F1 2012 360 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
F1 2012
Reviewed by
Sean Warhurst
on
F1 2012 360 Review. As a Formula 1 simulator, there really is nothing better on the market, and the dichotomy between the desires of the hardcore and the casual gaming market has been balanced exquisitely.
Rating:
4.25

Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 9.0
Sound 8.0
Value 8.5
Developer: Codemasters
Rating: G
Review Date: September 2012
Reviewer:
Sean Warhurst

8.5


F1 2012

The first thing one notices about the third release in Codemastersí Formula 1 series is that itís much more accessible than previous iterations, with the learning curve tempered ever so slightly to accommodate newcomers and those of us who donít have the time to play for 8 hour bursts.

In an attempt to cater to a demographic outside of hardcore Formula 1 fans, the game has included three new modes that are more conducive to the pick up and play gaming habits of the casual gaming market.

One of these is the well received Young Driver Test on the Abu Dhabi track, basically a tutorial that allows new users the opportunity to get to grips with the rudimentary basics of F1 racing, such as taking hairpins and teaching them about KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) and DRS (Drag Reduction System).

Another is Season Challenge, in essence a truncated F1 career consisting of ten races. The basic premise is the same as the exhaustive full length career, just streamlined somewhat ; you start at the bottom and work your way up by selecting a rival from another team and challenging them to a three race competition Ė If you beat them, you take their seat. This mode is a godsend for those of us who arenít blessed with the multiple hours necessary to reach the top in career mode, as it allows us to feel the victorious sensation attached to progressing through the ranks to the top teams and eventually becoming World Champion.

Last, but certainly not least, is Champions Mode. According to Creative Director Steve Hood, this mode was inspired by there being six World Champions on the grid for the 2012 season, and it allows you to go head to head with each one of them in scenario based races.

Long term F1 fans may be a tad perturbed by all of these additional modes, but fret not! The lengthy career mode that is the meat and potatoes of the series has returned practically untouched from previous iterations and is still a challenging mistress that will rob you of your social life and sleep in equal measure.

And, of course, there is always the Quick Race option for those of us who just want to take a quick spin behind the wheel.

So, the game is aiming to widen its fan-base and the inclusion of these new modes certainly pave the way by knocking down the barriers that may have prevented newcomers from giving the games a serious chance. Itís a savvy move on Codemasters behalf.

Multiplayer options are basically identical to F1 2011, but other noticeable changes to the game include a system that allows you to localise weather depending on where you are racing and a tweaked flashback system - Basically a time rewinding mechanic reminiscent of Prince of Persia Ė Which is always a nice touch and definitely comes in handy by allowing you to regain your position after a particularly damaging spin out.

Handling is slightly more arcade like this time around, especially  if you use the immense amount of driver assist tools, such as assisted braking, which certainly helps if you're new to the genre and don't want to spend your first few hours ploughing into walls at high speed.

However, if you rely on these too much, you'll soon find that you have no chance whatsoever of obtaining a decent position in a race, as the braking assist slows your car down to a literal crawl, making it almost impossible to even complete the final challenge of the Drivers Test or get a semi decent lap time under your belt. They should only be used as a way of alleviating the notoriously hard learning curve until youíre comfortable to go at it alone, like virtual training wheels, if you like.

Understeering is a bit of an issue and it takes some time to come to grips with braking a lot earlier than usually expected. Apparently this issue has been noted by Codemasters and a patch is to be released soon in order to rectify this.

There are great visual representations of all of the famous Formula 1 tracks and the stars of the sport, as expected, are included as a part of the major racing teams. The penalties are as unforgiving as ever, although they can be slightly negated by using the flashback feature. Rubber-banding AI is practically non-existent, so you have to earn your place on the podium based on your own merits.

There is a nice balance of difficulties amongst the achievements; some of them you'll get rather easily, while others will have you pulling your hair out whilst putting your driving skills to the test.  

Graphics/Audio

The graphics are top of the range, as to be expected from a top tier title such as this. In the cockpit view, your car, opponents and the stunning weather effects Ė Especially that gorgeous rain Ė are rendered so sweetly that Iím pretty sure they gave me Diabetes.

I noticed a few graphical glitches when pulling into the pit, such as what appeared to be a crew member who had appeared to suddenly gain the power of teleportation, but these were infrequent.

The colour palette is slightly muted, however, and spectators resemble cardboard cut-outs, harking back to the days of the PS1. But with the cockpit and fellow racers rendered so impeccably, down to the individual stones that lodge in your tires if you leave the track, this can be forgiven... And really, who watches the crowd in a race anyway?

Audio is generally limited to sound effects and tips fed to you through your headset. The sound effects are brilliant, as always, and really serve to immerse you in the game. However, I personally found the lack of an option to turn on subtitles frustrating, as the accent of your team leader is a little thick and muffled on occasion, but generally this isnít really an issue.

Final Level

F1 2012 is much more accessible than its predecessors, however the learning curve is still rather steep; if you have the time and dedication to persevere through it you'll have a blast, however it's not really suited to an overnight rental and requires a lot of dedication and practice in order to get the full benefit of the game.

As a Formula 1 simulator, there really is nothing better on the market, and the dichotomy between the desires of the hardcore and the casual gaming market has been balanced exquisitely. Credit must be given to Codemasters for refusing to rest on their laurels like some annual releases and making an effort to give us a new game rather than adding a few minor tweaks and releasing what amounts to a glorified expansion pack.

Due to these changes, I found myself enjoying F1 2012 quite a lot more than I expected and would recommend it to any racing fan.  






 
 



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