F1 2011 Review
Developer: Sumo Digital
Signalling that Formula 1 2010 sold reasonably well, the 2011 iteration of the series has reached our shelves promising a better, more engrossing and exciting affair than last years model, but does it stand up to these claims?
Visually F1 2011 is almost identical to its predecessor. Cars still look brilliant, and the scenery and tracks surrounding them sit somewhere in the acceptable but unremarkable camp. The teams remain the same as ever, as do the tracks, so there are more than a few occasions whilst playing that gamers will feel an urge to open their disc trays and check whether there has been a mistake at the shop resulting in them being given the 2010 game by accident.
With that said, things aren’t all so mundane, and it is in fact the more ardent Formula 1 fan that will notice the subtle nuances that switches things up in the game. Kers and DRS have now been implemented, Kers affords those who have access with a temporary speed boost that they can use once a lap. If used correctly, this can make up that last bit of ground for the overtake on the straight, or to replenish a withering gap between the car behind you. This might not sound like much, but it adds a tactical element that is missing from the last game. DRS is also a nice addition, providing cars with a speed boost depending on where they are positioned again forces racers to think more tactically than they did before.
Single player has been adapted slightly as well. Like the last outing, you will begin your career at one of the lower ranked teams like Force India, or Lotus. Before each race, your team will set you with a qualification and final race target for you to meet. Keep meeting these targets and your stock with the team will increase until you become the teams number one driver. Achieve this and people will begin taking notice. So much so that towards the end of the season other teams will try to tap you up and sign you for their team next season. If you complete your goals, better and better teams will show interest until you are right up there fighting for championship glory. For the most part this is fun, however it does become very simple after a while and will require that players up the difficulty level before long.
Other than this however, career mode still feels quite baron. At no point do players really feel as if they are part of a Formula 1 team, or even fighting against rivals from other paddocks. This could be fixed with more interaction with drivers, or more confrontational newspaper headlines that discuss inter team rivalries. The most interaction players will have are during interviews over the race weekend. Unfortunately though, these are completely generic, and no matter what happens during the race, the same stock questions will be asked. Even before the end of season one, players will find they are having to re-answer the same questions over and over again, magnified by the fact that they appear to make very little difference to anything at all.
For most, multiplayer is where this game sets itself apart from last years title. All the usual race modes are there, players can turn collisions on and off, and take part in a race weekend with friends to prove who the better driver is. The relatively ignored feature of a split screen mode is a welcome addition, but what will really get the blood going is the ability to add in AI drivers and compete with or against friends in a full season. If players have a friend of a similar ability, this will lead to some intense affairs where the correct use of Kers becomes vital.
Overall, F1 2011 is a nice little game. As with many yearly iterations, the new features in the single player are merely incremental. The online additions are a breath of fresh air, and F1 fans finally have a game worth playing online. As with many racing games though, the authentic experience will probably be best felt when playing with friends. Brief forays onto the servers will thrust players into a race that resembles bumper cars more than it does F1. The ability to add AI drivers to a race weekend and take on your friends across a championship season is fantastic, even if it’s a wonder why this was missing from the 2010 release. If you are looking for an F1 game, and have a coupe of friends willing to play with you, then this is the game to get. Otherwise it all depends upon your own level of interest in the sport. Those less familiar with the sport will encounter a learning curve where they will have to refrain from skidding of any type, but once learned, the system is realistic and rewarding.
3 GOOD POINTS
- Cars look great.
3 BAD POINTS
- Career not deep enough.
- Surroundings look worse than the car.
- Can become repetitive.
|Graphics:Nice but unremarkable. The cars look far better than the surroundings.||8/10|
|Gameplay:Fun. Controls well and Kers add tactics to an otherwise vanilla experience||8/10|
|Story:Classing the career mode as a story, players never feel part of the F1 world.||5/10|
|Replayability:Moving up the ranks and driving better cars will add some replayability, but not a massive amount.||6/10|
|Value For Money At:Worth the money if you are a fan of the sport. If not a big fan, then wait till it drops in price a bit.||£30.00|
|Overall:Scratches an itch for fans of the sport, but is unlikely to win new fans, or attract people just looking for a racing game.||8.0/10Great|