Post by Ivan David Makey – a student of commerce, an automobile enthusiast, an avid gamer and a Passionate Techie (PT) based in Lucknow / Bahraich, India. Apart from hurting his thumbs on the joypad Ivan is also good at guitars and photography.
F1 2012 is the third instalment of the Formula1 racing simulation games developed by Codemasters. It is available on the PC, Mac, PS3, and XBOX 360 platforms. It is a sequel to the previous releases such as F1 2010 and F1 2011. It features all the twelve teams, twenty four drivers and the twenty circuits of the 2012 season with the highlight being the addition of the latest Circuit of the Americas, Texas.
Codemasters have made some subtle improvements in this latest edition of the game of which I’ll be talking about later in this review.
It all begins with the ‘Young Drivers Test’ that players are subjected to as soon as they start the game for the first time. You’ll also need to go through this stage if you want to play the Career Mode. This test takes place at the Yas Marinas Circuit of Abu Dhabi. This tutorial introduces the player to the very fundamentals of the sport. Things like proper usage of KERS and DRS are taught over here. Depending on your skills you should take anything between 45 minutes to an hour to complete this stage.
Once past this, you will have access to the rest of the menus in the game.
These include –
- Quick Race,
- Career Mode,
- Proving Grounds etc.
F1 2011 loyalists will miss the the Grand Prix mode where one could choose his/her favourite driver and compete for an entire season as that driver. But do not worry because Codemasters have offered something called Season Challenge instead of that.
Season Challenge is a much shorter approach to the game with one shot qualifying and a very limited number of laps to cover on Race Day. The practice session is also given a miss in this mode. There also is the Quick Race mode wherein the player can select any circuit of his/her choice.
For those of you wanting to get a taste of the full blown F1 season, there is the Career Mode. In this, the player races as him/herself and is put through the rigours of full race weekends and complete seasons.
You are selected by one of the lower rung teams of the F1 fraternity initially and eventually the bigger and better teams will take notice of you as your performance improves and you meet your objectives. You have to work your way up the F1 ladder in order to be appointed as a driver for the top teams. After all who doesn’t want a contract from Red Bull Racing or Scuderia Ferrari?
In game features that are exclusive to Career Mode are Team Mate Challenge and Rival Challenge.
You also have to fulfill the objective assigned to you in during the Free Practice so that you can receive various mechanical upgrades to the car during the season. Another thing worth observing in this edition is that in Career Mode the player has to cover at least 25% of the race distance on Race Day.
Moving to the Proving Grounds mode, this mode will definitely appeal to the players having a casual approach; with Champions Mode pitting you against the stalwarts of F1 like Kimi, Schumi, Seb, ‘nando, etc. It comprises of six challenges in which the player has to compete against a former champion in a preset scenario.
The final stage in this series pits the player against all six F1 champions as they battle it out on the brand new circuit in Austin, Texas. Apart from this, Proving Grounds also consists of the Time Attack and Time Trial modes the former letting you take a shot at setting speed records on the F1 racetracks, the latter putting all your racing skills to test against the best in business.
The game play is quite realistic and you’ve got to put in your full concentration to succeed in this game. You’re offered many driving assists like ABS, Dynamic Racing Line, Brake Assist, Pit Lane Assist, etc. making the game play so easy that your grandma could drive an F1 car as well. Turn off these assist and you my friend, will be requiring some serious driving skills to be able to get going. The rules and regulations are same as previous year’s installment and so is the fuel, tyre wear and car damage simulation. All of which can be adjusted according to the player’s choice.
Visually, this year’s edition is not radically different to what we saw last year. It is of course better in every aspect. The most noticeable change being the all new variable weather system which allows the weather to change unexpectedly over long race weekends. The racetracks are wonderfully detailed down to the very basic details.
As far as SFX and sound is concerned, it appears as if the developers have worked long and hard to ensure the authenticity of sounds. There is a pretty decent soundtrack accompanying you while browsing through the various menus and the in-game sounds have also seen a vast improvement over the previous edition. The engine sounds, gear shifts, collisions with other cars or objects, etc. have been reproduced quite authentically and this leaves the gamer with a mile wide smile on his face.
In conclusion, I’d like to state that Codemasters have done a brilliant job at bridging the divide between the real and virtual worlds of F1 by their efforts. It is ultimately down to the gamer and his/her tastes and preferences.
If you’re looking for a game which offers you thoughtless and mindless speeding, look elsewhere because F1 2012 won’t satisfy your desires in that case. But if you’re in the market for a racing simulation game that requires you to put in your mind and strategize before each race, make sure that you take the corners with precision, brake with proper timing and much more then F1 2012 is your best bet. It is a game that requires tactics and skills over Plain Jane throttling.
And according to me it is the best racing simulation game out there – as long as you’re willing to play by the rules!
See you at the Chequered Flag!