I'm sure that everyone is familiar with the often repeated tag line
of EA Sports. "If it's in the game, it's in the game." Intended
to convey an extensive level of detail, this slogan has been
attached to a number of previous EA games, and now graces the
introductions of Formula 1 2000. The first effort of Electronic Arts to
simulate the F1 racing experience, F1 2K is all puffed up with a
shiny 3D engine and a complete Formula One Championship
license. Yep, you that read correct. All the drivers, tracks, cars and
sponsors are here for your racing pleasure. So let's dig in.
Upon entering the game I was presented with a stylish menu
interface that trademarks all of EA's games. High-res background
art, well placed menus and a full set of racing options all rounded
out the pre-game experience. So after a brief stop configuring
controls and tweaking display settings I jumped right into a test
session in one of my favorite tracks, the Japanese GP. And nothing
could have prepared me for what happened next..
Rather than get into a discussion about the elements of in-game
play, I would like to briefly change the tempo of this review into a
Q & A session with one of the lead designers for this game. He's
Canadian, by the way.
Q: What makes you think that the world needs yet another F1
A: F1 2000 is demonstrably superior to everything else out
there in just about every way and, as one of the very biggest fans
of this genre, I really believe it is the F1 game that people will
want to play.
Q: That is a very confident answer, so let me then ask you this:
How is it you explain the migration of nearly every Canadian
based hockey teams to stronger American markets? I mean isn't
Hockey your national past time?
A: Basic controls are accelerate, brake and steer but you can
also look left/right and adjust pit stop strategy whilst driving the
car. Options here include changing the front wing settings, adding
more or less fuel and choosing whether or not to have damage
Q: What exactly is done during the pork curing process to
produce "Canadian Bacon?"
A: Whilst our current AI modeling does not truly make drivers
more or less aggressive than others this is definitely something
that we have planned for the future. You heard it here first!
Q: Ok Jacques, our time is almost up. Any final comments?
A: That's a tricky one! Firstly, we have to accept that nothing
would be possible without the Official [F1] License and EA has
worked very hard to get this. From a development perspective,
perhaps the most difficult issue has been keeping everything top
secret for so long.
Well super, and thanks for stopping by!
Putting further diagnosis aside for now, lets return back to the
game at hand. How any right-minded duty tax paying citizen could
refer to this game as demonstrably superior to all other F1
racing games is beyond me. No, what I saw during races was a
comical hodge-podge of quick-fix arcade physics and stapled-on
simulation damage modeling. Sure, the courses and models are
rendered convincingly enough, but the experience as a whole
Full multiplayer, that is TCP/IP & LAN, is provided for. The
interface for setting up games was thoroughly stupid-proof. Racing
against another human opponent was by far the most appealing of
race options provided. Latency was an issue occasionally, but it
hardly impaired my ability to totally out break my friend in
For those of you new to the racing games F1 2K does have
substantial helper switches that will assist you in steering and
breaking. In fact, with all these assists on you can basically just
press the accelerator and watch the computer controlled cars slam
into each other.
Yeah, let me touch on the racing AI for a bit. Apparently, "If it's
in the game, it's in the game." only means one thing when
applied to the world of Formula 1 racing: plenty of nasty looking
wrecks. The amount of times that computer controlled AI cars slam
into other computer controlled AI cars is borderline ludicrous.
Regardless of difficulty setting, field size, and AI ability the cars
unflinchingly plow into, scrub tires, and under-break almost
constantly. It makes racing with any of the damage modeling
turned off pretty dumb. On one race I think I made it a total of
three and a half minutes before being completely demolished by a
car that (apparently) couldn't manage to drive in a straight line.
Way to go EA, so realistic it's stupid!
In conclusion I would like to go over the highlights of my review. I
was very pleased with the number of adverbs used, and I found
'comical hodge-podge' to be down right titillating. Didn't you? And
unlike my euphemisms F1 2K fails to titillate even the most
titillacious of titillants. With its shiny graphics and an Official F1
License, I am sure that there is a worthwhile game in here
somewhere. Knowing the average development cycle of an EA
Sports title I'd say we can expect to see F1 2.1K in three or four
months. Till then: ciao!