F1 Career Challenge
After skipping a year, EA Sports has come back to Formula 1 racing with the release of F1 Career Challenge. Although not nearing as popular as NASCAR, there are still plenty of racing fans that would love to get their hands on decent F1 racing game with F1 Career Challenge possibly fitting the bill. Unfortunately for those who aren't explicit fans of F1, this game has its problems and may have difficulty keeping casual race fans interested long term.
Similar in many ways to the 2001 release (graphics, gameplay, audio), the biggest difference is clearly the career mode. Although there is an option for a quick race and multiplayer games, the career mode is where the majority of the game is meant to be played. This shouldn't cause many problems however as creating a rookie driver and working your way up to veteran status can keep the game fresh for some time if executed well. Unfortunately, the career option is more of a mixed bag as some aspects work well, such as four F1 seasons to play through and an expectable level of car 'tinkering'? ability before races. Unfortunately, it falls short on certain details that can help keep the game from getting stale. For instance, since you cannot select a professional racer and subsequently must create one from scratch, you'd expect more than four choices'but four is all you get. Other issues like there being some noticeable difference in which team you race for would add some spice but when it doesn't have any effect on the game, you might question its value as an option.
The gameplay does help boost some of the short comings of the career mode by delivering a solid performance. The fact that it's similar to the 2001 release is a good thing since it's just as challenging and well balanced this year. With responsive handling and issues like slipstream factored in, it's one of the few games that is able to create a challenging experience without burdening you with required perfection. The AI helps here as well'the other drivers have human-like tendencies and make mistakes on a similar frequency to professional racers.
The audio and video don't leave much of an impression and turn in a relatively unspectacular performance. Although the graphics look decent while racing, other things like ridiculous looking pit crews can distract from the finer points. The audio falls victim to similar problems but has more of an issue with quantity, as the sound effects are audibly reasonable but tend to be lacking in quantity.
Although one of the better F1 racing games around, it seems like F1 Career Challenge might need to add some air to their tires. Fans of F1 racing probably will enjoy it but others may want to rent it first.