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Formula One 05 PlayStation 2

Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Studio Liverpool
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £39.99

Formula One 05, an introduction.

There have been many Formula One games on the PlayStation and PlayStation 2. I remember playing the Psygnosis Formula One titles (Formula 1 and Formula 1 '97) on the PlayStation and for the most part, really enjoying them. The Formula One games on the PlayStation 2 have not quite reached the same standard though and whilst the games have been good they've been lacking in certain areas. Formula One 05 looks set to change all that and it's certainly the best Formula One game on the PlayStation 2 to date.

What's the game about?

Formula One 05 is all about giving you the chance to ride in this year's Formula One cars on the latest circuits. It's not just a seasonal update though and some significant improvements have been made to the series. The game includes numerous single player modes including Instant Race, Timed Test Session, Race Weekend, World Championship and Career. Two player races are also possible. There is also an Online mode for you to race against others. To add extra value to the game there are many unlockables for you to obtain such as classic Formula One cars (the '79 Lotus is here although there's no JPS logos on the car) and bonus circuits.

What's good about the game?

Top of the bill has to be the career mode which gives you the chance to begin as a rookie driver and take part in trial drives for the teams willing to give you a chance. You might end up as a test driver for a team or you could be offered a place as one of the main drivers for a team (or of course you could just fail and the team in question won't be interested). It's certainly the best career mode in the series to date and is very enjoyable to play. Before you do anything else you'll have to create a profile. The choices for creating a virtual representation of yourself are very limited but you can use your EyeToy camera if you wish to put your own face in the game. There's a new Learning & Tips category which has text descriptions on driving techniques and Formula One concepts and all this information is pretty comprehensive. You can make the game as realistic or as simplified as you wish thanks to a bagful of driving aids which you can choose to enable. With all of the driving aids enabled even a novice should be winning races in no time. With the driving aids all disabled, it's a real challenge. That's what makes the game so good, you can either play it as an almost arcade like experience or you can play it as a simulation if you wish to.

What's not so good about the game?

There's not a lot to complain about with Formula One 05. The AI can seem a little strange at times during a race but it's certainly nothing out of the ordinary for Formula One games. There does seem to be a little too many crashes from the AI drivers at times but this is certainly not a major problem. Penalties are given in the form of temporary speed restrictions rather than making you go into the pits for a stop and go, which is something I don't like but at least it helps the race flow more smoothly. The game doesn't support the 900° wheel rotation of the Logitech Driving Force Pro steering wheel but even so it still handles very nicely with the aforementioned steering wheel.

How does it look?

The presentation of the races has certainly been improved. You'll notice interactive pit stops with fully animated pit-crews, grid girls prancing around and journalists also walking around. The characters models for these don't look bad at all. The same can be said for the podium celebrations too. The circuits all look good as do the car models. The races themselves don't suffer from any slowdown and give a great sensation of speed. By default you'll have motion blur and zoom enabled which is meant to heighten the sensation of speed. Personally I didn't like this effect but thankfully you can disable it, if you want to. The whole look of Formula One 05 is polished and the various screens and menus are all well designed and cleanly laid out which makes menu navigation a simple process.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Formula One 05 won't really cause deaf gamers any problems. There are omissions though. The race and pit commentaries are not subtitled. This isn't as big a problem as you might think though as the Career mode, where most gamers will spend their time, doesn't have any race or pit commentaries. The game uses a lot of icons to relay information. You'll press the select button during a race to check if it's OK to enter the pits. After a while a blue tick icon will signify that everything's OK. Likewise another icon will appear to tell you if you can't enter the pits. The Learning & Tips section is all text information so you'll have no problems in fully utilising it.

Final thoughts.

With Sony having exclusive rights to the Formula One licence some might have thought they would be complacent and not make a great deal of changes to their games. This obviously isn't the case though and Formula One 05 is without a doubt the best Formula One game on the PlayStation 2 console to date. Last year's game, Formula One 04 was disappointing, for a variety of reasons, but this year's version corrects most of last year's mistakes and definitely makes up for last year's disappointment.

 

Overall Game Rating: 8.8/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

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Formula One 05 is a big improvement on last year's game and it's definitely the best Formula One experience on the PlayStation 2 so far.