It’s time to look at a more modern video game in the form of F1. I tried out this game a bit a very long time ago but I quickly fell behind the curve. I believe this is because of the gameplay and after playing it again I am more confident of this fact. It just doesn’t play like a racing game really should. The controls are way too stiff and without the core racing aspect of this title it just feels rather empty.
So when you start the game you have to run to the training room. That’s because most of the other modes such as Tournament mode are locked until you get a lot of medals in training. The more medals you get, the more proficiency points you obtain. If you try to go for a perfect 100 you will certainly be here for a while. The good news though is that if you do this you will definitely have mastered the game since the training is incredibly thorough. It does do a good job of prepping you for the tournies but the irony is that by then you may not even see that point and you will put the game down. It’s like having to play a 5 hour tutorial before playing Sonic Racing. After 5 hours you’ll be burned out and ready to leave. Especially if the training is an accurate showing of what the gameplay will be like.
In F1 if you touch the outside of the track at all then you take a hard loss and have to repeat the level. If you accidentally drive on the right side during a certain portion of the map then you will be taken to the pit where you will lose almost a minute of time and it will effectively be impossible to win the race. I also think the gimmick of having to stop in for repairs is going way too far in trying to be realistic. This game does cross the line into being a race car simulator which I was not a fan of.
Simulators can be fun but they aren’t generally my cup of tea. I want to play a simplified version of the activity, not perform all of the steps. Another example of this mechanic is that as you drive through the stage your turning abilities will gradually get worse and worse until you can no longer pull off these maneuvers. This also makes it hard to learn the game because the gameplay won’t stay the same. If even that is constantly shifting then it’s yet another thing that you are going to have to worry about in the end. The game was too technical for its own good.
The graphics aren’t bad at least. EA has always been consistent in that area and so I’m not particularly surprised. The levels pop out at you and when blasting through the course at 100 miles an hour you are reminded that sometimes you need to just embrace the speed and head for the goal. Unfortunately the soundtrack is far less impressive and you will forget it almost immediately after hearing it. This is the opposite of the graphics as EA rarely has a good soundtrack going. The only one that is typically solid is Madden’s and that’s only because it uses iconic themes from the outside world for the games. I could go for a good Madden game right now, but lets stay focused.
There is a lot of replay value here technically since there is so much extra content. After doing all of the tutorials and beating the tournaments you’ll likely have spent over 10-20 hours in the game easily. The only question is really if you want to do that or if it’s time to take a step back. I do think you’ll be heavily burned out by this game very quickly but maybe I’m underestimating how many sport car fans there are. If you really like these extra mechanics to appear in the game then by all means you should try this game. Perhaps it will end up being your cup of tea.
Overall, F1 2002 is definitely not a game that I would recommend. It simply isn’t particularly good as a racer and I just don’t need a car simulator at the moment. I can see why the game series died while others like FIFA, NBA, and Madden are still going. That’s definitely a sign that something went wrong here. It’s a shame because the game has potential. If you want a good race car game that is built similarly to this one just look at Speed for the Wii. That game tries to have a similar approach but you don’t lose the race for going off the track and there certainly isn’t a pit where you can perform repairs. To this day I will still go on record to say that Speed did the best job of illustrating how fast you can go. No other racing game has ever matched that or even come close to be honest. It’s just a fun feeling when you’re playing Speed so go check that one out.