Review: F1 2011 PDF Print E-mail

After I received F1 2011, I was forced to (literally) dust off of my racing wheel which I last used to review CodeMasters’ previous racing game, Dirt 3. F1 2011 is the second installment from the publisher and once again they’ve managed to find the balance between pure racing and accessibility for those new to the genre.

Unlike many arcade racers like Need for Speed and Forza that glorifies the beauty of vehicles, this game is about pure racing – honing your skill, race after race, to the point where to can take on the best racers in the world. There are only 12 vehicles and 19 tracks, including the new Indian racing track at Buppha. The career mode focuses on a full race season, with race events over the entire weekend, all focused on moving you up the rather steep learning curve.

The handling of the car is greatly improved. As a relative F1 noob, I started off with all racing assists and racing line enabled and completely dominated the race. However, with the assists off, the game becomes very tough. Even if you master the art of staying on the track – which is not easy – braking at the wrong moment going into a chicane means that at least three cars pass you.
Eventually, the gaming becomes about consistency in technique, understanding the track and understanding your vehicle. Considering environmental factors is also critical to your success – conditions affect the handling of the vehicle and you have to compensate through driving style, change pit strategies and choose the right tires.
There are also two new racing techniques you have to master – the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (a.k.a boost) that you can use once every lap and the Drag Reduction System that adjusts your tail wing under certain circumstances. This and a number of smaller changes from last year’s edition provides drivers with the ability to compensate before plowing into the closest barrier.
The best addition to the multiplayer mode is the co-operative career mode where you can play an entire racing season with a friend, either over Xbox live or in splitscreen. You’re also able to play in a 24-man online game (16 live players and 8 AI). Overall the lag is minimal, though it is quite hard to find a race.
This is a game for serious fans of the genre – which means the game isn’t perfect. Graphics aren’t up to scratch, the learning curve is pretty steep and it is not the type of game you can pick up for a few minutes. Yet Codemasters have been able to create a technical F1 racer with an arcade feel. It is the best F1 game I’ve played.
Pros: Most realistic F1 racing game out on the market, splitscreen, 24-man online gameplay
Cons: Won’t appeal to arcade racers who like games like Need For Speed or Driver
Score: 8/10
Moment of the game: Using a big screen projector and racing wheel to create an awesome gaming experience
Achievement Difficulty: 5/10
Price: R529
Contact: BT Games -

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