Review: F1 2010

THE FASTEST GAME IN THE WORLD

Developer: Codemasters Birmingham
Genre: Racing
Platform(s): PS3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: September 22, 2010
Compatability (PS3): 990MB Mininum Space | DUALSHOCK 3 Vibration Function | HD 480p / 720p | Network Players 2-12
Compatability (Xbox 360): 1MB Mininum Space | HDTV 720p / 1080i / 1080p | Online Multiplayer 2-12 | System Link 2-12
Rating: 8.5

As an Xbox 360 owner it almost seems like it has been around the dawn of Motorsport since there was any sniff of a Formula One title on the Xbox 360, with last year’s titles going to the Wii and PSP. Thanks to Codemasters Microsoft is now inclusive to the rights of the Formula One franchise. The game is based around the recent Formula One season and you can play in any of the classic tracks, from the immense Istanbul course in Turkey, including three of the best consecutive corners in the Formula 1 calendar, to the streets of champagne popping Monaco with its tight congested turns, even the most recent changes to the new and improved Silverstone track are here. With all the new courses, including the stunning street circuit of Shanghai which has been on the real-time Formula One calendar for the last 2 years, as well as the brand new South Korea and Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix circuit (a mouthful indeed). Each track has a remarkable resemblance to each of the showcase grand prix’s right down to the finite detail. From the millionaire yachts at the Monaco pier, to the neon Ferris Wheel at Shanghai’s Marina Bay Grand Prix. Each detail adds more authenticity to some wonderful courses, immersing you as the driver even deeper into the action.

The cars in F1 2010 have also had some beautiful surgery for the next generation. From Fernando Alonso’s flash Ferrari to the immensely improved Red Bulls of Webber and Vettel, right down to the minnows of Force India and Team Virgin, each model from all 12 teams is fantastically realised. Codemasters have also been rigorous in their testing of cars performance, even going to the length of hiring a test driver from the 2009 Braun (now Mercedes) racing team Anthony Davidson. Even engines noise are distinct from car to car, although you girlfriend may think you’re pitting two lawn mowers against each other in the spare room at times. This aside, and possibly the lack of seeing many of the iconic characters faces from the Formula One season, each car in both looks and design is near perfect.

Alonso and Hamilton go toe to toe in Melbourne; driving in the rain is a real challenge but looks stunning.

The main draw of this year’s formula one game is the career mode which you can decide from the start to last three, five or seven seasons. Play until the bitter end of either of these campaign lengths and your player will retire and disappear as a legend and be forgotten forever in the mists of time. As a rookie, you will have to start from the basement level and work your way up depending on your results in the team of your choosing. There is little choice and most will probably start out as Lotus (or at least I did), giving you a realistic birth in the first season of your career. Most objectives are fairly low to start with. You control the menu from a first person perspective. From here you can keep up to date with your career by entering your virtual truck which includes your agent (a terribly patronising woman who struggled to even pronounce the full version of my name) who will keep you up to date with your progress throughout your career and let you know if any better teams are tracking your progress and willing to offer you a contract. You can also change helmet designs and check on the latest constructors and drivers leader-boards. You can also choose to start the Grand Prix weekend from here.

One great feature is that you can determine how long you would like to spend on a Grand Prix, if you choose full race weekend you can compete in three practice sessions (which will earn an achievement) and three whole qualification knockout sessions. Choose short race weekend and you will only have to complete one practice and qualifying session. Thankfully you can also affect the race length, unless you are a sadist not many of your race weekends will feature fifty three laps of Monza or having to avoid barriers seventy eight times at the tight Monaco course without your eyes setting alight, this could possibly be achieved with lengthy brakes during the race, so most will opt for the twenty or thirty percent of the actual race length. This will in no way affect your career, as long as you out perform the parameters put in place by your lovable engineer and the rest of your pit crew, and get upgrades for your car by passing challenges set in practice, you will be driving a much better car than you began with and racing for the big guns in no time. As your popularity grows parts of the media will want to speak to you. Step outside of your truck during race weekends and it’s often chance to speak to the media. Support and congratulate your team after good results and you become the number one driver in your team in no time. Set a challenge with a rival driver during press conferences then beat your rival; in most circumstances you’ll be offered a contract by that rival’s team. Unfortunately this is as vast as the media interaction will be during the entire season with usually having only three options for each question.

Michael Schumacher’s beautifully rendered Mercedes shows a hint of pace, unlike his disappointing return to F1.

It is safe to say that the customisation and simulation elements in this title are practically flawless, it harbors one of the most complex weather systems known on any racing game, for instance; after a number of laps rubber will start to stick on the racing line from other cars, helping you keep grip with worn tires. Overhanging trees on a wet race tracks can act as dry patches for racers temporarily on the wrong set of tires, the staggering attention to detail is notable as the rain starts to fall. You will feel a subtle change in the cars grip and as is often the case, spin out. Thankfully due to a flashback feature you can return to the incident before it happened within a replay mode, these flashbacks (just like in Race Driver: Grid) can be used only a number of times during a race weekend and are a fantastic edition for negating a tragic end to a hard fought season. Other features include fully customisable car setups, but do not be put off my fellow Formula One rookies; this is where your very own Geordie engineer comes in handy. Thankfully your engineer will assist you within every race weekend and coupled with a description of the course, will give you eight simplistic settings for your car, and having completed a full season on Formula One it is safe to say they are easily enough. Another great edition is the constant contact in your earpiece to inform you of your progress during the race and when you may need to pit in. Suffice to say the Codemasters team really haven’t missed a trick.

In summation; a truly staggering virtual representation of the fastest motor sport franchise in the world, the team have really tried hard, with the added customisation elements, to marry the world of arcade and simulation driving together, mostly succeeding. The weather system is jaw dropping in the attention to detail and races feel authentic and intense from track to stunning track. A local multiplayer mode would have been great but the online races prove as entertaining, if not slightly devious (using fellow drivers as braking points at corners, you know who you are!). A fantastic first edition on the Xbox 360 and one that Michael Schumacher will now be frantically playing on in order to revive and preserve his flailing legacy. Get practicing for next season Schumy!

Reviewed by andrewhunter316 – December 12, 2010

Graphics
Stunning visuals and concept art for tracks and cars, drivers face models are underused. Weather system is gorgeous and looks fabulous during races, benefits greatly from HD.
 
Sound
Instantly forgettable soundtrack consisting of about two songs one of which is played on a constant loop it seems, car engines noise are unique and differ from team to team, that said others could find noise unbearable and could see decline in partners interest in you and thus end in tears. Stadium effects and pit crew interaction adds depth.
 
Fun
Great balance between arcade and simulation with the use of customisation. It will easily last you a whole year if you opt for a seven year career. Online races are a blast if not slightly frustrating due to rude drivers.
 
Final Score

 

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Responses

  1. totally agree with Andrew Hunter on his very informative and very well written review on F1 2010!

  2. A superb review on a superb game! Thank you Mr Hunter!

  3. Personally I haven’t played this game yet, but the visuals really make you want to at least try it out. Nice review Andy.

  4. My favourite game this year, stunning graphics and a fabulous game! An excellent review as well!

  5. Due to this excellent ,cultivated and unbiased review i have bought this game for my grandson. Very well written Andrew Hunter!

  6. Nice to read such a fresh, objective review. one of my favourite games of 2010!

  7. I finally had time to try this out. I think this is by far the best Formula 1 game out there. I am not a racing games fan but this game made me buy it after borrowing it from my friend. Very realistic.


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