Everybody loves to race - the cars, the cheering crowd, the adrenaline rush you get, the excitement and just about everything that has to do with it. And now, get ready to burn those tires in the tracks of Formula 1, in your handheld Playstation Portable.
Be fairly warned, though; F1 2009 is still about the cars and the racing but being in a smaller package like the handheld PSP, disappointments are inevitable.
First, this is not a full-on simulation despite the fact that it has the official license of the 2009 season complete with the cars and the 17 circuits all looking as authentic as ever. Here, cars have this arcade-style slant that makes it hard to control. In order to win and make good in the race, players need to have skills when the key racing assists are deactivated. But this version is definitely more practicable than the last Formula1 Championship Edition.
F1 2009 is centered on building your career. This is a three-season mode where you have to race your way up to the ranks. The game also implements all Formula1 rules but there are no guarantees that every single one of them can be applied at all times.
Controls are patterned after the Wii version, which is quite advanced and it's doubtful if a PSP with a lower specification can handle them. The precision needed to race this fast-paced game is high and the best way to drive through it is the d-pad. After a little practice, you can get used to it and really do some unbelievable driving with cars that match those of a real-life vehicle.
AI cars here are constantly susceptible to being stuck up in gearboxes. The full field is shown on the track, which makes the game more fun when you are racing to beat the fastest lap record instead of going against an opponent. The game is greatest when played in the Challenge Mode where you are faced with arcade-style tasks like getting that fastest lap time to a point to point race.
The sorry part of this whole game is the absence of an online multiplayer mode. It can only offer a four-player event through wireless local connection that is great for racing among friends. You can be teammates or enemies and race through a whole Formula 1 season. And if you are worried about being a newbie, don't be. There are races with driving assists that will help you take on a good show while racing as your favorite driver.
The graphics on the menu list are more defined in the PSP version than that of Wii but you really need plenty of patience because there are instances when loading takes up a lot of time. The absence of commentaries in the PSP version is kind of but it's not that big a deal really.
F1 2009 can be quite a fun game to play although it might never live up to top quality racing games like that of the Gran Turismo. But among the roster of racing games by Sony's handheld, it does have a respectable chance.