The sequel to the BAFTA award winning Formula One videogame arrives with a heavy expectation.
And if you’re an F1 fan, it won’t disappoint.
It’s not a radical departure from the Formula One racing games which have preceded it – basically, you get to take a car out on racing tracks from around the world and blast it around, trying to come first and avoiding spin outs or crashes.
But it’s very playable once you get into the Grand Prix season as you can take control of your favourite driver from Jensen Button to Michael Schumacher – they’re all on hand for you to select – as well as your favourite racing team too.
However, it’s not just about being on the brilliantly realized tracks (which I’ll come to in a moment) – there’s plenty of behind the scenes depth as well. From engineers to checking emails and looking at weather reports, the pits are well realized and give a level of playing depth which is sometimes lacking in these kinds of games. Granted, the game rises and falls on its racing but it’s nice to see there’s some consideration given to the whole F1 experience rather than just how fast you can go on the track.
Let’s get to the action on the track – in many ways, it’s thrilling. The casual racing fan may be sucked into the world too but if you’re a F1 nut, this really is the fix you’re after.
The driving of the car itself requires a bit of skill and a little initial adjustment as you line up on the grid. But the cars themselves are fairly well realized; their fronts shimmer in the sun as you blast around the track; vibrant colours capture the thrill of being on a circuit or going past a grandstand of fans. Add into that mix, an engineer giving you tips and urging caution over the radio and it’s almost as if you’re in the car racing for McLaren or Williams et al.
The car handling itself can take a little time – and you have to be quick to realize that failure to drive properly can result in either understeer or oversteer, meaning you have to pay some attention to how you perform. Add to that the fact the rules of F1 are fairly rigidly applied and you can be disqualified or penalized if the officials deem your racing to be sneaky or dangerous, and you’ve got a fairly spot on simulation of the sport. Throw in analysis of the cars and state of the tyres during and after a race, you can get an appreciation of what skills are employed by all during a full on F1 season.
With online and multiplayer facilities, it has to be said Codemasters have covered all the bases; with cut scenes of wins being celebrated as well as losses, there’s certainly a good strong pitch for the overall experience – but unless you’re a serious F1 fan, this latest game may leave you with a curious feeling; you can appreciate the effort which has gone in, however, it’s a little too cold and clinical to either immerse yourself fully in or become seriously addicted..