Decent first attempt.
Codemasters latest racing game F1 2010 is a very interesting take on a game series which always seems to struggle finding the right audience across a wide spectrum of gamers. You see one of the key problems with past formula 1 title’s have lied within the person who was playing the game.
For example there is the gamer who decides that he is going to give the game a arcade like feel and blast around the tracks in time trial mode to see if he can improve each time, Then there are the casual fans who know about the F1 world however decide that they will have flags, damage, fuel wear ect turned off and use it for a casual experience.
Finally there is the camp of gamer that wants to experience a full simulation however will find that consol games let down the experience. To put it blunt the F1 fan base generally are too picky.
However F1 2010 is perhaps the first F1 title I have played which well and truly caters for the broad spectrum of F1 video gamers and offers (with some tiny omissions) something for everyone, whether you want to have a full career and build your way up to one of the more recognisable teams you can and you will be in perhaps one of the in-depth and detailed career mode witnessed in a video game you can.
If your one of these people that just wants to deal with a quick career then you can and well finally if you want to do time trials and see if you can rise up the leader boards Via Steam, Xbox Live or Playstation Network then once again this offers it.
When you start a fresh new game your first greeted with a press conference, this is where you can create your game profile, game difficulty and length of career which can be a basic Three-year’s to a whole Seven year’s and then of course who you will start off driving for. I found this idea of setting up the players profile a good way of getting use to the interview mechanics of the game which feature during the whole season.
Shortly after the profile set up, you are introduced to the paddock area. This is basically an extension of the Dirt 2 layout where you can deal with general game details like tweaking the game play by adding realistic damage, joining up with your gaming network of choice for some multi player modes, time trials, quick race and of course Career mode. With Career mode you are able to choice the design of your helmet, see where you are in the career standing, talk to your Agent who keeps tabs on how the team views you and then you can do the current GP weekend.
Graphically F1 2010 is a stunning game. Codemasters new engine “Ego” has been able to recreate the cars in brilliant and life like clarity. Ranging from the multiple sponsors featured on every car to the McLaren’s “F duct” all the way to the at time’s stunning and jaw dropping weather effects and the flair of the lights above the Singapore night race, the engine is working over time.
The only time which the engine and graphics lets itself down is when it comes to the other characters featured within the game. I have mentioned that you have a Manager, pit crew and race engineer, however for myself it feels like they was an final after thought when it came to designing the game and feels slightly rushed in the process.
The HUD that features on the screen of the game is an interesting one as well; you are given the traditional F1 style information, which is seen within the TV broadcasting like the drivers that are around you, and more in video games terms you have the classic sense of a layout of the car which acts as a measure of damage and other details like if the engine is over heating, is the tyres and breaks at full heat ranges ect and of course a Speedo which does all the details on speed and what gears you are in which is the staple mainstay of the driving genre as we know.
However there is a massive problem with F1 2010 and that while it can offer you all the hardcore F1 experience, there will be moments missing from that well known F1 experience. For example I had found it always a problem pulling away from the start of the Grand Prix’s because it didn’t feel like there was any real sweet spot to hit. For example if you under rev the car, you would hit anti stall which slows the car down before the gear box feels it’s safe, like wise if you over rev the car, it causes the car to wheel spin which also effects the start of the race.
The problem with this I found is that in past games they would have a red light system to inform you that the race is about to start and being in a Lotus at the back of the grid you cannot see anything in regards to the lights so you have to work completely on guess work. Add in to the fact that your race engineer only seems to tell you information whenever it suits him.
The biggest offender of this is when the rain comes down, normally in real F1 you will hear teams giving real time weather reports and how long each storm is going to last and strength, this game if it’s suppose to be raining you are left with pure guess work once it gets darker. This missing piece of information can lead you to pitting in too early which then totals one of your allotted intermediate tires for the race day.
