F1 Championship Edition
is a simulation-style racer featuring teams, drivers and tracks from the 2006 FIA Formula One Championship season. Of course, these things wonít mean much to the North American market, but overseas these would be like offering Madden
without NFL teams.
The heart of F1 Championship Edition is its Career mode. You begin as a rookie driver running trial runs for teams looking for a driver. Eventually youíll make a team as either a race or test driver. Both career tracks offer a different style of play that will appeal to different types of players. Those who enjoy performance tweaking more than competition will enjoy life as a test driver, while those with a competitive edge will want to become a race driver. As a driver, you will be given a certain number of goals to achieve over the course of a season. These usually involve making a certain rank, though winning a championship or two doesnít hurt either.
As fast a sport as F1 racing is, it is actually a pretty boring one as well. Not in that NASCAR all left turns way, but in order to get into a real race you have to jump through a number of hoops that can become tedious.
Races begin with a series of test laps where you get a feel for your carís performance. After each lap either you, or the computer, will adjust your carís performance. Then you race another lap to check the changes. Once your car is performing the way you want, you then enter a series of qualifying races to try and get a good starting position. Gearheads and hardcore race fans will get more out of the pre-race activities than casual racing fans since it really isnít all that fun. Thereís even a certain amount of tedium that comes with quick games as well. In short, this isnít a game you can jump into for a quick race or two.
Races can be fun if you know what youíre doing. With all of the assists on, there isnít much to it. You follow the dotted line and let the assists do most of the work. The real rewards come with turning off the assists, though it takes some work to get to this point. Even when you do get to that point, F1 Championship Edition is still hard. This turns out to be one of the gameís biggest flaws; it does everything it can to be accessible to a wider audience, though at the same time it takes a while before the game becomes rewarding.
Several other basic gameplay modes are also available, including Time Trial, Quick Race and World Championship. Online play is also available, though races only support 11 players with A.I. racers filling out the other slots. In addition, thereís no league or team support, nor is there voice chat.