Formula One 2002
by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
When I first purchased my PlayStation console, many moons ago, the first game I picked to play on it was Formula One. Having seen the game in action on TV I was amazed by how real it looked. Of course that was simply ages ago now and since then it has had a load of sequels that, for the most part, have been excellent. Formula One 2002 is the second in the series to arrive on the PlayStation 2. Of course for a game based on the 2002 series, Formula One 2002 arrives a little late in the day but if the gameplay is upto scratch then it doesn't really matter.
Anyone whose owned a console Formula One game over the last few years will know exactly what's on offer here. There's Quick Race, Arcade, Time Attack, Simulation (which includes a race weekend and World Championship) and Spectator modes. The oddity here is Spectator which enables you to actually watch a race without taking part. The only purpose I can think of for Spectator mode is that it enables you to watch the AI to see how you should be driving. The other modes are self explanatory and exactly what you would expect from a Formula One title.
Formula One 2002 certainly looks the part, at least in terms of the car models. It is slightly disappointing to find cardboard cut-outs for spectators. A rather more serious complaint is the pop-up and flashing textures/glitches that crop up during a race. This is usually more noticeable in wet weather races where the track immediately in front of you seems to be really glitchy and occasionally flash. With the long wait for the game you would have thought that glitches like this would have been ironed out.
Thankfully the game supports the main steering wheels that are available for the PS2. Control with the Dualshock 2 is OK but a little sensitive. Another useful feature is the 60Hz mode, which will please those race fans who insist on 60fps. Those with widescreen TVs will also be pleased to know that a 16:9 aspect ratio can be selected from the options menu. The PS2 doesn't have enough titles that support widescreen TVs to date and it is good to see that Formula One 2002 has full support for them.
As with most sport titles the commentary is not subtitled. It is not a great loss though and in fairness if there were subtitles onscreen then it would probably obstruct your view. Directional icons show you what corners are coming up which is good to see especially when you are learning the tracks. There are also track previews which gives you some brief points about the tracks before a race meeting. Sadly these are not subtitled and whilst it has no bearing on the gameplay it still would have nice to have seen them subtitled. What would have been good is if the pit communications had been subtitled, which keep you upto date with information about the race. Sadly they are not and the deaf gamer will be completely unaware of these messages.
The Formula One series is not the force it used to be on the PlayStation console and in many ways it is a big shame. Formula One 2002 in many ways is a good game but the glitches, poor crowd graphics and sensitive controls take the possibility away from it being a classic. Despite the faults though it still is a solid effort and if you enjoyed the previous games in the series then you will be satisfied with what's on offer here.
Overall Game Rating: 7.3/10 A solid if unspectacular effort. Whilst it doesn't excel in any particular area it's still one of the better Formula One titles.
Deaf Gamers comment: No subtitles for the commentary which isn't a great loss but it is a shame that the track previews and the pit communications aren't subtitled.