Review — F1 2010
The Scoop: After releasing the first game of the series to the Wii and PSP last year, Codemasters brings the next title in its Formula One series to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
The Setup: F1 2010 gives players the most authentic and thrilling way to experience Formula One racing with all the tracks and racers from its real-life counterpart, giving players the chance to race against the world’s greatest Formula One drivers.
What’s Hot: First and most importantly, F1 2010 lets you race on all 19 tracks featured in the 2010 Formula One World Championship. The manufacturers and drivers who are part of the season are all here, as well. If you follow the Formula One World Championship, everything you see is represented well in the game. Very well.
The first question that is probably on your mind is on how well F1 2010 handles. Well, if you’re a veteran of other Codemasters racing titles, you’ll be glad to know that the same game engine behind GRID and DiRT is used in F1 2010. All of the cars handle great and have a terrific sense of speed when you’re jockeying for position with 23 other drivers on the course.
It’s not just doing a copy and paste gimmick, though. Codemasters uses the racing engine as the groundwork to something truly special. As you progress through a race, things such as tire wear, fuel, car damage and the track condition will all come into play in finding the right racing line and getting your car to perform at its prime. These things are kept track on the HUD during the race. Of course, should you get too involved with the racing at hand, your pit crew will alert you of certain statuses involving your car while you race.
All of this means that you constantly have to adjust your game plan while racing. Track deterioration and weather also take a huge part in how you attack a track either in qualifying or come race day. In fact, it could be sunny during one portion of your qualifying session and then you find yourself seeing storm clouds over the horizon.
Even Al Roker would be getting teary after seeing that.
If you find yourself in the middle of a rain storm, you’ll see the raindrops come across your visor and field of vision. Of course, it’s not a terrible visual distraction while racing. However, this does affect the track that you’re racing on. Spinouts are very common when the track gets wet, so you’ll have to try and maintain a line for a bit until a dry line starts to form on the track. It’s a nice touch to the racing experience and certainly adds a challenge to an already depth-filled experience.
The options and assists in F1 2010 can be fully tailored to racing game fans of all ages and skills. Accessibility has always been the key with Codemasters racing titles and this title is certainly no different. F1 2010 can either be a hardcore simulation for one fan or an arcade racer for another. Mix and match the assists and options to your styling.
F1 2010’s main attraction, the career mode, features all the exact schedule from the 2010 Formula One season. You start your career by selecting one of the lower-ranked manufacturer teams and work your way up to the bigger deals, sponsors and manufacturers. If you do well during your races, you will be rewarded with new parts for your vehicle that could give you a big edge on the track. Your F1 career can either last three, five or seven seasons depending on which answer you chose during your first interview, which is one of the first things that you do when you boot the game up.
You also have various goals at each event of the F1 season. Depending on what team you are with, there are certain qualifying positions and race finishes that you either have to meet or beat in order to earn more parts for your car. You will also have the opportunity to participate in research and development missions in your qualifying times, influencing what types of upgrades you unlock during the season. Once you become the main driver of the team, the R&D team is at your command.
When you’re in the garage, you can edit your car’s performance in two ways: You can go through each and every possible part of your car and manually tune it to your liking, or you can just select one of the preset variations from your Engineer menu. This allows those who know what they’re doing to tinker to their hearts content while allowing those who are car illiterate to have some degree of customization to their cars.
However, it’s not all about just what you do on the track, it’s what you do off of it as well. After races and Top 3 finishes, you will have to face the media as they inquire about you, your team and anything else they find relevant to your racing career. Choose your answers wisely, because you might end up making your teammate or your pit crew a bit angry if you say the wrong thing.
Besides the career mode, you can hop into Time Trial sessions or you can create your own custom Grand Prix races to get in a race or two for practice to hone your skills for the career mode. You can also take on the world with online multiplayer that supports up to 12 players.
Graphically, the game looks amazing. Car models and the tracks are spectacular. When it rains, it even looks better. Your audio is your standard fare. Engine noises, crowd noises, collisions, etc. By no means is it generic, but it didn’t stand out too much to me.
What’s Not: I must say that it’s a bit frustrating when you find yourself heading off of the track. You’re constantly reminded to use caution while heading back on the track. While I understand that in a real-world scenario that you need to be careful not to slam into someone coming past you, I don’t understand why there isn’t a caution or a slow down when the yellow flag comes out. Then, when I think it’s safe enough to get back on the track, I get warned for an illegal block. I understand safety and whatnot, but am I supposed to let the whole field go past me before I can get back on the track?
I also felt some of the penalties for causing a collision were a bit off, too. Well, perhaps it could be me being a bit aggressive. Though, I prefer to think of it as people not getting the @!*$ out of my way. Move it or lose it, pal! This is a race track, not a leisurely cruise down Lake Shore Drive!
Also, what’s the deal with having a maximum of seven seasons? I realize that there’s quite a lot of dedication and time to be spent on the career mode, even if you race short weekends, but what kind of racer retires after seven seasons?
Your pit crew can be the most important part of the team that never gets behind the wheel. But why does that mean they have to be so repetitive? Within one event, I felt as if I heard everything there was to hear from the pit crew. How many times are you going to remind me that my sector two time was rubbish? I know it was rubbish. Ask the wall near that hairpin turn, he’ll tell you that too.
Also, if I don’t win a race, there’s these two stalkers that interview me inbetween races. I smile and walk up to them as, nine times out of ten, they ask the same questions over and over again. Then again, at least I know they won’t throw me a curveball out of nowhere. What professional athlete could complain about that? Right, Barry Bonds?
There are a few A.I. hiccups in pit lane, too. On more than one occasion I found myself stuck on pit lane because the A.I. decided to have a Sarah Palin moment and block either the entrance or exit to pit lane. I’m sorry, something like that shouldn’t get past testing.
Last but not least, there’s no split-screen multiplayer. Big bummer. I do enjoy the occasional challenge from a chump, er, chum from time to time. However, the only way I can play against my friends is online. If your console isn’t online though, then you’re stuck racing the A.I.. Which could be good or bad depending just how badly you beat or get beaten by the A.I..
Final Verdict: F1 2010 is a solid racing game. Both hardcore racing fans and the casual racing game crowds will all find something to love about F1 2010. Anyone even remotely interested in racing games should at least give F1 2010 a look. It’s about as close as any of us can get to experience the thrill and excitement of Formula One racing short of actually being there.Review -- F1 2010,