F1 2012 Review

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F1 2012 falls into the category of games I despise most. This group of games relies on the loyalty of its devout followers to purchase yearly updates of a genre nearing its peak, both in game mechanics and game modes. To the untrained eye F1 2012 is exactly the same as its predecessor, F1 2011, albeit with a couple of new game modes. Dig a little deeper however and you’ll find that Formula One’s greatest racing simulator has simulated reality to depths greater than an already near perfect simulation.

The most notable upgrade to the series, and ultimately, the make or break for a purchase, is how much you appreciate the little things. The cars this time around feel a little slower than last year’s entry, reflecting the restrictions placed on F1 racing over the last year. You’re also far more likely to spin out and lose control if you don’t handle your turns properly. This might feel like a step back for some, but at least Codemasters remain faithful to its inspiration. Flashbacks, the ability to rewind time to amend slip-ups, are back again. Considering the title’s difficulty, their inclusion is more than welcome, but it’s still baffling that a near perfect F1 racing simulation would include such a fictitious feature.

f1sc1 F1 2012 Review

AI has also taken a step up this sequel. If you intend to use wind drafts to overtake the computer, beware, as they are far more aggressive and will challenge any who attempt to pass. Similarly, the penalty system has become less lenient. Whereas cutting someone off as you turn a corner would have scored you a warning in 2011, expect to be penalised for the same action in 2012. These additions make the experience more realistic, but simultaneously polarize F1’s potential market. Capable racers might scream in agony at its uncompromising attitude while the hardcore F1 enthusiast laps up every inch of it. This is F1 2012’s biggest hurdle; it takes a long time before you will have the skills to race the near perfect laps that net you satisfaction from your investment. When you do pull off faultless races however, the feeling is unmatched by any racing game I’ve yet played. And forcing another racer to crash without incurring a penalty is a forbidden fruit that tastes oh so damn good!

The two new game modes, the Young Drivers Test and Champions Mode, are welcome additions to the franchise. Whilst they’ll only add a couple of hours to its replay value they offer something for the newbie and veteran alike. The Young Drivers Test (a tutorial mode), is one of the most comprehensive and well implemented training modes yet seen in a video game. Carefully running through each aspect of racing a Formula One car is easily understood and practiced, and highly advised for even hardcore F1 fans.

Champions Mode sees you racing against six world champions under specific conditions, for example, forcing you to catch up to a racer with worn out tyres but who is seven places ahead of you. Career mode, the meat of the single player experience, will push your skills to their limit. Here you impress the global press and industry observers to attract contract offers from more prestigious teams.

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Still running on the same graphics engine F1 2012 looks like 2011, just slightly glossier. Night-time and rain effects still look great and driving over grass or sand surfaces leaves residue on your tyres. More than just an aesthetical improvement this leaves your car more prone to slipping out. Car damage also looks as good as ever, but for some reason is only present in career mode. In game commentary is solid when it works, though the slight delay from announcers means occasionally they report on incidents once they have already passed.

In terms of multiplayer F1 2012 has you covered. You can choose to race 16 players online, compete with a friend in an online career mode or battle them split screen.

  • Xbox 360

The Verdict

F1 2012 is a game for F1 or hardcore racing fanatics after a simulation true to its roots and challenging, this is not a pick up and play experience. It’s better than 2011 but only slightly so consider renting before you buy.
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