Tuesday 25 July 2006
Sadly, since its '90s heyday, Formula One has lost a lot of fans. Dull races, Schumacher's 100-year winning streak and too many regulations turned what was once a global phenomenon into a global boreathon. But fortunately for us, the videogame version is still exciting. Last year's Formula One 05 was a surprisingly good racer that kept alive the Formula fun.
So here we are with the 06 version. When you load it up, you'll notice how similar it looks to last year's game. The menus are familiar and even the music sounds the same. However, the game itself feels a little different.
Above: The way the cars don't all stop at the first corner is a real achievement
The most obvious improvement is in the AI. The races are challenging, with intelligent opponents who drive like real racing drivers would. And this, coupled with extremely fragile cars, makes for tense racing. You'll chase someone for a lap or two, reeling them in until they're in your sights. But miss a braking point and you'll lose a wheel up their exhaust pipe. Race over. It's gripping stuff.
The graphics are looking smooth, too, if lacking in detail. While the track surfaces are fine, distant scenery looks flat and stretched, especially at the end of the Monaco lap. But there are some special effects - the screen blurs at the edges as you reach high speeds and debris can be knocked around the track with cascades of sparks, even damaging your car if you hit it too hard.