F1 2009 Review
Wii | PSP
F1 2009 box art
System: Wii, PSP Review Rating Legend
Dev: Sumo Digital 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Codemasters 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 17, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

On the multiplayer side of things, you can challenge up to four friends in a standard race or one other player in a custom Championship via local ad-hoc connectivity. I was utterly surprised multiplayer was included. In fact, multiplayer wasn't needed to make the game worthwhile. Still, it's nice to have the functionality, and it works almost perfectly. Unfortunately, it's likely you're not going to have anyone to play with, especially if you're an American, as you'll probably be the only one with a copy of the game in your circle of friends. Because of this, I would have liked to have seen online action through infrastructure mode. Having the ability to join in with other racers around the world and post times and Championship points to a leaderboard would have been great.

F1 2009 screenshot

The game is well-crafted in general; of course, certain system limitations due hamper the final product. First and foremost, the analog nub is practically unusable. Thankfully, the D-pad does an admirable job of letting you feather the steering. Also, the remarkably in-depth car handling tuning system on offer doesn't really translate into a distinct driving experience - I could sort of tell things changed when taking a specific slider from one extreme to the other, but subtle adjustments simply weren't reflected. Additionally, the inclusion of KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) by the FIA in 2009 threw a bit of a grease-monkey into the wrench for Sumo Digital. In case you don't know, KERS is essentially a reserve of usable energy that is captured whilst braking (rather than simply dissipating as heat in a standard dynamic braking system). This essentially provides racers with an extra boost for passing. While KERS is an integral part of the game, you'll be able to overtake cars and set P1 lap times without it. I'll be interested to see how this functionality evolves next year.

Graphically, the game looks very good whilst on the track, delivering speed and atmosphere. However, panoramic views of the horizon are decidedly bland. Also, details and textures, especially tire marks, grass, and sand are only vaguely apparent. Likewise, sounds whilst on the track are good - the high-pitched whine of the suped-up V8 engines reverberate nicely, but the crowd noise and pit crew communications are amateurish, nearly place-holder.

F1 2009 is a very competent translation of Formula One racing. Considering it's a handheld title makes it that much more impressive. If you are a fan or even just an admirer of Formula One racing, you'll be very happy with the technical racing on offer here. On the other hand, if you are into arcade racing or simply aren't patient, the methodical approach and team-centric racing mechanics will likely bore you. Still, the inclusion of Challenge and Time Trial modes are accessible enough for even the most casual racers.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

The tracks are well rendered and there's a good sense of speed. Track textures and panorama views leave a lot to be desired.
The analog nub is useless, but you already knew that. The D-pad and accelerator transmission buttons are surprisingly precise. KERS implementation could have been better.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is very generic. The radio chatter and crowd noises are poor. The whining of car engines and the transitions between surfaces are spot-on.
Play Value
The single-player is jam-packed with varied game modes. The simulation of Formula One racing is very accurate. As a bonus, playing with friends through ad-hoc support is a nice touch.
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • The most authentic Formula One experience: A comprehensive recreation of the world's most spectacular motorsport, F1 2009 takes PSP racing to a whole new level of immersion and authenticity.
  • Be Lewis Hamilton: F1 2009 is the first game to feature World Champion Lewis Hamilton, plus all the other driver of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship. Pick your favorite star and take on the world!
  • All the officially licensed cars for the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship: Whichever Formula One team you follow they will be present, fully licensed and fully playable in F1 2009 from Ferrari and McLaren to the all-new Brawn GP team.
  • All the tracks for the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship: Take to the tarmac on all 17 2009 season tracks, including Monaco, the Singapore night race and the all new 2009 Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, all realized in meticulous detail.
  • Ad-hoc co-operative and head-to-head multiplayer: Go wheel to wheel with up to three friends in a quick race or alternatively take on the two player challenges or an entire season in co-operative mode.
  • Bite-sized challenges: Take on a host of quick play challenges that will test your driving skills - ideal for a wait at the bus stop.
  • Vehicle Damage: F1 2009's realistic damage model accurately simulates the dramatic effects of mid-race collisions.
  • KERS integration: New boost system fully useable in-game, plus aero-dynamic changes incorporated to make 2009 the most exciting Formula One season and game ever.
  • Full grid: Experience all the thrills of race day as you jostle for position at breakneck speeds against the full grid of 20 cars.
  • Pit stops: Full pit-stop integration allows you to alter your strategy mid-race to refuel and repair damage incurred.
  • Pit Radio: Your team provides vital race information and strategic advice over the radio as you drive your way to the front of the pack.

  • Screenshots / Images
    F1 2009 screenshot - click to enlarge F1 2009 screenshot - click to enlarge F1 2009 screenshot - click to enlarge F1 2009 screenshot - click to enlarge F1 2009 screenshot - click to enlarge F1 2009 screenshot - click to enlarge F1 2009 screenshot - click to enlarge F1 2009 screenshot - click to enlarge F1 2009 screenshot - click to enlarge F1 2009 screenshot - click to enlarge F1 2009 screenshot - click to enlarge F1 2009 screenshot - click to enlarge

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