Developers: Codemasters Birmingham
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita
Release Date: Out Now
Anyone looking for an authentic and enjoyable driving experience should look no further than F1 2011, writes Steven Balbirnie
As the official tie-in game for the Formula One 2011 season, great attention to detail would be expected from Codemasters’s latest edition in the F1 series, and the developers have succeeded in not only fulfilling these expectations, but exceeding them.
All of the teams, drivers and tracks on the Formula One circuit have been included. The game is also completely up to date with the current season as it includes the Indian Grand Prix, which will take place for the first time later this year, and has had the Bahrain Grand Prix dropped from its calendar to match the fact that it was cancelled this year. Overall team performances are also accurate and drivers have noticeable home country advantages.
This game has also paid meticulous attention to technical details. F1 2011 has fully functioning and well animated pit lanes and crews, which forces the player to consider both the issues of fuel and tyre management as they race. Dynamic weather conditions also make tyre choice a crucial aspect of the game, and debris-related damage will realistically affect a vehicle’s performance.
The game adds another layer of strategy with the introduction of two features which are relatively recent innovations in the sport. The first of these is the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) which allows for a temporary speed boost, while the second is the drag reduction system (DRS) which assists with overtaking. These features ensure that F1:2011 is a driving game that is just as much about strategy as it is about skill.
Generally the game is faithful to Formula One’s rules, with the utilisation of a safety car and the ability for races to get red flagged – the first turn at Monte Carlo is particularly prone to red flag incidents. The one downside to this is that the CPU drivers don’t seem to understand the sport’s rules, often driving so aggressively and recklessly that in reality, they would no doubt be disqualified.
Aside from the game’s technical aspects it offers a variety of modes that should ensure longevity. Single player features career, time trial and Grand Prix modes, while multiplayer allows up to sixteen people to race against each other online and a co-op championship mode allows two players to compete as team mates in pursuit of the constructor’s championship. F1 2011 is probably the best racer since F-Zero GX.