F1 2009


F1 2009

F1 2009


Any Formula 1 fan will tell you that March 2007 feels like a lifetime ago. The season that saw a young Lewis Hamilton - too young - miss out on the championship by a single point was also the last time an F1 game rolled out of a developer's pit. In fairness, by the time Formula 1 Championship Edition showed up on PS3, the sub-genre was already misfiring. A series of mainly monotonous and predictable real-life seasons combined with the restrictions that accompany any official Formula 1 game production resulted in F1 titles that, like the sport they emulated, had lost their spark.

Last May's announcement that Codemasters had snapped up the F1 rights got the excitement pistons going again. Much of that enthusiasm rides in the slipstream of next year's Ego-powered PS3 and 360 releases, given what the publisher has accomplished with GRID, but it would be dangerous to dismiss this year's effort on Wii (and PSP) on two counts. For one thing, developer Sumo Digital is no stranger to great racing games itself. And, of course, 2009 has been one of the best F1 seasons of the last 20 years. Even Codemasters, which has shown itself to be uncommonly shrewd when it comes to licensing in the past, must still be pinching itself over the timing.

Of course, the official seal on F1 2009 forces the game to follow some very familiar tyre marks, but at least the inclusion of Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit and the Singapore GP track (F1 2009 is first game to feature the night race, which only joined the F1 roster last year) as well as the odd revision to established venues add a touch of diversity. And there are plenty of new faces, with all of the 2009 drivers to choose from. Well, the 20 that started the season, at least - disappointingly, mid-season changes involving Grosjean, Alguersuari, Liuzzi, Kobayashi and poor old Badoer aren't catered for.

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F1 2009

Qualifying session.

"We think that the obvious thing to have done would be a cartoony, Mario Kart type of game," suggests Codemasters' F1 brand manager Paul Waters. "But we actually think there's an appetite not only for Formula One fans, but also for the Wii audience, to have a game that's more authentic and less cartoony."