If you haven’t already guessed from that title, the next Formula 1 release is available now for racing fanatics to really test their skill. These games are well known for the challenge they pose to the player when it comes to making it around the track without driving off or rapidly spinning into a barrier when you over-steer in a panic. In all fairness to the developers however, some improvements have been made to the way that this game works compared to the way they used to play when I last tried and failed a few years ago.
The first thing you will notice about F1 2012 is how in depth and immersive the gameplay has now been made. Before you even sit in your car you are made to feel like a true professional racing driver, from picking your team, to the faceless driver behind your helmet (namely you rather than a driver you choose to play as), to the gentleman who talks you through what you are doing that day in training when you are in the garage before you even climb into your vehicle. Even after training you must speak to the engineers in the garage and select the tyres and setup of the car for that race based on the conditions of the track. Every decision about how to race your race is made by you putting you in full control before you even start the engine.
The immersion of the game doesn’t end after the race preparations though; far from it! If you want to keep this feeling alive as you race you can play in first-person controlling the car directly from the cockpit itself. With actively working mirrors to look behind you, the same detailed steering wheels and dials in the car that the drivers use in real life, and as much control as you want in the car when you are speeding around the track, it seems like everything has been considered that might make the game as faced paced and realistic as possible. For drivers newer to the game, or those like myself who simply need all the help they can get if they want to make it round the track without making seven 360s a lap in the process, the settings can be adapted to your needs. Automatic gear changing, break assists and track guides for directing your car are all helpful features if you just can’t drive the cars, and these do not take away from your experience at all! There is of course no guarantee that this will make the game easy for you or that you will be able to handle things all of a sudden with all of this help, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
The graphics of the game add to the experience even further. While they are not as stunning as some other games, given the pace of F1 2012 and the amount of elements the player must take note of as they play they fit well and look pretty good. Ok, so maybe “ultra” is a bit of an overstatement of how good they look in the games options, but they are not bad enough to frown at and complain about. The sounds in the game are relatively accurate, but maybe a feature which might have been improved with a little more attention. Personally the sounds of a formula 1 car to me are the ones heard on the television, so it is possible this judgement is wrong, but the game just doesn’t quite sound “real”. The noises are correct, but they sound constructed rather than realistic. The voice acting is solid and understandable and little complaint can be made there, but it is a shame that the sounds slightly take away from the emersion that the game tries so hard to produce for the player.
While it may not look like perfection, the environment of the game is very effective. Dynamic weather keeps the player on their toes and tests them in a way that few games can achieve. If you drive anything like myself most of the time, you may feel that “torture” is a more accurate description of this than “test”, but it can’t be said that the weather changes don’t make the game more interesting. The tracks themselves seem to be accurate and well constructed in game. The scales compared to the cars seem about right, the length of the laps are pretty good, and the dynamics of the different terrains seems realistic, and these in particular you can be assured were tested a lot! If you don’t want to ruin your career mode by not knowing how to drive properly when you jump into the game, the quick play mode will give you the chance to race as your favourite racing teams and drivers. This allows you to set the conditions of the races so that you can get used to the way the tracks, conditions and AI behave before you start trying to play properly. If you are new to the game this can be a very strong advantage to you, but you may not want to jump straight into online play. Needless to say the majority of the people playing here are pretty damn good at it, but it is another good feature of the game if you know what you are doing with it.
If you want a challenge and you haven’t tried a Formula 1 game in the past, F1 2012 might be exactly what you need. This a fabulously immersive game compared to many racing games or even other games on the market today, allowing you to take control of every aspect in and outside of the races. Make no mistake, it is also one of the most difficult racing games you will ever play unless you are well practiced, but if you think you can take this with laughter rather than anger it is well worth having a go. In the future F1 releases the graphics and sounds have some room for improvement yet, but as a whole this game and its developers seem to be pretty on the ball in creating a very different racing experience for gamers which will truly test their abilities.
The Good – Immersive, engaging, challenging, realistic and exciting to play.
The Bad – Graphics and sounds which could use some future improvement.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.