Formula Challenge PS2 Review

£40 can be quite a strain on a lot of people’s bank balances and that’s why the prices of budget titles are much more attractive, at least in theory. As budget titles are known for being cheaply made though, we would love to see the day when ends meet and new titles were sold for a more affordable £20. Take Formula Challenge for instance it may retail for a mere £15, but we could think of much better things to spend our cash on.

Formula Challenge takes its inspiration from the fast and Ferrari-dominating world of Formula one, which as an arcade racer it does initially sound rather promising, but upon playing the game, any promises turn into nothing but forceful lies, as this is one title that never really gets off the starting grid, stuttering to come together as anything other then a unplayable and complete hash.

Despite being an arcade racer, the handling of the cars is just too twitchy, and movement looks erratic to say the least. We were left wondering why coming to contact with the grass did nothing but spin our cars around into unwanted sections of the track, and why going along the speed strips that skirt the track made us lose any control we had over our cars. Granted it is an arcade racer, such unruly physics just let the game down.

AI cars zoom along the tracks and look like they’re struggling to control their cars and dancing on nasty ice, such is the often-obscure movements of your opponents. Even on the starting grid the AI shows nothing but aggression, and will drive right through you, pushing you off the starting line, bizarrely, forgetting about the qualifying sessions and starting from the back of the pack is often the better bet, and gets you into some sort of position earlier on in the race. Negatives aside, the AI cars are prone to human-like errors, which is one of the very few positive features of the game that aside there’s much better titles that boast exactly the same thing.

A 10-race championship is available, and these 10 tracks (across Asia, America and Europe) are one of the games few redeeming qualities, which are nicely designed and for the most part don’t seem thrown together like the rest of the game. Our favourite is the long straights of America, which reflect the countries persistent cry out for “faster, faster”.

Graphically and sonically the game lacks the personality that a lot of arcade-style racing titles possess. The graphics are boxy and characterless (the cars appear to be slightly detached from the tarmac at times) and the sound is just as bad, each vehicle hums like it is being powered by a lawnmower engine and leaving the ground and returning to the track sounds like a thunderstorm is suddenly breaking out, all nasty stuff.

Formula Challenge may not be the worst game we’ve played but it damn sure is a long way from being the best. The £15 price tag seems a little too high for the quality of the game, and much better value can be found for slightly less cash. Kids who don’t know any better may get some enjoyment out of it, for anyone else we can’t recommend this one at all.