It’s a new year, and therefore we get a new F1 game, but the question is how different is it from F1 2010?
Most people thought that F1 2010 was pretty much the best game for F1 fans. In my opinion, however, F1 2011 is much better. The first thing to mention, is that F1 2011 is a game for fans of F1 (obviously) and the multitude of options reflects this. But it’s also a title that the casual gamer can pick up and play instantly. Whilst the handling in F1 2010 was a bit twitching and the cars sometimes behaved horribly, F1 2011 is a much more polished, faster responding game.
Codemasters have given us all 19 tracks, up-to-date rosters and all the new rules and regulations are present. The career mode features full race weekends, but is also accessible to all as it allows you to shorten or skip practice and qualifying sessions and reduce races down to either 3 laps or 20% of a full Gran Prix. During this mode, you can choose different set ups for your car, some of which are predetermind while others can be entirely of your own creation. The career mode is very similar to F1 2010, with you starting at a small team and completing set objectives to improve your reputation and stats so you attract attention from the big boys.
There is also another mode called the single race Grand Prix which is pretty self-explanatory. A new mode for F1 2011 is the new scenario-based time attack mode, in this mode you are given specific objectives and are given a car, setup, circuit, weather and have to set the fastest lap. This is pretty cool as it gives you a kind of challenge mode and just lets your race hassle free.
The gameplay in F1 2011 is sublime in my opinion. Every single detail is taken care of. Codemasters have even implemented the safety car this time round. If a crash occurs then the sexy Mercedes comes out for 2 laps and you trail it as the track is cleared. Here you need to switch your fuel use and keep tire heat. You can accelerate, brake and steer but the PS3 will brake for you if you go to fast. This is a great option, especially for true F1 fans that called for this feature.
Other new features include the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) and the Drag Reduction System (DRS). Now F1 fans will know what these both do, but briefly, the KERS gives you apower boost and the DRS opens a flap in the rear wing to reduce aerodynamic drag and increase top speed. Obviously these are only in short bursts and need to be charged to be used, but if you employ them stratigically they can give you the edge just when you need it. And there will be lots of times when you need an edge, because the AI can be tough. They will not undertake manoeuvres that may damage their car and will not give you easy lines so you can overtake them. This makes F1 2011 a real test of your driving ability. The different difficulty levels and various driving assists allow you to tune the game to your preferences, but I dare you to turn of the assists and see what happens. Be prepared to say hello to the wall, and last place on a regular basis.
The circuits are all represented very well. Each one is accurate and good to look at. However, don’t look to close, because at some stages their finer details are slightly grainy. The drivers look very detailed and the cars are lovely to look at. The weather conditions are so good it’s hard to do them justice. The wet weather conditions are when the game looks its best. The darker shades used give such an atmospheric race environment and the rain trickles of the car and visor in such a smooth way. The race views also change and give you a different version of the race, and trust me ,you will want to see them all.
Another beautiful aspect of F1 2011 are the crashes. I believe this game shows just how frail an F1 car truly is. Yes, you will lose your front wing or tyres in a big crash, but even in a slight brush with another car will see you lose components that will affect your performance. The crashes look so good, you might want to get slightly devilishly just to watch the carnage that ensues (maybe).
The pit stops in F1 2011 are also very well done, and again, smooth as hell, while other improvements in graphics include the tyre wear and tear, which is evident on each tyre independent of the others. You can even see marshals waving flags and the crowd actually look like a crowd. One new graphical design feature I especially liked was the difference steering wheels the different companies have with cool LEDS.
There has been so many graphical improvements Codemasters have put into F1 2011 I have probably missed a few, and it’s similarly hard to come up with a comprehensive list of all the improvements in the sound department. The cars now sound like the mighty beasts they are, the engines roar and the notes they hit are right on. During breaking, you can hear the gears change and the brake pads being worked. This again adds to the overall feel of the game, thus making a better racing experience.
Amongst the barrage of new features present in F1 2011 I loved the new co-op championship. You can enter a championship with a friend as your team mate. This allows for some very cool gaming rivalry to develop as you can either withhold information to be the number one driver or you can work together. But let’s face it, that’s no fun is it? There is also a split-screen mode and online racing as well. It’s refreshing to beat people all over the world as well as those next to you, and let’s face it, some people will get online and just purposefully cause crashes. All these features add to the longevity of the game greatly as you will constantly want to improve lap times and get to higher positions on leaderboards.
Overall, F1 2011 is a large improvement on F1 2010. In fact, I would go so far as to say I think it’s better in every department. The graphics are the only part I can honestly say need to be tweaked. The AI can get stupidly tough but this will seriously challenge you. True F1 fans will really enjoy this game as there are so many options to change: the car setups, tyres and everything else in between. A bad point is that there is no tutorial and the learning curve is steep so novice gamers may find it somewhat daunting, but F1 has never looked so good, so get to the chequered flag if you can.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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