I enjoyed GRAN TURISMO 3: A-SPEC. But even so, I got tired of the six car races after a while. FORMULA ONE 2001 appealed to me because it promised to be a realistic Formula One game. More than six cars on the track!
Pick any driver from any team, then tweak all the settings of your car during a full 60-minute practice, and then eventually head out to get some practice runs on the track. Finally, qualify for your position on the starting grid and race. The game features all the drivers, teams and tracks. So far, so realistic.
Perhaps I should've been a bit more skeptical of the title given the 989 Sports logo on it. Once out on the race track, the game loses a lot of the realism. First of all, sometimes it is much quicker to cut off-road, something that would seriously mess up the undercarriage. Secondly, the game plays entirely too arcadey - passing is way too easy, and opposing drivers don't drive aggressively.
So, what did your trusted correspondent do? He turned up the difficulty, pumped up the damage, and turned on the flags. Instantly the game became a lot more interesting. Bumping off other drivers handed out a black flag, as did some other track cutting. Damage also made the races a lot more difficult as losing the forward wing can kill lap times.
While the game is pretty fun, it isn't much to look at. The worst part is that all the logos have been stripped off of the cars. Continuing the flawed graphics are the lack of detail in the surroundings. Unfortunately the framerate gives absolutely no sense of speed. I felt like I was going 60 mph rather than over 100. On the upside, there are some really nice special effects, especially when it rains on the track.
No music, a horrid announcer, soft engine noises, and no pit crew chatter sum up the music and sound effects in FORMULA ONE 2001. What sound is there is very soft and the you feel like its you against the world. It's almost fun to just press the select button to say you're coming into the pits and then wave it off, over and over again.
While FORMULA ONE 2001 is a lot of fun and is a good balance between simulation and an arcade racer, it falls short on several levels. If you like F1 racing, give it a try; everybody else, stick to GRAN TURISMO 3.
Platform: Playstation 2
ESBR Rating: Everyone
Developer: 989 Sports
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Suggested Retail Price: $49.99
Fun Factor: A-
Reviewer's Wild Card: A-