Being mean to F1 2009 is a bit like chastising the puppy from the litter with the crossed eyes and gammy leg. It means well and it will still hump your leg with all the enthusiasm of its siblings, but you can’t help wishing you’d bought a pedigree.
But you can’t blame Codemasters getting its foot in the door. Jenson Button has taken the 2009 championship and F1 fever is riding high. With the 360 and PS3 versions still way off in the future, the Wii version is the only official way you’ll find out if you’ve got the skills to outperform JB, sample all 17 tracks and drive for all ten teams.
We’re not saying F1 2009 is half-hearted, because it’s squeezing every last ounce of tech from the machine. It’s just that any compliment anyone has for it is backhanded. People who watch us playing say, “that’s a pretty good looking racer – for a Wii game.” Or “That runs really smooth – for the Wii.” Obviously, standing F1 2009 against the likes of Forza 3 won’t do it any favours.
On a more positive note, the feedback from the steering on the analogue stick is great, and you’ll have to use all the timing and precision you expect from an F1 game to post the best times. Unfortunately, the digital inputs of the Wii controls for the throttle and brake mean thatyou can’t measure either without spinning the wheels or locking the brakes when you turn the assists off. A wheel (or the Classic Controller) will restore the accuracy, but not many people will have one. To compensate, you’ll turn on the driver aids and take away the challenge.
Ultimately, it’s an acceptable racer rather than a mind-blowing one. Still, Codemasters has never been under any illusion about F1 2009’s purpose; as a pick-up-and-play racer that daddy and his younglings can use together and as a fan-calming appetizer before the ‘real’ thing next year.
Nov 20, 2009