Once more around the circuit for long-running Formula One sim, writes John Walshe.
Even more than football games, you’d imagine it’s difficult for racing game developers to come up with something new every time they sit down to create a new game, doubly so for Formula One titles. After all, there are even less differences from season to season than a football or rugby title, where player transfers at least give the semblance of real change.
What the good folks at Codemasters have done for the 2013 instalment of their F1 sim, however, is to go backward to go forwards, including a host of classic content, featuring iconic cars, drivers and circuits from the 1980s, for many the golden age of F1.
You begin the game as a young driver, testing your skills at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit, where the team engineer puts you through your paces at cornering, negotiating chicanes and hairpins, getting to grips with drag and down force. They also give you a beginner’s course in choosing tyre types, handling the kinetic energy recovery system (essentially a boost button) and, most importantly, using the instant replay effect to rewind time when you career off-course or take the tail off another driver by driving too aggressively.
Driving lessons over, there are a wealth of playing modes are your disposal, from a single Grand Prix to the proving grounds, where you’re thrown into the heart of the action in F1 scenarios, to the mammoth career mode, where you get to carve out your own legend as an F1 superstar. The best of the lot, though, is the F1 Classics mode, where you get behind the wheel of some incredible machines, like taking the 1988 Ferrari from the back of the grid and nosing past real icons of the sport, from Andretti to Hill.
Graphically, it’s right up there, perfectly recreating the tracks and cars that make F1 so popular, while the engines sound so realistic; you expect exhaust fumes to emanate from your TV. Essentially, though, you’re not going to buy this unless you’re a fan of either F1 itself or racing games in general. If you fit either of those two categories, you won’t regret a spin in this tough as nails, but thrilling racing sim.
Platform: PS3, X360, PC
Age Rating: 3