Formula One – it’s all about racing around in circles, right?
Not exactly in this latest annual outing from Codemasters, who’ve been given the job of updating the racing title on an annual basis and keeping the masses happy.
So, with this latest update, there’s been a few tweaks and changes, but it’s pretty much business as usual as you’d expect from the franchise. Once again, you’re in the driver’s seat but you’ll need to take time out to learn the ropes before you get fully started.
Over two days of drivers’ testing, you get to learn the basics of handling, using KERS and DRS and generally how to rewind time if you blow a tyre on the track (I kid you not – one of the features allows you to rewind the screw up and press a button just before to avoid it happening in the first place). If you’ve played before, this easily presented menu of reminisence will prove to be something of a brief chore but for all others, it’s a handy and not too long intro to driving.
From there, it’s on to the campaign trail and the hard task of actually doing a good job. It’s quite a difficult game to master and may take even the die hard fans of F1 games a little time to build up a decent performance on the track as well as shave a bit of time off your laps. But it’s a fully immersive experience with techs talking to you, emails flying around and commentary which is quite supportive as opposed to being a distraction.
Graphically, the game is slick and well-produced; backgrounds fly by in a well defined blur but show there’s been plenty of work put into them and the cars themselves are polished and look good on the screen (right down to the sponsors’ logos). With a new champions mode giving you the option to race head to head with some of the best, there’s new content as well for those who may be wavering on whether to reinvest again in what’s essentially the same concept.
I guess at the end of the day, how much you enjoy F1 2012 will really depend on how much you already enjoy the concept and franchise.
There’s plenty of tension with the racing and also many chances for you to up your game and the simulation from its screeching tyres and howling engines is pretty top notch. The chance to go online and take on others extends this game’s life a little longer (or until next year’s update) but I think, unlike previous F1 games I’ve played before, this one feels more like a chance for newbies to jump in and get involved without getting lost in the intricacies and skills of the game. You will need real skill to progress but unlike previous titles, you’ll get to earn that skill and if you’re willing to invest a fair whack of time, see its benefits.
Hopefully, F1 2012 will garner a new audience of fans – because while Codemasters is doing a very good job of keeping the franchise fresh for its core fans, the casual gamer is still the key demo it needs to tap into to extend the franchise’s reach even further.