Replay Value: 8
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Sports
Number Of Players: 1-4
With the amount of success Electronic Arts has already had on the Playstation 2, the presence of F1 2001 was a welcomed addition to the onslaught of PS2 racers. However, even with the EA name behind it, the real question is whether F1 2001 can break through the mold as just another racing game in the PS2 lineup.
F1 2001 shows off rather detailed graphics with a good amount of texture and lighting effects. The vehicles in the game aren't extraordinary, but are enjoyable to look at, nonetheless. I found myself pretty much looking at a replica of Sony's Formula One 2001 in terms of visuals, as both titles present similar vehicle models and backgrounds. The environments in F1 2001 show off a little more of what the PS2 is capable of, as different weather effects are pulled off with great success. Nighttime rain, while nowhere near the beauty of Gran Turismo 3, offers a sense of realism and is a pleasant addition where the graphics were otherwise ordinary. There are four different views in the game while racing, and I thank EA Sports for this element. There is the first person view, where the car cannot be seen, two semi-third person views of either 3/4 of the car showing or just the steering wheel and hood, and finally the full third person view where the vehicle is out in front. Each option is executed nicely and is backed up with polished details on graphical design. I prefer the ¾ view, although each method is performed with ease. One of my favorite elements in the game is how you can gradually see your tires become worn and how they will pick up grass and dirt as you travel through various terrain. You will actually be able to see tiny blades grass being picked up in the treads of your tires. Also, if I'm far enough ahead or simply just fooling around, I like to go venturing through the countless dirt pits. You will instantly be engulfed in a storm of dirt and dust, as you shoot particles in every direction. In terms of the overall setting, EA is able to make a rather simple background fun and exciting. By mixing both elements of F1 simulation and arcade style, EA Sports has done an above average job on visuals.
F1 2001's gameplay struck a chord with me and I found it to be an enjoyable racer. When comparing both Formula One 2001 and F1 2001, EA's title is the dominating force. Both games offer very similar aspects, but I found myself more intrigued with the options and overall race style of F1 2001. First of all, the game modes available are Quick Start, Single Player, and Multiplayer. Within Single Player is Grand Prix mode, basically the championship mode of F1 racing. What I thought was ingenious is how they have made a challenge mode, which does not allow you to enter Grand Prix races until you have completed certain tasks. For those of you familiar with Gran Turismo 3, you know what I'm talking about. This element allows players to get used to the control of the game and get accustomed with the racing style. This alone adds to the excitement and strategy of the game and gives a goal for players to accomplish. F1 2001 features a variety of professional racers, including Michael Schumacher in his heralded Ferrari and Mika Hakkinen sporting the ever-popular McLaren. The AI in F1 2001 is also very competitive and will force you to be flawless in your attempt at achieving greatness. This may be more of an arcade title than FOne 2001, but trust me, the competitiveness and overall realism of this game surpasses Sony's efforts, in my opinion. While both titles aren't perfect by any means, EA's production is your best choice if you are looking for an F1 game.
The sound effects in F1 2001 are well done, but I'm rather disappointed with the soundtrack, or lack of it, EA put together with this game. The only band present is "Chicane" (ever hear of them?) with three track titles including "Nagasaki Badger", "The Drive Home", and "Sunstroke". Once again, these songs are only played during menu screens and are absent in the gameplay driving. What you are accompanied with while driving is the voice announcing by another British commentator. Just like FOne 2001, the music and commentating are average, at best, and don't offer much more for the gamer to enjoy. However, the only thing that pulls F1 2001 out of the hole in the sound category is the excellent car sound effects. The engine noises, screeching tires, and collision effects are superb and bring the true-life feel of F1 racing.
EA seems to always have games with excellent control, and they have proved themselves once again with F1 2001. The cars are very responsive and must be handled with precision and care. You won't be making any 90-degree corners at 120 mph, as this isn't just some arcade replica where basics physics don't apply. Utilizing the brake and gas components around corners is very necessary, or flying off road is the inevitable rewult. The controller setup is as easy as every racing title with X being the gas, Square to brake, and Circle to go in reverse. A simple control setup with great game physics makes F1 2001 the natural choice in this racing genre.
Finally, F1 2001 does offer a decent amount of replay values and will cause an intense gamer to continue playing. I found myself getting a little tired of the game after awhile, but I'm just not a diehard fan of the sport. For those of you that want the best F1 title available, EA's game is the obvious conclusion. For those of you that like racing titles but are a little hesitant about this F1 genre, then by all means, rent it first. Although a well-done game by EA, F1 2001 may not be for everybody.