Monday, September 26, 2011

MashButtons likes it over 200km/h in F1 2011 review

 It is hard to believe a year has gone by since I was first introduced to the F1 racing series from Codemasters, but time flies when you’re having fun. Right? As a fan of the fast gameplay in the last one but wish it had been more polished, it seems the developers have been listening to the fans, by adding a whole lot of Turtle Wax to this year's release. This year still features the official drivers, teams, and tracks, but on top of that we get two new circuits, Delhi’s Jaypee International Race Circuit and Nürburgring, making the new season consist of 19 circuits. Players can now play two players split screen for the first time while online gameplay now supports 16 people with 8 AI racers and coop championship allows you and a friend to race for the same team throughout the 2011 season. So I guess it is time to see if F1 2011 can surpass it’s already very solid predecessor.
 F1 2010 took a while for me to get into unlike DiRT and GRiD, but once you get the hang of the controls and unlocking performance enhancements based on your performance, quickly sucks you in and doesn’t let you go. 2011 does come through in spades. Yes, you still pick your team, get interviewed to build your individual persona, qualify for starting position and earn performance enhancements, so what has changed? For one, the game engine, 2011 was designed with the EGO game engine, making it look much better than 2010 along with looking and feeling faster, making for some beautiful crashes. The crashes are not the only the only beauty in this titles as the massive tracks looks much more detailed, but the details in the cars are amazing from the tire tread to the reflections and the moving parts, and topped with the whining of the engine as you push 200km/h give you a great experience from race to race, leaving my hands sore from gripping the controller and sometimes sweating depending on how close the race is. The new DRS (Drag Reduction System) is a nice boost feature that provides you with a quick increase of 10km to help pass rivals.
 This is definitely a title for the diehard racers as it is not forgiving to mistakes. You are still able to rewind to correct mistakes throughout the race, but it does not take much to lose control and crash, especially in the rain. Speaking of rain, the wet weather has taught me a whole new level patience and to spend as much time qualifying to get as close to pole position as possible mainly because it is not a fast race and if you lose your composure, the race is pretty much over and you be closer to last than first. My main issue is with a feature that can be turned off, but I wouldn’t suggest removing it until after a couple races and you get used to the control of the car. This temperamental feature is the auto brake as it almost always slowed me down in turns to the point where I was always getting passed, but like I said you can turn it off and depending on how long or short your races are, you can brake and take off as hard as you like without having to worry about damage to your car.

If there is one thing I had to say Codemasters does extremely well is make their racing games fun, beautiful, and highly addicting, and this year they exceeded my expectations with F1. Hell, I didn’t even know I was a fan of the sport until playing 2010. Those who played 2010 will easily welcome 2011 and newcomers to the series will fall in love and look forward to what 2012 will offer. While I am not a fan of practicing and qualifying before a race, if you skip practice and only do a handful of laps in qualifying to lock in your starting position and to dial in the car’s settings, you will not feel burdened with the process and ultimately look forward to fighting against the track for a single digit starting position to earn points towards the championship and unlock performance mods to make you a faster racer.

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