Formula One 2001 Review
Studio Liverpool has recently delivered Formula One 2001 for the Playstation 2, and presented gamers with an accurate portrayal to the F1 industry, but has struggled slightly in their attempt to bring an exciting atmosphere that will appeal to both fans of the sport and those who have no idea what F1 racing is about. When I envisioned Formula One 2001, I immediately recalled the amazing experience I had in Gran Turismo 3, as I'm sure many of you did also. I was looking forward to the game and hoped it would offer a level of gaming that had not been seen in F1 titles before. The question that remains, however, is whether or not Studio Liverpool lived up to my expectations, and if the game is worth your buck.
Formula One 2001 is a nice looking game, but that's the extent of it. You won't be seeing in stunning vehicular models with the shimmer and delight that you would hope for. Granted, the game is well done, but in no way will you be blown away by what is presented here. I believe that the problem that arises is that Formula One 2001 attempts to, at times, fit all 22 cars onto the screen. This takes away from the individual affect that could be focused upon if Studio Liverpool wasn't trying to cram everything in so tight. If you are expecting the F1 cars to look at all like the models in Gran Turismo 3, then I'm sorry, as Formula One 2001 just doesn't meet that standard. Also, the backgrounds are poorly designed and at times almost seem blocky. I remember careening off the road, as I usually do, and finding that the grass, trees, and other artificial surfaces contained little detail. This is not noticeable from a distant, but at closer inspection one can clearly see the lack of design. All in all, Formula One 2001 showcases not nearly what the PS2 is capable of. I'll admit, Studio Liverpool was able to make a decent game at the surface, but as you make your way through the game, many imperfections are discovered.
The gameplay of Formula One 2001 isn't for everyone. If you enjoy going extreme speeds and then turning on a dime, please look someplace else. The game is a rather precise stimulation of the F1 racing world, and makes that point a little redundant at times. Studio Liverpool has added so many unnecessary features that it just becomes confusing and annoying. Guiding your way through menus can be a chore itself, and once you do begin racing you will realize it wasn't well worth your time. It is your task to go throughout many countries of the world, searching for supremacy against the greatest racers of the sport. As you dive into the actually racing phase, you will clearly understand what I am speaking of, as turns become difficult and the pressure sensitivity of this title is a little outrageous. I understand that the game wants to do justice to the sport, but making it so you practically blow your engine every time you start out is pointless. The ability to gradually push the gas is needed here, and in my opinion, too much emphasis has been placed on it. The artificial intelligence in the game is one of the few aspects I enjoyed. They're relentless attitude is exciting to race against, and bumping edges with them is an element that will not be avoided. However, this aspect just can't pull the game into the category I would have liked to see. Overall, the gameplay is just too tedious and technical, with little emphasis on what an ordinary gamer is interested in.
The sound category is an important factor that I believe was considerably left out. The engine noises and environmental effects are well executed, but the limited soundtrack and poor efforts in the announcing category caused Formula One 2001 to suffer a bit. The soundtrack is composed of Overseer, Grand Theft Audio, Max Odell, Lunatic Calm and Toni Halliday, which are mainly freestyle rhythms that are overshadowed by the engine noises and repetitive announcers. If you haven't played the game, trust me, these announcers almost put John Madden and Pat Sumerall to shame, and that's saying a lot. They're British accents and foolish remarks make me cringe. The game really doesn't need the announcers at all. A revamped and polished soundtrack would have done nicely and made for an enjoying sound category.
The controls in Formula One 2001 aren't difficult to pick up, but the control of the game itself, however, is a different story. Making turns can be incredibly difficult for a beginner, and may completely turn the game off for some of you that don't want to spend a good deal of time with the game. Spinouts are an element that you will need to get used to, and are far too common in the game. I found the control of the game to be far too sensitive, even for a simulation. As I stated earlier, pressure sensitivity is something you will need to master and get accustomed to for success throughout the game. Overall, easy to pick up button control, but the handling of the cars and lack there of is the down point of Formula One 2001.
If you are a person that truly enjoys simulation games and have plenty of time to get used to the control features of the game, then Formula One 2001 will have a great deal of replay value. However, for me and the majority of people, the game is far too sensitive and the simulation element of the game far overshadows the level of fun that would hope to be achieved. The game does feature a rather in-depth version of a world tournament and will present gamers with a long journey to the top. It has features throughout that add to the replay value and is a detailed game overall. The only problem is whether or not you will want to go through these tasks, as the game lacks a sense of motivation. I found myself very quickly turning off the game.
In the end, Formula One 2001 doesn't offer much new in the world of racing. As a simulation, it provides a rather precise representation of the sport, but lacks in overall innovation and just plain fun. The controls are plagued with problems and the games sensitivity is just too much to handle. I guess the only way I could recommend this title to someone is if they truly want a very challenging game that attempts to be as authentic to F1 racing as possible. What even they may find, however, is that Formula One 2001 is just too tedious to endure.
11/6/2001 Matthew Stensrud