever career mode to any Formula One game that is currently available on the market at the moment.

F1 Career Challenge (Career Challenge) features a variety of different gameplay modes such as career mode, single race and multiplayer modes to give the gamer a wide breadth of racing modes to ensure increased playability.

The main method of gameplay is of course the career mode that lets players race through all four seasons of the F1A from 1999 to 2002. The beauty of this gameplay mode is that the player starts off as a humble rookie who must then race his way to victory over four seasons.

Once you have created your driver, you must then select a team to join who gives the player a set of guidelines and goals that must be met in order for you to gain your racing stripes. Players are also introduced to the initiation scene of Formula One racing where you must pass nine different license tests. Your results dictate what kind of team you will join, so the better you perform in these tests, the more chances you will receive in joining a high profile team.

Never fear though, if you cannot master the license tests at the start of the game, you will have to earn your racing stripes in other ways. Once you are on the official racing circuit, you will receive reputation points for completing and exceeding team goals that allows you to be invited into  more experienced teams such as Williams or Ferrari. During Career mode, players are also rewarded for the way they drive on the circuit, for instance if you overtake a more skilled opponent, you are then awarded points that can be used to purchase a variety of accessories for your car such as helmets, vehicle upgrades and even female fans for the pit stop.

Because of the realism of the game, you must also watch the fuel and tire gauge of your car, so be sure that you stop in the pit stops every now and then to ensure that your car is fully "roadworthy". Racing fanatics will also be pleased that EA have included a variety of different car options such as gear ratios and brake response to allow professional gamers to modify their cars to their own personal liking.

In single player mode (& multiplayer), gamers also have the option to tweak the way the races will be run. For instance, you can modify weather conditions, difficulty of opponents and damage settings so that the game caters for a wide variety of racing fans from novice to professional.

The control system of Career Challenge is probably the most realistic of Formula One games at the moment but unfortunately this comes at a price as it will take some gamers awhile to master. For example, accelerating too fast from the starting grid may have you spinning around in circles or breaking too hard during corners will definitely have you driving dangerously close to the protective barriers or the dreaded gravel kitty litter.

Players are also given four different choices of driving views that include a third person behind the car view, a first person behind the wheel view, a first person view without any car (my favourite and fastest view) and another third person behind the car view that is further away than the first.

The graphic system of Career Challenge is a little dated on the PlayStation 2 because it uses the same gaming engine as its predecessor but it still remains a treat for the eyes. The cars are made up of high polygon count with some extremely realistic textures and lighting effects that ensures for some very good looking cars. The cars themselves contain various advertising and you can even see the brand of the tires on the cars. Another impressive feature of the game is that you can see the exhaust of the cars that eventually dissipates. Other nifty special effects include some great lighting effects that include reflective surfaces and some brilliant realistic road effects. The backgrounds (courses) are well modelled and it actually looks like you are racing on the official circuits with weather effects, crowd detail and stadium advertising. I did however notice that the frame rate becomes a little unstable when there are too many cars on screen at once, this usually happens at the beginning of the race. The developers have also managed to successfully capture the true speed of Formula One racing and you actually feel like you are racing at tremendous speeds.

The sound effects of Career Challenge is perfect and features all the sounds of official formula one racing from the power F1 engines to the spectacular crashes that hopefully won't happen while you race. The character acting of the game is also professionally done when your chief mechanic and team boss are communicating with you on the track. 

F1 Career Challenge is a very addictive game and I would highly recommend this to all fans of the Formula One or for those that love a decent racing game. With an extremely realistic control system, a sturdy gaming engine and perfect sound effects, F1 Career Challenge is guaranteed to give gamers a true run for their money. Check it out!

- Andrew B

Available now on PlayStation 2 (PS2), XBox & PC CD-ROM

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