I feel that the lack of commentary within the game that would give you the right hints and advice is perhaps biggest flaw within the game. Normally you would get Martin Brundel saying “X driver is 4 tenths of a second slower and at this rate (Your drivers name) would be catching within three laps” so you would have a good indicator of what you need to do. However your pit crew will tell you to push for no reason that will lead you to making a mistake.
Then there is there is an issue about the car’s themselves. As any diehard F1 fan will tell you anything and everything could happen to the car. From break failures to engine breaking or setting on fire there is no random breakdowns featured in the game. For example if you nudged the barrier on Monaco in real life or past games in the F1 time line chances are a quite a few laps later the suspension rod would finally break which would finish off the race weekend. While playing the current addition to the F1 games I nudged the same barrier that Fernando Alonso hit in this years Monaco GP and unlike Mr Alonso’s car being completely written off for the Qualifying session, my car survived with minimal front wing damage and a deflated tire.
Also within the game there seems to be problems with the AI. First part is that the AI will put in a stupidly quick lap time which is nigh here impossible to match and you seem to be only a few hundreds of seconds to a minimum of a second behind the lap time. Even on the easiest AI setting the lap times that you’re asked to match for pole position are hard to achieve.
Also another factor of the AI, which is a problem, is the regulation of penalties. I’ve played other F1 titles in the past ranging from the EA games and the Liverpool Studio titles and I have to say that the Codemasters marshals are perhaps the worse I have ever seen. I attempted to take a corner at Spanish Grand Prix like Jenson Button the racing line even dictates that this is the right way to take the corner and one wheel when off the racing and I got a 5-grid penalty.
However the worse example of unfair marshalling and where the lack of a safety car feature would be highly important came from the same Monaco GP I mentioned earlier, A Virgin Media car lost it going into swimming pool complex and was parked in the middle of the road effectively stuck in the middle of the track, I didn’t seen it until it was way too late and hit the car in the side pod, next thing Black Flag my race was over.
However if there was a safety car which could have been deployed then maybe the game itself would have added more strategy to the game other than pit in when your engineer tell you that the tyres are starting to give away. It seems that you are fighting a losing battle with the Computer and AI that seems to be both over powered and willing to make sure to punish the slightly aggressive drivers.
Online is only slightly better, this is where anywhere from 2 to 12 people can take to any of the tracks and it’s basically a 3 lap race. The problems I had encounter with it is when you have joined a game you hardly have any time to pick the car which you want to drive, so if your in a game with 8 people chances are your going to be lucky to get either a Ferrari or a Redbull. Chances are you will end up with a Williams or a Force India car.
During this online mode you will either have most of the driving aids turned on or turned off, this is to test your metal against the best of the other drivers across the world. However if your not experienced with the Traction control turned off expect to spin quite a lot. While I like the idea of pitting 12 drivers against each I will admit I was pretty disappointed to look on the box and see 12 drivers. I was slightly hoping for a full grid. However I have noticed that most of the flags and rules have also been waved away for this as someone decided to dive in front of myself and cut me up as I about to break into the first corner at Spa. I feel that the racing Jerks will love the idea of dangerous driving and griefing new comers to the online Race experience.
In conclusion F1 2010 is a game which while offers a whole new take on the sport and gives some great new additions like dynamic wet weather driving and post session interviews, however the problems over powering AI, flag happy marshals, missing components of actual race day dangers and safety really make this game a mix match of enjoyment. If you are just there for causal F1 experience then maybe give this a rent, however I feel if you’re the sort of person that wants a more complete F1 experience with more of a hardcore racing sim feel where risk and aggressive driving is rewarded with the competitive lap time and less penalties then I would maybe suggest to PS3 owners to check out the F1 title which was launched with the machine and for Xbox 360 owners hope that you didn’t throw out that PS2 for the same game.
While I may be over critical about the game I am sure that if Codemaster’s is planning on releasing this as a bi annual series like a Fifa or a Smackdown Vs Raw then they would look at the positives of this game and then make a better effort on the follow up game.I've given this 2.5 stars due to glaring issues and unfair AI issues, however it really was a good first attempt which can be improved on.