It's well known that the Wii possesses very little in the way of racing simulations. While there is a handful out there, they all fail to capture the racing magic of the Forzas and Turismos of the other consoles. Enter Codemasters' "F1 2009," attempting to give the Wii some credibility in the racing sim category. And for the most part, it does its job. But a few nagging problems eek out it's seemingly flawless finish.
Running on a version of their Ego game engine that's powered their previous games since the original "DiRT," Codemasters gives us a similar experience in their brand of racing sim. To those unfamiliar with their work, their racing games are primarily focused on a robust career mode with all the trimmings while allowing you to feel like a part of the action by creating a profile for ranking purposes. Even though it's on the Wii, it attempts to give you everything you could want from a racing sim: a decent career mode, tuning options, and options to make the game more like the real thing.
The game visually...well the game is almost sub par Dreamcast graphics here. I know this is the Wii's biggest weakness, but it really isn't that distracting once you get over it. What really makes up for the lackluster visuals is the game's sense of speed. Much like "F-Zero X," it's more about the feelings of true speed than the graphical intensity. But best in show this game will not win.
Good control in a game like this is paramount to having an oxygen tank while scuba diving, and with the options available, you have a fair pick of what works for you. This game is one of the few reasons to invest in a Logitech racing wheel, especially if your tastes in racing on the Wii tend to lean more towards realism than games ending in the word "kart". With your tuning options and helpful guides like the on-track race guideline, you can improve your own game against 2009's fiercest drivers.
Unfortunately, there are a few grievances to be had in this game. Multiplayer is sadly only a two player affair (whereas the PSP version offers four player racing via wireless). No attempt at either a system link or even online was made which is sad considering Codemasters' previous racing games had excellent online experiences. The touted career mode only lasts for three seasons, which seems like a gyp or time constraints in making the game. The challenge mode attempts to make up for your brief driving career by offering over 75 interesting tests of skill for those willing to prove they have the Spirit of Andretti flowing in their veins.
Final Verdict - 7/10
Currently it's the only semi decent F1 racer on the market, and for those that need to fulfill that sensation of rocketing though Monte Carlo, it's a good surrogate until a 2010 game comes out.