F1 2009 PSP review
F1 2009 PSP
Every now and then a game pops up that you can’t wait to play. For me, that game is F1 2009 for PSP. It is the first official Formula 1 game since 2007, when Studio Liverpool released their interpretation of the sport.
November 19 was the day I was finally able to play with my favorite F1 drivers again on some of the best tracks in the world. But was it worth the wait?
The menus are very basic. First, you will need to enter your name, country, and other relevant information that will represent you in online games and (more importantly) in career mode. The main menu shows a car in the background and the options it has. You can play a Quick Race, Grand Prix Weekend, World Championship, Race, Ad-hoc, or Challenges. Once you have selected a car in any of the modes, the background car will switch to your selected team. This is a nice touch that can go a long way in your overall presentation. Before each race, you will see parts of the track, similar to official television coverage. The graphics of the game are very decent. The cars look good and the tracks are built with the smallest detail. Although I have to admit that some tracks look a bit flat. The first real problem arises when you start a career. Frames suffer a considerable impact at the beginning of races and when there are many cars together. You won’t notice this in practice or qualifying, but it will compromise your racing experience. The sound is decent too. I like that the engine sounds better than previous PSP F1 titles. But the sound of KERS activation is really fake and annoying. As is the music from the main menu.
How to play
The most important thing in a racing title is that you drive well. F1 2009 fails in this department. All cars spin like crazy; a small touch of the directional buttons will be enough to take even the slowest corners. This is problematic because it makes small fixes really difficult. We also don’t like the inclusion of KERS (boost button for 7 seconds per lap) on every car in the game. In real life, only Ferrari and Mclaren have used it and it is not realistic to see it in all F1 2009 contenders. After a few hours of driving we got used to the steering, which was great. But then came the AI. Computer cars tend to hit you from behind. They are too aggressive. But other than that, we have few complaints about computer cars. They can crash into the wall and make mistakes, just like a real person. I was also surprised to see a Brawn car behind me crashing into the first corner of the German GP.
Now I must mention the race, as this will be the place where you will spend most of your time. An agent contacts you by email and keeps you informed of F1 events and events you have with other teams. At first, you can try out for BMW and Toro Rosso, but if you don’t get a seat, you will have a place in the Force India team. So you will drive the Grand Prix no matter what; you cannot be a test driver. We appreciate this as most people only care about racing, but it is just another layer of depth lost in F1 2009. Two other complaints we have about career mode is that emails feel very static. They try to make it more realistic by saying things like, “Ferrari feels there is no competition for the 2009 championship,” but overall it doesn’t feel human. The other and last problem we have with the race is the fact that it lasts only 3 seasons. When you’re done with your run, two more exciting modes await. First up is the challenge mode where you try to overcome bite-sized challenges such as overtaking Hamilton or overtaking as many cars as you can. It works fine on a portable system, but it doesn’t excite an F1 fan like me. However, the ad-hoc thrills me. You can drive a full season with a friend or with anyone in the world. This is a lot of fun, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to test it yet.
Compared to the past
It’s hard not to compare this game to the last F1 game on the PSP, which was F1 06. First, the graphics and sounds are a bit better in F1 2009, but that’s hardly considered an achievement as the game came out. three years later. F1 2009 seems more dynamic when it comes to penalties and AI pace. Causing a collision can cause you to drive or stop and continue. This is very pretty and very realistic. Also, the pace of the AI is commendable. We found that the teams were faster in the curtain GP than others. Ferrari was driving in the midfield in China, but it was very competitive in Monaco. This is something we haven’t seen in an F1 game before – ever! Synchronization is also improved in this game. Now your lap times will be compared to the fastest time just like in real life. In F1 06 the times were compared to your personal best. F1 2006 has this game better when it comes to feedback (F1 2009 doesn’t) and gameplay.
F1 2009 for PSP has enormous potential. We love the little details like the penalty system and the way the game handles time differences. The graphics are really nice and it’s great to finally be able to play with the latest cars and drivers. But the severe frame drops moderate the gaming experience, and the handling isn’t even close to what an F1 car should drive.