It has been a fair while since the last official F1 game was released, the last being Formula One Championship Edition which was released in 2007 but based on the 2006 season. That title received mixed reviews, and while there are plenty of Formula One mods in games like rFactor and SimBin studio titles, it has been a while since the average gamer received a game that warranted the F1 license.
Last Friday, Codemasters released F1 2010. The game was developed at their studio in Birmingham and during the development process, advice was sought from Anthony Davidson. Released on the three main formats, PC/Xbox360/PS3, it has reached top of the charts status. Impressive, given that on the XBox 360, the latest carnation of the Halo series was also released on Friday. So in F1 2010, Codemasters needs to appeal to a wide audience, which includes both the average gamer and the keen motorsports fan with prior experience in racing sims.
I received my copy of the game on Friday (it arrived while I was at work, so I was counting down til 5pm!). During the day, I read about various forum postings regarding problems people experienced with the game. Problems from critical glitches to an odd pitstop bug whereby if you pitted along with a number of other drivers, your lollypop man would wait until all the other drivers had gone, before letting you go. A little overcautious on the lollypop mans behalf I think..
Despite the gloom, I was looking forward to getting home and playing it. I went for the Playstation version of the game. Once home, I unpacked it, installed it, went to control options and wham. No configuration settings for my Logitech G25 steering wheel. Not a good start. I knew that the wheel was supported (one on the official list provided by Codemasters), so wondered why the hell it wasn’t picking it up. A quick internet search displayed a number of other people experiencing the problem. I solved the problem in the end after I ran a system update, uninstalled the game data and reinstalled the game.
For the game’s career mode, I chose a 7 year career, starting with the Virgin team and selected the full weekend and expert level option. So, first race up, Bahrain.
I have already come to appreciate the practice sessions in the game. In the past I have not particularly bothered with them, but in this game, it helps you develop your setup, get used to varying weather conditions and also give you enough on track time, so that you don’t bin your car in Q1! The game gives you a good sense of how the current F1 weekend works. I particularly enjoyed my Q1 session at Sepang, where it started wet and then dried out towards the end. It was good to see some of the AI drivers judging a good time to change to intermediates.
I’ve played out three rounds of the season so far. At the beloved Bahrain track I managed to qualify 12th and finish 8th, then I was brought down to earth by qualifying 24th at Melbourne, fortunately finishing 17th above team mate Di Grassi. Last time out, at a cyclone infested Sepang I finished 17th. Generally, the race results are pretty accurate. However I have noticed that you always seem to get one driver who finishes higher than they should (Senna 12th). Another small issue I have with the game are the mirrors on the cars. With the size that they are, it’s hard to see what is in them. Added to that though is that the image in the mirrors are unclear and it makes it hard to tell what is behind you unless a driver is attached to your rear wing.
In the three days I have had the game, it’s been enjoyable to play. Spa in the wet is a challenge, and the spray and lack of visibility adds to the enjoyment. Some people have mentioned the accuracy on some of the tracks, but I haven’t found this to be too much of an issue. F1 2010 by Codemasters is a good game. It isn’t without its flaws but with a F1 2011 game confirmed, this game is a solid base on which to grow.