No prizes for guessing who’s going to be crowned Formula One champion this year – but if you fancy the idea of rewriting the Grand Prix leaderboard yourself, you can do it on Windows PC, Xbox 360 or Sony PlayStation 3 with Codemasters’ latest take on the world’s most famous race circuits.
Last year was the first time that Codemasters took on the mantle of Formula One gaming and they revealed with F1 2010 that they could bring the same amount of reverence and loving detail as they did to the more frenetic DiRT 3 and GRID. This year they’ve decided to try and repeat their success with F1 2011 but those looking for a radical overhaul will discover more of an update than a total upgrade.
New circuits, improved multiplayer
This time round there are 19 circuits to whizz round, including the new Buddh International Circuit in India and Nürburgring in Germany, and as well as the expected Career and Grand Prix modes, there’s a greater emphasis on multiplayer racing. So you can now enjoy two-player split-screen competing for the first time and online racing has been extended to a full 24-grid contest (eight of which are AI drivers). There’s also an additional Co-op mode for you and a pal to compete in a season-long Championship as team mates.
Codemasters has also taken on board some of the new rules introduced into F1 racing for this season, so you can now enable the game’s DRS (Drag Reduction System) – the F1 cars’ controversial adjustable rear wing – to add an extra boost when conditions allow, as well as KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) – a technology that stores the heat produced by braking, enabling you to make use of it later for a further power kick.
The weather effects, which were always impressive, have been further enhanced to add extra challenges to the driving experience (try a sudden downpour at Monza after a dry qualifying round), and special attention will have to be given to your Pirelli tyres. Safety cars are now included, thanks to popular demand, forcing all cars to form an orderly queue when the going gets really rough.
Attention to detail
The time and research dedicated to car and technical detail is as immaculate as ever, and serious aficionados will still have plenty of opportunity for engine tweaking. The racing itself feels more balanced overall and the AI more intelligent but you will still have to put up with the irritating TV post-mortems after the race.
- Split-screen racing.
- Unconvincing damage model.
Codemasters have followed up last year's Formula One hit with a lot more of the same but with a beefed up multiplayer element, the introduction of KERS and DRS to improve track performance and more thought into combating the weather.