Formula One has arguably had two of the most exciting years in recent memory, particularly if you're British. It is, however, a sport that remains somewhat divisive, perhaps alienating even. Codemasters - the folks that brought us GRID - are hoping to change that, to capitalise upon the recent surge in interest, and now, armed with a full official F1 license, they've brought their first game of the series to the Wii: home of all that is universal, family friendly and fun.
Just in time for Christmas, the good folk over at Tesco have seen fit to slash their pricing of this recent release to just £17.99, a welcome figure that not only puts the game rather nicely in the sub-twenty section for recession-hit wallets, but also means a saving of about £7 when compared to the nearest competitor (Shopto - £24.99). Do note that this is the Solus version of the game, and doesn't come with the wheel peripheral, but that any wheel will do, so Mario Kart owners will be able to hit the track straight away.
It's not the best looking game out there by any stretch of the imagination. Don't expect the spit and polish of a Forza 3 here because it will be entirely in vain. But then, the Wii has never been about what's under the hood, but how the thing operates; and, by that logic, F1 2009 is something of a winner.
As with a lot of cross-platform games that end up on the Wii, what is sacrificed for in presentation is slightly made up for in terms of gameplay, and this is certainly quite a fun little game to play. The textures are murky and blurrier than Courtney Love's eyesight after a night on the tiles, but the frame rate is as smooth as silk for the most part and the cars handle very well indeed, encouraging aggressive Hamilton-esque driving.
The game modes are fully fleshed out too, with your Quick Play, split-screen multiplayer and Time Trial staples backed up with a Challenge Mode that sees you take part in 70 different bite-sized chunks of racing, and the Championship and Grand Prix Weekend mode that go some way towards simulating all of the on-track shenanigans that occur as part of a race meet. Finally, there's a lengthy, if pretty standard, Career Mode for you to get your teeth into, that let's you go from rookie zero to racing hero, playing mechanic along the way as you tweak and fiddle with the bits and pieces of your vehicle in response to off-track data, team memos and test session feedback.
It's a fun and unquestionably fast experience and one that keeps on pushing you to take corners tighter, find better lines and improve your lap times. The damage model is pretty forgiving too, allowing you to concentrate on your own race. Career Mode is pretty average when all's said and done, but Challenge Mode is highly engaging and the most addictive aspect of the game. True, the presentation is about as bland as a stale Ryvita cracker, but Codemasters and Sumo Digital have absolutely nailed the driving part of the package, once again pretty much fulfilling the Wii's remit.
Thanks to smokinjoe18 from HotUKDeals