When I first put F1 2010 in to play I had no idea of what to expect, it
has been a long time since I had played a Formula 1 game. I was not
expecting a great deal from this title, but found myself pleasantly
surprised and warming to the title over my play time. F1 2010 takes a
sport that has had games made for quite some time but has never really
struck a chord with the mainstream gaming market, does 2010 change all
The modes are a pretty standard assortment, with career, grand prix and
multiplayer. Grand Prix mode lets you select a number of parameters and
events and basically play through your own custom season. Multiplayer is
very standard and offers nothing revolutionary. The big step forward is
the career mode.
Career mode is the main mode of F1 2010 and where you will likely spend
the majority of your playing time. At the introduction of the career
mode you are prompted to choose your country of origin and what you want
people to call you, it was a nice touch to have your name verbalised,
provided you were in the list provided. You then choose your team; none
of the top teams are available at the beginning of career mode as this
privilege must be earned. You will also have the options to decide the
length of the races, and the difficulty setting.
Once you enter your first race weekend, practice and qualifying occur
prior to the race, these can be skipped but it is highly advisable that
you at least complete qualifying. This aspect feels quite immersive,
while in the pit the menus are provided from a first person perspective,
with each item of the menu allocated to a different part of the garage
or person, for example, the team engineer is where you will change the
set up of your car and go out onto the track, at which point you are
rolled out of the garage. In between races you will go to your trailer,
not different from the trailer in DIRT 2 trailer, except cleaner. This
is where you can speak with your agent to get your standings, enter
races and leave season mode. If you do really well in a session or
unusually poorly you will be confronted with the media who will ask you
a series of questions related to your season, and if you come in the top
three in a race you will be involved in the post race press conference.
The experience itself is very immersive and can really draw you into the
world of F1.
The cockpit view is by far the most immersive, but comes with its
Game play wise F1 is a bit of a mixed bag, the game play can often feel
very simplistic and arcade like, but then if you hit a curb at low
speeds and accelerate you will spin, causing a huge amount of
frustration. One of the biggest aspects in enjoying this game comes from
selecting the correct difficulty settings, as the standard ones seem to
be strange combinations of the options. It can be a juggling act between
finding the right driver aids, penalties and also opposition difficulty.
If you set these too low then you will be winning races easily even when
racing for lower level teams, and if it is too hard you will be
struggling to make the top 20 and be spinning all the time. Once you get
this right though and find yourself struggling to make the 10 and
perhaps getting an occasional podium you will find yourself being drawn
into the world.
This brings me to my big complaint about F1 2010, the game feels as
though it was designed to be played with a steering wheel controller,
the steering can be very touchy, and the throttle is even touchier when
played with a controller. In order to come out of the corners with just
medium traction control on without spinning involves a deal of finesse
with the right trigger. This can lead to a huge amount of frustration as
spinning in F1 can cost you a huge amount of time and positions. I was
not fortunate enough to play with the steering wheel but could not shake
the feeling the whole time that would have given me the throttle control
that was required.
The graphics in F1 2010 are good but nothing too special, the cars are
modelled beautifully, and accidents are spectacular. When a couple of
opponents crash in front of you and you are forced to swerve in between
the smashed panels is fantastic, these moments are rare though, as the
nature of the sport you will spend most of your time looking at the tail
of a car or the surroundings. The in car perspective is very detailed
and really makes you feel like you are inside an F1 car, there is an
annoying aerial right in the middle, this is simply keeping to the
source material though. One big gripe about cock pit view is that during
one race I found myself unable to see the track guide on the bottom
corner of the screen because it was the same colour as the tyres, which
is very frustrating during practice when you have no idea of the layout
of the track.
The rain effects are fantastic in F1 2010, and provide a heavily reduced
level of visibility.
The surroundings of the tracks seem very bland and lifeless, that is not
to say that they are bad, they just seem boring. There are some tracks
that I was expecting to really stand out and seem epic to drive around,
I never got this feeling, the stands in Shanghai should have been an
almost intimidating experience to drive near. There just seemed to be no
sense of scale. Chances are you will have little time to look away from
the road with the speeds that you will be travelling and you will not
notice the graphics away from the track. The graphics throughout the
trailer and pit are nothing too spectacular, but get the job done.
The sound is fantastic in F1 2010, the screaming of the engines while
red lining is fantastic, you get the sense that that engine behind you
is really straining and going flat out. The cars sound good through
either stereo or surround sound. When 5.1 surround sound is available
the sound is unbelievable, when you are being tailed by your opponents
you can hear where they are behind you, to the left or right, this is so
noticeable that you will find yourself using this for blocking
manoeuvres. You also guidance from your engineer about what is going on
with the race, weather, other drivers, etc. This information can at
times be very helpful, but these messages do become very repetitive
after a number of races.
The loading times in F1 2010 can seem very long, and display a small
number of hints and facts that cycle through on a very regular basis and
players will most likely grow very tired of seeing these same, not so
helpful tips over and over again.
Overall, F1 2010 can be a very immersive game and draw you in for a few
seasons provided you are patient with it and go in the right mindset.
The career mode is based on starting at the bottom and working your way
up and if you play this way and set the difficulty so that you are mid
pack and not always winning the experience can be very gratifying.
Players will need to sink a few hours into this to get the hang of the
driving and to really get into the season. There are some gripes that
will hinder your overall enjoyment if you let them, no deal breakers if
you love F1 and have been waiting for a decent career mode or are simply
looking for your next racing sim. This is not a game for those looking
for a quick racing fix, players will really want to sink their teeth
into this one to get the most of it, and really take the perspective of
starting at the bottom. Delayed gratification seems to be relevant in F1
2010, that first podium will be all the gratifying if you have struggle
for a season breaking into the top 10.