F1 2012

I’d recommend this game to anyone who is willing to put the time into all it has to offer

By fishdalf, Posted 16 Oct 2012

I was never convinced of the older Formula One games; they just never had the right feel or that elevated level of realism I craved from an officially licensed game. Then Codemasters took to the driving seat and all that changed, bringing out F1 2009 that set the foundations for an immersive racing simulator and the perfect companion to the racing season. Now with their fourth title the tinkering and refining has brought us to a point that motor heads have been hoping to reach for quite some time. The game is beautiful and as a fan of the sport myself I can really appreciate the subtleties that have gone into its recreation.

Codemasters aren’t soft and they knew that mastering aspects of the game that were already to such a high standard wasn’t solely going to result in shelf sales, so to counteract that they’ve added some new features to provide the public with new reasons to pick up a copy. The first of which you’ll notice immediately as you’re put into a Young Driver Test that helps get you acquainted with the various controls and on-board systems that are made available to you out on track. It’s a welcomed tutorial for those perhaps a little unfamiliar with the series and a nice refresher course for more seasoned drivers. There are a few medals to be found here, but getting the gold on each shouldn’t pose any issues whether you’re the next Michael Schumacher or next George Michael.

F1 2012, Review

Career Mode is back and allows you to play through the season the way that best suits you, meaning you can go all out and partake in practise sessions, full three-part qualifying and the entire race, or you can choose to do One-Shot Qualifying where a single lap decides all, and then play through a minimum of 25% race distance if you’re strapped for time. Everything is presented professionally and the interface is very user-friendly, with the option of Anthony Davidson guiding you through a flying lap of each track. There’s also integrated pictures of each driver when related news pops up as well as when you choose someone as your rival. It may not sound like much, but it’s these touches that help bridge the gaps between the game and reality.

Season Challenge is a breath of fresh air to the series and plays out like a game of musical chairs. You start off with a small team and pick a rival; if you prevail over said rival over a three race period then you take his seat and proceed to choose a further rival until you’re racing for the best team, in your quest to take the title before the short ten-race season concludes. It’s an interesting process, choosing the right driver at the right time, because if you go all guns blazing and pick Vettel as your first adversary then chances are you’ll not only lose that particular battle, but you’ll also lose ground in the Driver’s Championship and struggle to recover. It would have been nice to have the option of a full twenty-race season, but I guess they wanted to stray away from that and allow the mode to possess an extra element of uniqueness when compared to Career.

F1 2012, Review

Another new addition is Champions Mode that sets scenarios against the six former World Champion’s currently still racing in Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher. The majority involve you having better tyres for the conditions than your team mate and attempting to catch him in the dying laps of the race. They’re all pretty straightforward and keeping it on the tarmac tends to bag you first place, but it’s still a great addition and adds a different element. Once you’ve beaten each driver you’re then thrown in to a race of champions against all six on the brand new Austin Circuit in Texas that makes its debut for the 2012 Formula One season and has been created from projected plans as it wasn’t actually finished at the time of the games release.

The Austin Circuit drives really well and challenges you in a number of ways with its Suzuka- like weaving corners early on and its long flat-out straights towards the middle part of the lap. It’s not just Austin, each of the twenty circuits are all wonderfully detailed and a pleasure to drive. At times you forget you’re playing a game as you get lost in the moment, with the rainy weather conditions the most aesthetically pleasing as well as the most challenging to navigate. The only downside is it rains a little too often to be believed and Codemasters have already sought to address this in their latest patch. In one Career alone it must have rained at no fewer than fifteen tracks at some point over the race weekend.

F1 2012, Review

The Dynamic Weather system is still in place and remains the best I’ve seen in any game to date, with real-time clouds moving in and conditions constantly changing on the fly. It can become a mission in itself, rolling with the punches and trying to predict which tyres are best suited at the most opportune times. It can all be a little overwhelming to handle until you become well-versed at patting your head and rubbing your belly simultaneously, but it’s at the point where it becomes second nature that you’ll begin to see a noticeable improvement in your lap times. It’s then you can opt to turn the driving aids off and see what driving one of these machines is really like, but beware as it’s not for the faint of heart and would test the most talented individual. It’s those who dare to chance that will be rewarded with a richer experience and begin to find significant chunks of extra time where others can’t by changing gears that split-second later or taking advantage of a race start with no traction control.

Once you’ve perfected your trade you can venture online with up to fifteen other players, with eight controlled by the computer-AI to make up a full grid. Alternatively you can enter a Co-op Championship with a fellow racer and compete directly with them, which is tremendous fun. The only shame is it isn’t available in offline split-screen and I can’t for the life of me think why. It’s not a massive factor in the grand scheme of things though, because this game has so much going for it. Whether you’re new to the series or have played a previous entry I’d recommend this game to anyone who is willing to put the time into all it has to offer.

Craig Bryan, NoobFeed
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General Information

F1 2012

90/100

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): Codemasters
Developer(s): Codemasters Birmingham
Genres: Driving
Themes: Racing
Release Date: 2012-09-18

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