F1 2010, Review
Release Date: September 23rd 2010
Platforms:PC, PS3, Xbox 360
The Short: For their first attempt, Codemasters’ F1 2010 provides good fun and a solid foundation for future games.
For their first dive into F1 Codemasters have done a splendid job. The game provides lots for those who seek full simulation and those who are looking for a casual pick up and race. The visuals are just stunning the Ergo engine depicts the full grid of 24 in beautiful vibrant colours. The tracks are developed with the same attention to detail of those of the cars, although this can provide some frame rate issues at some of the ‘heavier’ street tracks such as Monaco or Singapore’s Marina Bay Circuit. The highly touted weather engine is a spectacle, it does a great job of providing dynamic conditions that adds lots of depth to some otherwise dull races.
The player is introduced to the world of F1 racing through an interview and is forced to decide on their career length, team and other specifics. After this it is straight into racing without any support from the game, which can be daunting to less experienced users. The fully customisable difficulty setting provides a plethora of options to get to most out of your racing experience. Your manager is the source for all things contracts, each team has a level associated with it and upon passing it you might get an offer depending on your past interactions with the press. This continuity plays into the ‘Live The Life’ side of the game, which aims to put you in the shoes of a real F1 driver. It accomplishes it to varying degrees of success. Your interactions with the press only have three real options selfish, undecided and team-orientated, which is a disappointment. This is the only real element of ‘Live The Life’ which is a real let down. The menu system is slick and intuitive and provides little barrier between you and racing.
When you actually get into racing either in a short weekend with one session for each event or the long weekend the full timetable, there is lots of fun to be had. The pits are teeming with action and seeing race engineers working on your car helps immerse you in the action. The pit computer provides details of weather and live track times, this screen also houses the car customizer which is essential for any dedicated fan who wants to squeeze the most out of the machine. For those not so into the full customization there is an option through the race engineer where you can choose from some pre determined setups, which are still very competitive. On the track the racing is fast and competitive with the harder AI difficulties providing a real challenge for all. Research and Development goals provide something to do in sometimes boring practise sessions, the lap time for these upgrades are easy to obtain and under any weather situation though but the reward of a new upgrade at the end makes it worthwhile. Qualifying is as fun as it looks on the big screen, last ditch flying laps, winning poll by one tenth of a second are all great fun.
When it comes to race day there are a few problems, firstly even on the most realistic of settings your tyres and breaks warm up after the first corner, which means unfortunately or fortunately that the chance of spinning or locking the brakes are very minimal. Some other features are lacking from the game most notably Safety Cars which play a huge role in real world strategy, mechanical failures also seemed to be left in the pits with the only type of failures being if you smash the car into the wall and the tires become dismounted. Your race engineer does a mediocre job of passing you information. Sometimes he will let you know about the cars ahead and if their looking like diving for the pits other times he will reference cars that are of no relevance to you. But when it comes time to make that dive into the pits there’s lots of fun to be had, how late can you put on the limiter can you jump your rival in the pits. The pit crew is animated brilliantly and makes it a truly joyous task that can make or break your race. One feature that is not usually highlighted is the final lap dash, all cars that are in a close proximity to others seem to lift a little for that final push to the line, which is a really nice feature after all it is so satisfying to win the race at the last corner.
Multiplayer is good fun in F1 2010. Trashing round the track with no rules with your friends is pure and simple fun. The competitive race also provides a good challenge for drivers of all levels to test out their skills. One significant oversight of the game is the lack of a full grid this is a real shame and a dampener on what otherwise is a great multiplayer experience. The Time Trial feature is the last feature of the game and provides a good chance for new users to learn tracks and the controls of the game as well. This mode allows for more experienced users to post their times to a global leaderboard and also download the ‘ghost’ of other drivers laps to help improve your driving skills.
Overall F1 2010 is a great foundation for Codemasters. The game is one that is sure to please both F1 and racing fans. It provides a suit of options for new and old gamers alike to optimize their experience. Although it is missing some key features from its real work counterparts. It is a must have for F1 fans of all ages.