With only two races to go (Brazil and Aby Dhabi) the Formula 1 season of 2010 is coming to an end. Alonso is ranked first at the moment but there’s still plenty of candidates to take over the lead. The season ending will no doubt be exciting again after so many dull years and let this be the year that again we get a decent F1 title arrive!
Last year F1 2009 arrived on Wii, PSP and iPhone, but plenty of gamers have been waiting since 2007 for a new F1 title. A new season, so a new game: F1 2010. This time on PS3, X360 or PC and the difference in consoles shows in the game itself as well. Graphically things look a lot better and the gameplay is deeper than in the 2009 version. No more arcade crap but racing where the settings of the car and the weather conditions have a huge influence on the driving behaviour.
As was to be expected all 19 circuits of the current season as well as the pilots are present. Each team car is beautifully recreated with plenty of detail. Personally I found the cars to be a bit too shiny but that does give a nice effect when the environment is reflected on the car. The circuits are also made as close to reality as possible which results in for instance the grand prix of Monaco getting a special atmosphere.
Through the career mode Codemasters tries to bring the F1 atmosphere even closer to the player. The menu isn’t just a dry list but you walk between the trucks of the teams. During your career you’ll need to make time for interviews and press conferences after having gotten on stage. Still racing remains the most important part and also there some elements have been added to keep things exciting. There’s a constant pressure to do better than your team mate, but also to achieve the goals of the team itself. Throughout the season the practise sessions give you the chance to do some research and development which comes down to optimising the car by setting a sharp time in a few laps.
The races are of course also quite exciting. Waiting just a tad longer than the car in front of you before braking in a curve is tempting, but be sure to take a lot of things in mind before making that choice. The settings of your car determine a lot and you can even change them during the race. Those that prefer not to meddle too much can ask an engineer for help and he’s got some default settings you can apply. From behind the wheel you can send a signal to the pit to let them know you want for instance new tires. The dynamic weather can suddenly make it rain and your car will immediately start to act differently. If you do mess up, then you can start a flashback: rewind a few seconds and avoid a desastrous slip.
Those that don’t like long careers can of course do a quick Grand Prix race or take on others. Unfortunately F1 2010 doesn’t have the possibility to play with others on one console. Time Trial party is the only way to play offline multiplayer. In this mode you can try to set the fastest lap time with up to eight players. Online, or through lan, there’s more variation.
The four modes between which you can choose are sprint, pole position, endurance or grand prix. The first lets you do a short race of three laps in dry weather. Pole Position looks like time trial party but you get 20 minutes to sharpen your time. Endurance is a race with 20% dynamic weather and Grand Prix is the real deal: 15 minutes qualification and 7 laps racing. The entire multiplayer part adds quite a lot of additional playing time to the game and that’s certainly a positive thing.
Still there are some minor downpoints present in F1 2001. The distance counter and such are no longer like in the official broadcasts and the starting lights at the start of a race are difficult to see at the back of the startgrid. The positions of the pilots and time differences also run behind sometimes and the penalties for flaws sometime vary, eventhough a real jury isn’t always as consistent as well.
F1 2010 is a game many gamers were waiting for and the expectations were quite high. Codemasters delivers a good racing game where the feeling of driving and the excitement are spot on. There may be some minor points that can be improved, but overall this is a winner.