[Review] F1 2012 (PC)

Race to your heart’s content… If you can manage it!

TITLE: “F1 2012”
DEVELOPER: Codemasters Birmingham
PUBLISHER: Codemasters
PLATFORM: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, iOS
RATING: PEGI 3
RELEASE DATE: September 18, 2012

I must say, I’m not a big fan of racing games. I’ve put in hours in Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec, was a completionist in several of the Need For Speed titles, had a go at one Ridge Racer, and had plenty of fun in Crash Team Racing (yeah, I said it). If anything, I’ll play a less realistic and more over-the-top racing game than an ultra-realistic one, having said that, F1 2012 impressed me. I never played any of the earlier titles, so I have nothing to compare it with. What I see, however, is intriguing.

The graphics stand out straight away. Crisp, highly detailed, polished, and oh-so-realistic! From the cars to the people to the environments, a lot of effort was put into making it look great. It certainly paid off! You won’t get tracks in the middle of a city with all the glits and pedestrians, but you will get highly faithful recreations of the top racing tracks. That feeling of realism carries on with the actual car handling. Now, I haven’t driven an F1 car. Not many have. Driving in F1 2012, however, certainly made you feel every little bump and turn. This isn’t a typical arcade racing game – this one’s for the seekers of realistic driving experiences! It seems like Codemasters basically recreated every possible physical interaction on the track from scratch inside the game world. Unforgiving, but impressive!

As a newcomer, the game was relative gentle on me. A great tutorial system got me familiar with the workings of not only the car mechanisms, but also the way the game can play out off the track. Once you complete your training and testing (though that’s easier said than done!), you can move on to the good stuff. You’ve got several possible race modes to choose from. You can develop your driver’s and team’s career over a significant set of races, or test your skills in a variety of challenges, including going head to head with some of the superstars of the sport like Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, and Michael Schumacher.

What was also pretty interesting for me was seeing the progress going on ‘in the world’ outside of the races. As you might expect, depending on how you do and how long you’ve been racing you’ll get various contract offers, as well as good and bad comments from your colleagues and outsiders, all via the built in email system. Pretty cool combination of racing and manager-style gameplay. Perhaps a bit dull most of the time, but there’s only so much you can do here. Good effort, nonetheless!

Overall, I quite enjoyed this brief encounter with the world of F1 realism in games. This isn’t something I can keep playing for long, but I can appreciate what’s been done and I can see how a lot of people will enjoy this. There isn’t anything that really stands out as absolutely superb, but F1 2012 is definitely a fun experience if it’s your sort of thing!

THE BOTTOM LINE: 80% (B-)

“Fun but highly realistic. Pay attention to everything you do!”

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