F1 2010

I would love to start with something cheesy like, “Gentlemen, start your engines,” or words of that ilk, because then I would be being smart and confirming that this is a racing game, and everyone would be happy.  That is really rather obvious, though, cliched and overused to the point of saturation. So how should I start the review of the first F1 game in nearly five years? After much deliberation and a good few hours clocked in on the game I can only start it one way:

WOW!

F1 games were a mainstay in the world of gaming, every system from the Atari 2600 all the way up to the Playstation 3 has had an F1 game. But oddly the Xbox 360 has never had one, so here we are in virgin territory, for the 360 at least.  I used to have a passion for all things F1, but the sport became predictable and utterly boring to watch, sadly it is still a bit like that, and my passion for F1 games dwindled too.  When I heard that Codemasters had landed the F1 license and were using their fantastic EGO engine to power the game, I took notice and looked forward to the results. I was right to be excited, F1 2010 is one of, if not the best, F1 games I have ever played. The attention to detail is absolutely staggering and best of all, the handling of the cars is joyous. It’s like re-discovering a long lost love.

When I started my first game I was presented with a nice press conference scenario introducing me as a new driver and allowing me to configure my personal settings, such as my name, nationality and how many seasons I would race for, a really nice touch.  After that was out of the way I was taken to a Codemasters regular feature of a trailer at the race venue which acts as the hub for the whole game. From here, I was ushered towards my first race at the Bahrain GP.  Each race session starts in the garage, where you can set up your car, observe lap times or proceed straight to races; all of this is under the helpful eyes of your race engineer who guides you along the way.  Soon enough I was driving out of the garage for my first practise session. The track is sparse owing to its desert locale but every detail is there to see. As I took the first bend and hammered down the power I actually smiled, a big smile, it was more than evident that F1 was back with a bang.

Not wanting to make things too easy, I set the game to medium, which offers various assists as you are driving. The most helpful is the racing line which appears on screen, indicating where to drive and brake for maximum speed.  In some racing games this can be a hindrance but in F1 2010 it is vital to help you understand the limits of your car. Some bends where you would naturally brake are shown as full speed sections. Getting used to this is vital in a sport where tenths of a second count.  As I was experimenting with my new found glory I was able to observe how stunning the cars look, right down to the correct liveries. All the viewing aspects from in-car to behind car look totally amazing and very realistic, with all the gauges and mirrors working exactly as they should.

There is a pretty decent damage model in evidence as various parts fly off your car with any impacts you are unfortunate enough to receive. Your pit crew inform you of the adverse affect this damage will have on your car, but I didn’t notice a huge difference after any major parts flew off.  Once again, Codemasters have implemented their handy flashback feature, where if you muck up most heinously you press select and are taken back a few seconds in the race where you can continue without any penalty.  Some purists may argue that this mars the overall experience but I genuinely love it. There is nothing worse than racing your 30th lap then making a silly mistake and ruining the race. Flashback makes this a thing of the past, although you can only use it three times per race.

Once you have managed to get practise and qualifying out of the way you are able to enter full races or half races or even a fifth of the race: this is the lowest setting that includes pit stops, anything below that is just racing non-stop.  After each race you have a talk with the waiting press in a multiple choice manner which determines how kindly your team think of you. The higher regard you are held in, the more chance bigger teams will offer you a drive. This is entirely supplemental to the game, but does give it a little more depth than standard F1 fare.

During the season you are offered chances to participate in Research and Development objectives for the team which add extra equipment and performance to your car if you are successful. These are usually achieved under time limited objectives and are relatively easy to gain.  Each Grand Prix offers different track conditions and particular merit has to go to the changing weather of some races. A dry race can gradually turn into a monsoon soaked affair with some of the best water effects ever seen in a game.  Rain starts lightly and then proceeds to a torrential downpour which hinders visibility and casts some realistic looking puddles across the track. Grip is also reduced and a pit stop to change tyres is vital.  On the first race I encountered with changing weather, I did that thing again, I smiled a hearty smile, this was awesome.

The package is completed with time trials, which are great for learning the various nuances of the tracks and of course some sturdy multiplayer action.  In the online races you can have 12 players in any given race and the few races I tried it all worked great with little or no lag. However, the handling seemed a bit trickier than the single player racing but that may have been down to the host’s settings.  It’s hard to pin down exactly what Codemasters have done right with F1 2010, but it seems to be an overall, fantastic package that ticks all the boxes necessary, even harder is finding what it does wrong.


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3 responses to “F1 2010”

  1. Noozles avatar
    Noozles

    Agree with everything said… I love this game

  2. Amber avatar
    Amber

    Fantastic game, one of the best I’ve ever played thus far!

  3. Steven Chandler avatar
    Steven Chandler

    This was the ONLY reason I bought a PS3. The only reason. I got a load of other games when I purchased it, but I have never played them. F1 2010 is as much a classic as the Mini or the VW Golf. Love it!!

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