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The gameplay of F1 2001 is the best yet for the series on a console. The nagging issues of super grip and limited tuning options have been addressed and the game has rounded the corner on its way to becoming a potential sim lover's dream. There are just a few nagging issues with rules, team strength, speed bleed off, and setups that have to be addressed. The handling is a nice balance of arcade and sim elements.
F1 2001 made the transition from PS2 well as a competent but unspectacular port. Given the added power of the hardware, the Xbox version should look a lot better -- but it doesn't. As a matter of fact, the game's load times are actually longer on Xbox -- an unforgivable fact considering that the machine's got a hard drive. On the flipside, F1 2001 remains an extremely fun and accessible F1 racer that uses its official license nearly perfectly. Given the post-2001 season release, it would have been nice if the game had used actual 2001 qualifying times or actual events -- but that's just a minor quibble. The cars look great, all the drivers and tracks are here, the pre-race color commentary is intelligent and informative, and most importantly, the races are exciting and all the modes are fun to play. I'll be first in line next year to buy the sequel.
The audio is pretty good, if not really spectacular. There’s no in-race music, and it fails to take advantage of the Xbox hard drive for custom soundtracks (C’mon EA, throw us a bone here). All you get is the sounds of the engines, the roaring crowd once you pass a grandstand, and the voice of your pit guy barking out positions and such. He’ll let you know where you stand, when you get your best lap, and when to watch out for other cars nearing you. In other words, he can be very annoying, but useful when you’re behind and have to make a move.
Ultimately, F1 2001 for the Xbox is a wholly satisfying racing game. Although its loading time between screens is actually longer than the PlayStation 2 version's, its interface remains extremely slick, and while some of the in-game menus have some room for improvement, the entire game's presentation is well done. F1 2001 can be played 10 different ways--five single-player and five multiplayer modes--and its many tuning options make it adjustable for a wide range of experience levels. The controls are tight, the sound is on par with similar racing games, and the graphics are what you'd expect from any of today's consoles. If you're an Xbox owner and a Formula One fan, then you don't have much of a choice beyond F1 2001. Thankfully, it's a great game in its own right and is wholeheartedly recommendable to anyone who enjoys racing games.
F1 2001 may not have the sim feel that some hardcore F1 fans are after, but it does cover enough bases to provide decent entertainment for most racing fans. EA did a good job porting this game over to the Xbox and even improved the graphics a little. Lots of options, some cool details and plenty of modes make this late entry one solid racing game.