One year ago, the F1 franchise returned to the gaming world after a short hiatus. This time around Codemasters took the helm of the franchise and is trying to drive it into greatness.
What Quenched My Thirst
I have been a long-standing fan of racing games and when the F1 franchise returned last year, I was elated. The franchise is known for sticking close to the roots of the high octane, adrenaline filled racing which is F1, and they are continuing this with F1 2011.
It is clear that Codemasters really wants you to feel like you are a true F1 driver in the career mode. You take on the role of a driver and choose which team you want to drive for. As this driver, you are able to visit your trailer, and paddock throughout the career. You are questioned by reporters on different aspects about the race weekend, your results and other things. You also receive emails and weather reports, which make you feel like you are real driver.
You are also given goals for each race that you need to pass in order to stay in good standing with your team.Â These are not just preset goals from the beginning; they will change depending on how well you are doing. The goals consist of qualifying and finishing above a certain position, and other things.
Each race weekend is different, and you are able to check weather reports, tune your car, study the track, and other things to help you succeed every weekend.
This is all pointless though if the game does not play well. As I stated earlier, the developers really try to stick close to the roots of the F1 world. They create a great driving experience for the beginner racer to the most experienced. With many assistants, you will be able to play the game no matter how experienced you are.
The driving mechanics are great. When on the track, you can really feel the car. You zoom around the corners with ease, but it does take practice to learn the best breaking points and accelerating points. It is a game that you can pick up and learn quickly, but takes a long time to master. With lots of practice, you can get good at it. This is why it is important to use as much time as you can to practice on all of the tracks and get to know them better.
While speeding around the course, you are really drawn in by the amazing sounds design of the game. You can hear every little gear change, over rev, and rumble strip that you hit. Throughout the race, you will receive commands that are extremely helpful to you. They will let you know if the engine is overheating, if your tires are dirty, and how well you are doing. It is not just some pointless voice like many racing games.
The game not only offers an addicting career mode, but it also offers some very addicting online modes. The most notable is the new co-op career mode. This mode allows you and a friend to play as teammates throughout a season. It is a great new aspect to the game.
If teaming up with your friends to defeat the AI is not for you, then the game offers a great competitive experience that pits 16 players against each other with an additional 8 AI players. There is also some split-screen play as well.
Also, Codemasters has taken the full licensing of F1 motorsports and uses it to its fullest potential by offering the full roster of teams and drivers along with all 19 real world tracks.
What Left A Bitter Taste
While the gameâ€™s overall look is great (especially the rain effects), the surroundings can be very bland.Â The reporters that you interact with are stiff, and not detailed. The same goes for the driver who you never see without his helmet.
Though I love the emersion that the reporters and emails give you, they can be boring. The emails are pointless (other than the weather reports), and the questions you are asked are very generic questions, and your responses are also generic.
There is also a problem with the AI. Well maybe not the AI, but the way you can drive. The AI drives more a like a real world driver, meticulously taking each corner so that they do not mess up. The player, on the other hand, can break hard and faster into corners flying by the AI. This does not mean the AI is bad, but rather, the gameplay allows the player to drive more recklessly.
F1 2011 presents a great experience for any F1 fan or racing fan in general. There are great crash physics, gameplay and online play. Codemasters has really taken hold of the franchise and driven it in the right direction. It is such an amazing feeling speeding around the track at high speeds and finishing first in a F1 race.