Review: F1 2012
Ever since Codemasters released F1 2012, I’ve been completely hooked. I was never any good at any of the previous Formula 1 titles, but everything in 2010 clicked. F1 2011 was a great improvement and now we find ourselves with the release of F1 2012, how much was likely to change form the previous year? Thankfully Codies have done another excellent job.
The first thing you will notice is that the UI is much better and looks a whole lot more professional. They make great use of imagery for the menus and now it is consistent across the game – no more annoying trailer to move around. The game starts you off in a Young Drivers Test, where you are whisked of to Abu Dhabi to get some driving done. Whether you are an experienced F1 racer or a newbie, it’s a great way of going over the basics such as learning about apexes, driving lines and driving in wet conditions. You also get some hands on practice with features such as KERS or DRS. There is a mixture of hands-on practice and some short videos to give you all the information you need to begin your career in F1. Each test is graded to give you an idea of how well you are doing. Despite playing the F1 series, I found that the tests did a great job of explaining how to get the best from the car you are driving (and how much practice I actually needed).
Car handling has a bit of a love-hate relationship, as you are speeding round Spa, hitting the all the apexes perfectly and cornering like Lewis Hamilton it’s a thing of pure beauty, but be warned, clip the curb or power out of a corner too soon and you will be punished. F1 is all about time and the slightest mistake can ruin a race for you - edging out on to the grass will affect the grip your tyres have, they also affect by how well you corner, sliding in and out of corners will ruin your tyres and could alter your pit stop strategy. On top all of that, your car could develop a fault randomly which can end your race at the blink of an eye. Of course you then have to contend with the weather changes and the other drivers ready to pounce on the slightest mistake you make. I experienced plenty of exciting battles further back in the field in my Force India car, mainly battling to save my position, rather than pushing to get further ahead. There are all the rules and regulations that need to be obeyed too and you will get punished if you break any of these. You can also pause the game and check out any race incidents via the Race Director throughout the race.
Codemasters attention to detail means that the purists can get down and dirty with their car when preparing for their races. In the traditional Career mode you can choose between a full racing weekend, which will involve all the practice sessions, allowing you to try and complete R&D objectives to help improve your car. You can then spend time out on the track to see how well your car responds. Thankfully this can all be reduced to a single qualifying lap and the race itself, which is perfect for those who have less time on their hands. In the Career menu you can access emails with contract offers from other teams, as well as information about each race weekend from your engineer.
This year some new modes have been introduced to game, first up being Season Challenge. Set over ten 5-Lap race weekends, you start at one of the lower teams and pick a rival. Then over the next three races you have to try and beat your rival, if successful you’ll receive a contract offer from that team before selecting a new rival, all at the same time whilst trying to win the championship. It’s a quick way of getting some races done and a good chance to drive for teams you may have overlooked in the past. Another new mode is called Champions mode which gives you a chance to race in different scenarios against some of F1’s top drivers, with the likes of Button, Hamilton, Raikonnen, Alonso, Vettel and the legend that is Schumacher all involved. Beat each of them and you will get the chance to face all of them in a single race at the new Austin track. Each challenge has three difficulty levels and I really struggled on medium. Of course there are other modes such as Time Trial and Time Attack, which gives you target times to beat and earns you medals in the process.
No racing title would be complete without an online mode and F1 2012 has plenty going on. You can jump into some quick races, though to be honest unless you are racing with people you know, you’ll spend more time in the gravel than you will racing. It’s fair to say most of the random people I ended up with didn’t exactly race in the spirit of F1. The main mode is the Co-op Championship, which works brilliantly. F1 2012 looks amazing, all of the circuits have been meticulously created and the attention to detail on the cars is exquisite - even down to the driver’s hands adjusting to put KERS on during a race. Crashes cause some excellent damage, and I would know as I’m a bit of a Maldonado when it comes to my style of driving.
Year-on-year Codemasters have managed to make each of the F1 titles stand out and thankfully it is no different with F1 2012. The new modes are great fun to play, the UI has improved and graphically things are looking better than ever. Most importantly they have found a great balance between making the game fun for the F1 hardcore and the casual gamer, something that is always difficult to do. If you are on the fence about purchasing the latest instalment, then I suggest you do the right thing and buy it as soon as you can.
Review: F1 2012 Results
What we liked:
Perfect for Hardcore racers or beginners
New modes are excellent.
What we disliked:
Learning curve can be steep