“F1 2009” by Codemasters (Wii)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

F1 2009 for Nintendo Wii has an up-to-date roster of teams and tracks
F1 2009 for Nintendo Wii has an up-to-date roster of teams and tracks

Codemasters picked two formats for their new official Formula 1 game “F1 2009”.

Yesterday we looked at the handheld Sony PSP version – but what’s the game like played in full screen on a Nintendo Wii? Read on to find out.

It’s not hard to see why the Wii is the first major console to get the latest official Formula 1 game. Despite being technically inferior to the Sony PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 it has out-stripped both for sales. According to Nintendo at the end of last month over 56 million had been sold worldwide (see PDF).

Its motion-sensitive controller has broadened the appeal of gaming to people who wouldn’t usually pick up a joypad. And “F1 2009” aims to play to that by coming boxed with a special adaptor which allows you to hold it like a steering wheel.

This makes for a much more enjoyable driving experience than you get playing the game on the PSP. I found it worked best when I switched to the in-car camera view so I could see exactly how turning my wheel affected the one on-screen.

It’s nothing like as accurate as using a proper steering wheel set-up. It has a large ‘dead zone’ in the centre of the turning motion, meaning you have to turn it quite a lot for the car to change direction. But it works perfectly well for the simplistic demands of “F1 2009’s” arcade-style racing.

The other major difference between “F1 2009” on the Wii and PSP is that you are playing the game in full screen which show the graphics in all their glory. Or not, as the case might be.

Trying to render 20 cars on-screen at once taxes the Wii even with the comparatively simple graphics of “F1 2009”. Whenever you catch up with a clutch of cars at a tight corner there is a noticeable drop-off in frame rate. And if you execute a particularly stunning pass and want to watch a replay of it, you’ll be in for a disappointment as there’s no replay facility.

Much of the reaction to the early images and video of the game published here focused on the simplicity of the graphics. But Nintendo’s gamble that the Wii would ship more units by sacrificing graphical quality for a more tactile gaming experience proved accurate, so I suspect F1-loving Wii-owners will get exactly what they want out of this game. Xbox 360 and PS3 owners will get a 2010-spec game next year.

Apart from the control system and graphics, and some subtle differences in the menus, “F1 2009” for the Wii is much the same as the PSP version, so do refer back to that review for more on the cars, tracks, teams, technology and other 2009 season details.

And if you’ve played either version of the game, please tell us what you thought of them in the comments.

F1Fanatic rating

Buy F1 2009 for Sony PSP

Buy F1 2009 for Nintendo Wii

F1 2009 for Nintendo Wii video

F1 Fanatic earns a commission on products sold via the links to our affiliate partners above, however you are not charged any extra.