Following hot on the heels of last year's mighty Formula One 2002, Formula One 2003 continues to refine the experience, and makes for the finest Grand Prix simulation yet seen on PlayStation 2. Now totally exclusive to PS2, the latest instalment features all the 2003 season liveries on the cars, correct driver rosters and even the track alterations that have been made to the Hungaroring and Suzuka circuits. You'll also find that all the new rules and regulations that have been introduced to the sport - and made this season arguably the most thrilling for both spectators and drivers for many years - have been implemented, such as the one-shot Friday and Saturday qualifying laps. With an extremely strong engine already in place, developer Studio Liverpool has been able to turbo charge everything from the visuals to the AI of your rival drivers. Whether you're after pure white-knuckle arcade excitement or something a little more in-depth and realistic, Formula One 2003 has everything you could possibly wish for.
So what steps have been taken to ensure that Formula One 2003 is the most authentic recreation of the sport yet seen on console? On a purely superficial level, the tracks, environments, cars and drivers have all enjoyed a significant increase in detail, and a number of new reflection and weather effects have been included. Slightly more subtly, all of the engine sounds have been re-recorded to make them roar with even more power and make them even more detailed - true audiophiles will appreciate touches such as the sound of transmission whining when you shift down a gear. Look beneath the shiny exterior, however, and you'll find that the handling has been tightened to make taking those corners at high speed an even more hair-raising experience, and the computer AI has been enhanced to make it feel like you're really racing against living, breathing human opposition.
As in Formula One 2002, you can choose between Arcade and Simulation game modes; people who prefer to get straight on to the track without any fuss should go for the former, while who want all of the depth, detail and strategy of the real thing should dash to the latter. From here, though, you have access to a further ten single and multiplayer modes: Arcade Single Race, Arcade Championship, Simulation Custom Race, Simulation Race Weekend, Simulation World Championship, Time Attack, Arcade Head 2 Head, Simulation 2-Player Race Weekend, 1-4 Player Hot Seat and the brand new Multiplayer Time Attack. The non-interactive Spectator mode takes the grand total to a whopping 11.
Formula One 2003 is the first fruit of a deal signed between SCEE and the Formula One governing body, which means that if you want to get behind the wheel of a totally authentic F1 experience over the next four years, you'll only find it on a PlayStation console. Which is quite lucky considering that the latest instalment is without doubt the greatest F1 console title on the planet, don't you think? Unparalleled attention to detail, superior handling and AI, and more modes than you'll know what to do with - Formula One 2003 takes the chequered flag whichever way you look at it.
- Improved handling, audio, visuals and AI
- Incorporates rule and track revisions made for the 2003 season
- New Multiplayer Time Attack mode