I love Formula 1 and I got to admit, I am a bit of a gamer. I have owned Formula 1 Championship Edition made by Studio Liverpool, and then I had F1 2010 and F1 2011 created by Codemaster, along with Grid. At first I found the games a lot of fun, a good racing game but then I became aware of more technically challenging racing games, like Gran Turismo 5 and rFactor. So I easily came to terms with realizing how much a let down F1 2011 really was, what with it’s constant penalties and newbly fast physics. I never want a proper simulation game but there was never a balance that made you feel like you where driving a real F1 car, everything seamed arcade like and gimmicky. So as result I never bothered to get F1 2012. To me playing the F1 2012 demo and watching footage, it seemed to be what F1 2011 should of been.But I after watching gameplays I decided to give F1 2013 a try, so has it improved?
What should I start of with? Maybe we should start of with bad news and get that out of the way. The game feels so linear, especially the career mode. You start of at a low team and very easily work your way up the career ladder, and before you know it, you’re winning the championship. Maybe it’s because the difficulty setting I’m using isn’t quite right, but that’s another issue, the AI are inconsistent, one moment you’re toe for toe in qualifying and then you’re miles ahead in the lead. The AI are a bit easy to pass and defend against. They never seem to be able to make a convincing maneuver. The career mode needs a massive improvement, you don’t feel anything like a racing driver. The same old boring helmets, no easy custom design what so ever, the default character is always the same to. No trademark celebrations. No parade lap. No podium cut scenes. No race engineer choices. There’s nothing to make it feel like you’re becoming the next champion. What about having you’re own sponsorship like you got on Grid, have them on the helmet; that would be cool. The career timeline feels a bit linear too, if there is a young drivers test, then for me their should be pre and in season testing, with an option to turn them on or off rather than sit through David Croft talking for ages making you feel stupid. There as one thing I would love to see in a Formula 1 career mode, of all things, it would be to have promotional events in different locations depending on your nationality and the team you drive for. You would work up your fan base too, depending on what you would say at interviews or whether you would participate in the events. These would help you get more sponsorship and more reasons for a team higher up the grid to give you a seat. For online mode I think that Codemasters should had a quick set up only rule choice for lobbies, it’s hard when you jump on and you want a fun race and you don’t have time to get a super quick set up.
Lets talk about the graphics. I really don’t like them, there is something that’s not quite right. After playing rFactor, Race ’07 and even the old Toca Race Driver game I find that, from my perspective, everything is a little bit small and squashed. The track scale doesn’t seem quite right, the cars seem to small, if you go next to some curbing at a real circuit you’ll see it is huge, but on the game is seems no bigger than a deodorant can. The old F1 Championship Edition makes them look rather pitiful. The graphics are to gimmicky, trying to wow you, but they shouldn’t be that way. If you look at all the good racing games out there, the graphics are simple and crisp but make everything look right.
Now I am going to be more positive in this paragraph and say where Codemaster have got it right with F1 2013. First of all the AI has improved, ok it needs fine tuning because they’re inconsistent, but they are much faster now and they will give you a tough time during qualifying. The simulation effects are perfect, this is something a lot of racing games miss out on. The grand prix weekend, the garage feeling, the tires and pit strategies, all these little details on track that makes you want to plan your race weekend to achieve the best you can.
Overall I would say that the game is good and it’s worth purchasing but I fear that because there is no outside competition for the F1 trademark, Codemasters might not make any big changes to make the game feel different. Maybe you will all be hyped up for the next one, but by F1 2015/2016 you might think to yourself, there is no real difference.